Monday, 15 March 2010

Climate change, money - oh, and wildlife trade

The CITES conference is in full swing today with business running in two committees. That sounds nice and cosy, but each committee is really a replica of the full conference with the full array of 130 plus government delegations and at least as many observers in two rooms the size of aircraft hangers.

Committee I took an interesting turn in the morning today with a debate on the idea of reviewing the impact of climate change on CITES listed species. Much support was expressed, but also some strong opposition from the Chinese delegation, which considered this topic too complicated and political for CITES to address objectively. Lots of other business done on other subjects.

Meanwhile Committee II discussed livelihoods, strategy for CITES development and other technical matters, but its main feature of the day was a preliminary review of the dire status of the CITES budget. More resources are clearly needed to address the diverse wildlife trade challenges faced by CITES, but it is not clear where they will come from. More coming on this later in the meeting.

Aside from the committee business, features of the day were a press conference on tiger and rhino conservation, a lunch event on shark trade and a lot of lobbying in the corridors on the big decisions ahead on tuna, elephants and sharks in particular.

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