Conservation and Sustainable Use of Wildlife

Adoption of Conf. 10.10 “Trade in Elephant Specimens” and Its Summary

At the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP1) of CITES in 1976, all African elephants were listed in Appendix Ⅱ (which lists species that can be traded for commercial purposes when export permits are available). At CoP7 in 1989, all African elephants were moved from Appendix Ⅱ to Appendix Ⅰ (which lists species that can be traded only for non-commercial purposes). Then in 1997, at CoP10, the populations of Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe were moved back to Appendix Ⅱ as they were considered not at risk of extinction, and at the same time, Resolution 10.10 (Conf. 10.10) “Trade in Elephant Specimens” was adopted. (For a definition of the term “specimen”, see CITES Article Ⅰ (b)). At CoP11 in 2000, the population of South Africa were moved back to Appendix Ⅱ. Note that there is an annotation applied to the populations of these four countries listed in Appendix Ⅱ. This annotation describes many conditions set forth under CITES which must be satisfied to actually carry out international trade of elephant specimens sourced from these populations.

The current Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP18) urges state parties with stockpiles of elephant tusks and ivory and/or domestic markets trading them to take actions including the following: regulations for domestic trade in raw and worked ivory; and effective stock inventory, reporting, and enforcement systems for worked ivory. Furthermore, this resolution has some annexes. Annex 1 explains the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS), a system to monitor illegal elephant specimen trade; Annex 2 explains the Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) system; and Annex 3 provides the guidelines to the National Ivory Action Plan (NIAP) process.

Revision of Conf. 10.10 at CoPs 17 and 18 on Domestic Ivory Markets

Resolutions under CITES are newly adopted or revised when a new draft resolution or a draft revision for an existing resolution proposed by a state party is discussed and adopted at a CoP. Conf. 10.10 was originally adopted at CoP10. The current version reflects revisions made at CoPs 11, 12, 14, 15, 17 and 18.

At CoP17 held in 2016, some state parties submitted a draft revision of Conf. 10.10 that requested the closure of domestic ivory markets in all countries. The draft was discussed but the idea of CITES, a convention covering international trade, requesting the complete closure of legal markets in the jurisdiction of state parties was challenged by some, while others objected the idea of uniformly closing domestic markets regardless of their impacts on elephant conservation. In addition, the importance of ensuring that domestic markets do not contribute to poaching and illegal trade was emphasized. Therefore, after discussion, Conf. 10.10 was revised by adding to the version revised at CoP16 a recommendation for state parties to take measures to close any “domestic market for ivory that is contributing to poaching or illegal trade”.

At CoP18 held in 2019, again, a draft revision of Conf. 10.10 that requests the closure of domestic ivory markets in all countries was submitted, arguing that the existence of domestic markets is contributing to poaching and/or illegal trade. This, however, was a repetition of the discussion that took place at CoP17. Moreover, a comment suggesting that effective implementation of the revision adopted at CoP17 should be prioritized gained support. As a result, the revised draft was not adopted. At the same time, however, recognizing that it is necessary to monitor domestic markets and ensure that they are not contributing to poaching or illegal trade of African elephants, a Decision (to provide instructions for short-term efforts) was adopted to request state parties to report to the CITES Secretariat on measures taken to ensure that their domestic ivory markets are not contributing to poaching or illegal trade.