CITES - Non-Detriment Findings Checklist for CITES

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Date Effective:  2003

Quick summary of document to aid CITES Scientific Authorities in make a decision about whether a export of an appendix II species is acceptable by being non-detrimental.

Compiled by A. Rosser and M. Haywood 
ICUN, 2002


Use of and trade in wildlife is a fact of life for human society around the 
globe. Despite concerns from the conservation community about the 
over-exploitation of wildlife, the reality is that in many cases use of 
wildlife will continue. Consequently, ways must be found to make that use 
sustainable and to make it work for conservation. The Convention on 
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) 
was established in 1975 to ensure that trade in wildlife species is managed 
for sustainability. CITES aims to regulate international trade in wildlife 
products through international co-operation, whilst recognizing national 
sovereignty over wildlife resources. CITES is now a conservation tool of 
major importance. The number of Parties to the Convention has been 
increasing steadily (numbering, at the time of writing: some 158 countries) 
and levels of implementation of the provisions of CITES are improving. 
However, there is still room for considerable improvement in the 
implementation of Article IV of the Convention.

This Article requires, amongst other things, that exporting countries 
restrict trade in Appendix II species to levels that are not detrimental 
either to speciessurvival, or to their role within the ecosystems in which 
they occur (known as the non-detriment finding). In short, CITES requires 
that trade in Appendix II species must be based on sustainable harvest and 
consequently, Article IV forms the backbone of the Convention. Despite this 
formal requirement for a non-detriment finding, i.e. that the harvest 
should be sustainable, many species continue to be traded in the absence of 
information about the impact of such exploitation on the wild population. 
This is often due to the lack of programmes to monitor both the levels of 
harvest and the status of wild populations of species exploited for trade. 
If this inadequate implementation of Article IV for exports of Appendix II 
species continues to be the rule, rather than the exception, then there 
will be grave consequences for many species, and their listing on Appendix 
I may be the ultimate sign of failure. Much of the success or failure of 
the Convention lies with the implementation of Article IV.

Co-operation amongst Parties is key to the effective implementation of the 
Convention and the task of fulfilling CITES obligations should be shared 
between exporting and importing countries. Although CITES places much of 
the responsibility on exporting countries to ensure that trade in Appendix 
II species is non-detrimental, many countries lack the necessary financial 
and technical resources to fulfil these obligations adequately and in some 
cases even the political will to ensure that the obligations under the 
Convention are fully implemented. In these countries little progress will 
be made in improving CITES implementation unless more sustainable resources 
are made available to aid them in meeting their obligations. Importing 
countries should also be prepared to provide training, technical and 
financial inputs to develop the necessary monitoring programmes for species 
in trade in exporting countries. Strengthening CITES Scientific Authorities 
in this way, could assist greatly in reducing the risk of trading in wild 
species, and their products, at unsustainable levels. 


Participants to the first and second workshop to develop guidance for CITES 
Scientific Authorities on the making of non-detriment findings

PART I - Introduction and rationale

1. Introduction and rationale 
   1. IUCN assistance to develop guidance for CITES Scientific Authorities 
on the making of non-detriment findings 
   2. The contribution that well-managed international trade can make to 
species conservation 
2. When is international trade in wild animals detrimental to survival: 
principles, avoidance and monitoring?

PART II - Presentations made by Scientific Authority staff from producer 
and consumer Parties

3. Presentations made by CITES representatives 
   1. Introduction 
   2. CITES Secretariat * the requirements for non-detriment findings and 
tasks of Scientific Authorities 
   3. China - process, problems and recommendations for making 
non-detriment findings 
   4. Indonesia - making non-detriment findings in the Scientific Authority 
   5. Namibia - quotas, monitoring and management plans in relation to 
non-detriment findings 
   6. Togo - making non-detriment findings: current practice, problems and 
future recommendations 
   7. Cameroon - interpretation of the non-detriment finding 
   8. Australia - Wildlife Protection (Regulation of exports and imports) 
Act 1982 
   9. Bolivia - non-detriment findings and monitoring/quota setting policy 
   10. Procedures used by the United States of America in making CITES 
non-detriment findings 
   11. European Union - stricter domestic measures and non-detriment 
findings for imports of Appendix II species 
   12. The Netherlands - making a non-detriment finding and issuing an 
import permit under the EU stricter domestic measures

PART III - Technical considerations in making non-detriment findings

4. Technical considerations in making non-detriment findings 
   1. Methods for evaluating the sustainability of harvests for tropical 
   2. Managing the harvest of reptiles and amphibians for international trade 
   3. A management framework for the bird trade 
   4. CITES Annual Report requirements and assistance to parties in 
developing database and trade monitoring systems 
   5. The Significant Trade Process for animals: can this process help to 
guide the making of non-detriment findings?

PART IV - Guidelines to assist the Parties in making non-detriment findings

5.Guidelines to assist the Parties in making non-detriment findings 
   1. CITES Scientific Authorities: Checklist to assist in making 
non-detriment findings for Appendix II exports 
   2. Practical example of the checklist approach

Annex I - French and Spanish translations of the Checklist to assist 
Scientific Authorities in making Non-detriment Findings 
Annex II - Background Documents, Text of the Convention 
   . Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna 
and Flora 
   . Resolution Conf. 10.3 - Designation and Role of the Scientific Authorities

(Ed. the guidelines are available through )


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