Eisbärschutz bei Cites gescheitert

Eiskalt abserviert

CITES-Artenschutzkonferenz lehnt besseren Schutz für Eisbären ab

Bangkok/München, 7. März 2013. Auf der CITES-Artenschutzkonferenz in Bangkok (Thailand) haben die Vertragsstaaten ein internationales Handelsverbot in erster Instanz abgelehnt. Nur 38 Länder stimmten für den Eisbär, 42 dagegen, bei 46 Enthaltungen (darunter die EU-Länder). „Die Hauptgefahr für den Eisbären ist natürlich der Klimawandel, aber die zusätzliche Bedrohung durch den internationalen Fellhandel hätte man heute ausschalten müssen“, kritisiert Sandra Altherr, die für die Artenschutzorganisation Pro Wildlife an der Konferenz teilnimmt.


Details zur Abstimmung der Staaten:

Ursus maritimus:
The US introduced the proposal to transfer
the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) from Appendix II to Appendix
I (CoP16 Prop.3). Noting the projected decline in polar bear
habitat of 66% by 2050, and pointing to climate change, not
trade, as the main threat to the species, he said an Appendix I
listing “is not the solution, but is part of the solution” for the
protection of the species.
In extensive discussions, parties expressed divergent views,
differing on whether the polar bear met the scientific and trade
criteria for uplisting.

DIVERSITY supported the US proposal.
The RUSSIAN FEDERATION strongly supported the US
proposal, highlighting its concerns that legal international trade
facilitates illegal trade and poaching of Russian sub-populations.
AGENCIES opposed it. GREENLAND, on behalf of Denmark,
opposed the proposal on the grounds that the species does
not meet the biological criteria, noting the proposal was
recommended for rejection by the CITES Secretariat, IUCN,
TRAFFIC and the majority of the IUCN/Species Survival
Commission (SSC) Polar Bear Specialist Group.
CANADA rejected the US proposal, stating that the polar
bear does not meet the criteria for an appendix transfer and that uplisting the species would put the integrity of the Convention at risk. A representative of the territorial government of Nunavut,
Canada, spoke on behalf of the Arctic people of Canada and
opposed the US proposal. He underscored the relationship
between the Inuit and polar bear, and outlined domestic
management arrangements, which he said are dynamic and
adaptive. He stated CITES intervention is not in the best interest
of polar bears.

Noting efforts to find common ground and a constructive
way forward, IRELAND, on behalf of the EU and its Member
States and Croatia, presented an amendment to the US proposal.
He regretted that the gap between opposing positions among
range states had not yet been bridged. Recognizing the need for
CITES parties to engage in addressing climate change, he said
parties also “can and must” do more for the polar bear within
CITES, outlining the EU proposal to maintain the Appendix II
listing with an annotation describing a “package of measures,”
including for range states to set export quotas at subpopulation
levels and the AC to include the polar bear in the Review of
Significant Trade (RST) as an urgent case to review before
CoP17, along with several draft decisions.
Chair Caceres confirmed that, under Rule 23.5, any
representative may propose an amendment to a proposal to
reduce its scope or make it more precise, and said the EU
proposal does this. ISRAEL challenged the Chair’s ruling on the
validity of the EU proposal (CoP16 Inf. 44), claiming it did not
reduce the scope of CoP16 Prop.3. The motion went to a vote
and did not obtain a simple majority. It was not carried, with 26 voting in favor, 73 against and 15 abstaining.

The range states of NORWAY and GREENLAND, on behalf
of Denmark, supported the EU proposal, and suggested revisiting
CITES measures to protect the polar bear, including a possible
Appendix I listing, at CoP17, based on updated scientific
The US and NIGER opposed the EU proposal. The RUSSIAN
FEDERATION opposed the EU proposal, saying it preserves
the status quo. CANADA opposed the EU proposal, with an
Inuit representative, on behalf of Canada, stating that it would
undermine the management of polar bears by Inuit peoples and the Canadian government. EGYPT requested further clarification on the science.
BRAZIL welcomed the EU proposal but requested the
deletion of the decision directed to the parties, noting that it more appropriately falls under the mandate of the UN Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC). In response, IRELAND, on behalf of the EU and its Member States and Croatia, recognized that climate change is the main stress on the polar bear’s future and not a fundamental pillar of the draft decisions. He agreed to remove the decision related to climate change.

PARAGUAY requested clarification on declines in polar
bear population estimates from the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist
Group. IUCN said, inter alia : the global population of polar
bears is approximately 20,000-25,000, which is not small; the
area of distribution is not restricted; and the population has
not undergone a marked decline from a hypothesized baseline,
noting that each of these estimates is accompanied by a large
degree of uncertainty. Noting that CITES guidelines only specify
a 5 to 10 year timeframe when evaluating declines for Appendix
II species, she recommended clarifying the time periods on
which future declines can be estimated.
(NRDC), also on behalf of the International Fund for Animal
Welfare (IFAW) and Humane Society International, noted,
inter alia , increases in prices for polar bear hides and quotas in
Canada, stressing that quotas in Canada are determined at the
subnational, not national, level. He urged parties to support the
US proposal.
INUIT TAPIRIIT KANATAMI stressed the potential impact
of the decision on the livelihoods of Inuit populations and urged
parties to oppose the US proposal.
The Committee voted on the EU proposal, with 63 in favor,
43 against and 17 abstaining. The Committee then voted on the
US proposal, with 38 in favor, 42 against and 46 abstaining.
Neither vote obtained the two-thirds majority needed to pass.