The Environmental Investigation Agency, published an easily readable post listing the agreements achieved at CITES CoP19 this November.

The original can be found here.

We are happy that it is an overall win for wildlife, especially the agreement about pangolins.

Pangolins were off to a good start when the UK’s proposed amendments to a document aiming to close pangolin markets garnered significant support among Parties on the floor.

While some Parties supported the document as written, a number agreed on the inclusion of the Secretariat’s comments and some acknowledged the burden of reporting – but all agreed that the proposed amendments would be effective for providing pangolins with urgently needed protection.

The document, with additional minor amendments from Thailand, was nearing the finish line until an intervention was made by China. Advocating for regulated legal markets instead of closure, China also pushed back on the issue of stockpile management, claiming it would not entertain CITES overstepping its scope by interfering with Parties’ domestic affairs.

Eventually, it was decided that the discussed amendments would be made into a Comm Document, which would be reopened later. In the spirit of cooperation, the UK and China met to negotiate new language, which in effect watered down the strength of the text on the closure of domestic markets.

Behind the scenes over one evening and an early morning, like-minded NGOs – including EIA, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Born Free, the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), Humane Society International (HIS) and Fauna & Flora International (FFI) – lobbied Parties in support of the original Comm Document without the new amendments, which paid off on the floor when many Parties, including Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Benin, Malaysia, Togo, Liberia, Bangladesh, Kenya, the US and the EU, spoke up in support.

China ultimately requested a vote, resulted in the amended text being voted out, with 64 per cent voting no versus 36 per cent for yes. Subsequently, a vote on the original Comm Document led to a resounding yes, with 82 per cent in support.

There it was – consensus to close domestic markets in pangolin parts and derivatives. Despite the result, there were some remarks made on the floor by Parties not in support to express their dissatisfaction, stating that ‘any decisions interfering (with) our national sovereignty will not be acceptable forever’.

Yet, as Senegal said best, “we encourage countries in the name of democracy to accept the decisions that have been made … I urge countries to respect the outcome of this decision.”

For all the resources the IEA have collected from CoP19, click here

To download the CITES 2022 pangolin fact sheet, click here

Thank you to every person who attended and gave wildlife a voice.