Bangkok, October 2, 2004: CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora) is an international convention signed by 166 countries in the world. Indonesia is one of the countries that has ratified (signed) the convention. Every two years, a regular meeting or conference called Parties (CoP) is held among the countries that sign the convention. In each CoP a detailed discussion on matters relating to administration and agreement on trade rules for endangered species of animals and plants in the world. The trade rules are known as Appendixes consisting of Appendix I, II, and III.
Telapak, as a non-governmental environmental organization in Indonesia, has been following the development of this convention since 2001. At that time, Telapak together with EIA gave recommendations to the Government of Indonesia to determine the type of Ramin wood (Gonystylus spp.) In Appendix III CITES with zero quota. Since then Telapak later attended the 12th CITES CoP event held at the end of 2002 in Santiago, Chile.
In 2004, the 13th CITES CoP was held on October 2, 2004 in Bangkok, Thailand, which was officially opened by the Prime Minister of Thailand Thaksin Sinawatra who explicitly gave his country’s commitment to set an example for countries in Asia in fight for the sustainable management of trade in rare species of flora and fauna. Thailand will always try to be more advanced than other Asian countries in terms of law enforcement and supervision.
In this conference, Telapak sent 3 delegates namely M. Yayat Afianto, M. Imran Amin, and Hapsoro. This conference was a special event for Telapak because its three delegates carried out quite a heavy task and were directly related to the Telapak campaign. Telapak undertook lobbying work with other CITES member countries to support the Ramin Proposal (Gonystylus spp.) On Appendix II with annotation # 1 and the Gaharu proposal (Aquillaria spp.) On Appendix II from Indonesia. On the sea issue, Telapak is targeting the acceptance of the Napoleon Fish (Cheilinus undulatus) proposal in Appendix II, even if it is not a proposal from Indonesia.
Apart from Telapak, several Indonesian NGOs also attended the conference such as ProFauna (Hardi Baktiantoro), BirLife International Indonesia Program (Ria Saryanthi and Ani Mardiastuti), as well as a representative from the Indonesian Animal Rescue Center Network (Faisal Fuad). From the private sector in Indonesia, the conference was also attended by the association of animal exporters (reptiles and birds) and the coral and ornamental fish exporters association (AKKII). Meanwhile the Indonesian Government delegation led by the Director General of PHKA (Koes Saparjadi), was represented by the Ministry of Forestry, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, LIPI, and P3OIPLI.
In general, representatives from Telapak can be said to have successfully achieved the targets planned at this conference, both in terms of the final results produced and in terms of work processes built during lobbying. Following are some descriptions of Telapak’s efforts related to the conference.
Initial lobby with CITES member countries
Lobbying meetings with CITES member countries, especially in countries directly related to Ramin and Agarwood proposals from Indonesia have started since the CITES Regional Asia meeting in Manila in July 2004. For the issue of Ramin, Japan, Malaysia, and China are countries which was the main target in the lobbying efforts of Telapak. In the regional meeting, Japan stated that it would not reject Indonesia’s proposal for Ramin, while China had not yet stated its official position. However, Malaysia said it would reject Ramin’s proposal from Indonesia. Meanwhile, some other countries that were present did not have official positions and some said they would support this proposal.
For the Gaharu issue, only Middle Eastern countries clearly stated that they rejected this proposal on the grounds that the Indonesian proposal did not include annotations (appendix information). In fact, Indonesia has sent an official letter to the CITES secretariat to include Annotation # 1 in the agarwood proposal. Keep in mind that the Middle East is the main market of agarwood from Indonesia.
For the Napoleon issue, Telapak has lobbied the Government of Indonesia to support proposals submitted by Fiji, Ireland on behalf of EU countries, and the United States. This effort was carried out at a number of meetings with the CITES Management Authority and Scientific Authority in Jakarta and Bogor. However, this proposal was strongly opposed by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. Even until the Indonesian delegations arrived in Bangkok at the CITES conference there was no agreement to support or reject the proposal. With this uncertainty, Telapak prepared a position paper which served as lobby material to support Napoleon’s entry
Appendix II CITES.
Lobby dinner with delegations from Latin American countries
This event was held on the proposal of Telapak together with a number of international NGOs to the Government of Indonesia. The main interest of this event is based more on strengthening the position of Indonesia as a country proposing to Ramin. The political reason used was that at the 12th CoP in Santiago in the past, Indonesia had provided its support for the entry of Big Leaf Mahogany in CITES Appendix II proposed by Latin American countries.
At this event the Indonesian delegation invited 22 countries from Central and South America to attend the dinner. The event was quite successful, even though only 15 countries could attend. But at least politically Indonesia has made a fairly elegant effort to garner support from these countries to control trade in commercial wood species that are threatened by illegal logging practices.
Press Conference on Ramin and Orangutans with SSN
On October 11, 2004, Telapak together with Greenpeace South Asia, EIA, GRASP (Great Ape Survival Project) and SSN (Species Survival Network) held a press conference which was a side in the 13th CoP.
This press conference titled “Count down to extinction; Orangutans and Ramin “. M. Yayat Afianto from Telapak had the opportunity to give a 10 minute presentation explaining the condition of forests and Ramin in Indonesia and what would happen if the exploitation was allowed to continue. Another presenter at the event explained the current condition of smuggling ramin to Malaysia and the interests of Ramin conservation associated with saving Orangutans.
This event unexpectedly received an extraordinary response from the participants of the press conference. In addition to the support of most of the NGOs present, several delegations from other countries, such as Africa, were also quite large. Most countries in Africa have agreed to join the Great Ape conservation project (GRASP). In the question and answer session, Widodo S. Ramono who was present representing the Indonesian delegation also had the opportunity to answer a number of questions from the press related to Ramin and Orangutans, especially regarding efforts made by the government in conducting surveillance and law enforcement against illegal logging activities and Orangutan smuggling.
Please note, at the same time around 140 orangutans from Indonesia have been smuggled into Thailand for the benefit of animal shows. The press conference was also a place of criticism for the Thai Government who were not cooperative in the effort to return the orangutan to Indonesia.
Ramin’s success in CITES Appendix II with Annotation # 1
After a number of informal lobbies conducted by Telapak together with a number of NGOs that are members of the SSN and the Indonesian delegation, finally Ramin managed to get support from most of the countries that were parties to CITES.
When discussing this proposal, Malaysia had the opportunity to provide intervention. In its intervention, Malaysia stated to reject this proposal on the grounds that Annotation # 1 would not be effective in dispelling illegal logging.
Meanwhile, the United States and the Netherlands (representing 25 European Union countries) expressed their strong support for the intervention carried out for several reasons for the effectiveness of the implementation of CITES Appendix II Annotation # 1 to stop illegal logging and smuggling of this type of wood.
The palm itself gets a valuable opportunity to intervene. The Telapak intervention was read by Hapsoro who explained the connection between the uncontrolled trade in Ramin and human rights violations in Indonesia.
In the final conclusion, the session participants agreed by consensus to accept Indonesia’s proposal. A great success for Telapak and the Indonesian delegation.
The success of Gaharu entered Appendix II CITES
Initial issues regarding the late registration of # 1 annotations by the Government of Indonesia during the regional meeting last July were revealed again at this session. This problem causes confusion to determine the position for other countries outside Indonesia and its opponents, namely the Middle East countries. At the trial regarding Agarwood, it was finally decided to have a separate discussion in the working group. Three days later the discussion of this proposal was reopened.
When the plenary discussion was reopened, apparently there was still no agreement in the working group. The session leader finally decided to vote on the Indonesian proposal. The vote count finally decided to accept the entry of Gaharu in Appendix II with # 1 annotations in it. Middle East countries also did not submit reservations for the decision.
The success of Napoleon Fish in CITES Appendix II
Lobby ¬ umpby Telapak armed with a position paper that had been prepared previously turned out to be quite effective for the successful inclusion of these fish species in the CITES Appendix II list.
M. Imran Amin as Telapak’s main envoy on maritime issues succeeded in conducting a number of informal lobbies with Southeast Asian, African, Pacific, European and Japanese countries, even establishing a special lopby with the American delegation as proponent to ask Indonesia to provide support for their proposals.
Telapak also communicated directly with the Department of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries in Jakarta to ensure the department’s support for the proposal proposed by the United States. At the last moment, the internal problems of the Indonesian delegation were resolved well through a consensus between the Government and NGOs to support this proposal.
When the discussion was conducted, again surprisingly there was no strong effort from China, Japan and Norway for Napoleon’s proposal. This incident was truly beyond expectations of all parties in the CoP this time. This is based on experience so far in each CoP where these countries always have a negative position on the conservation of marine species. While unexpectedly Indonesia also intervened to express support for the proposal. The objection that was expressed by China and a small country in the Caribbean did not make the discussion difficult. At the end of the session, Napoleon’s proposal was finally accepted by consensus to be included in CITES Appendix II.
Important Notes Palm after CITES CoP 13 Bangkok
Politically, Telapak needs to make an official letter expressing appreciation for the efforts of the Indonesian delegation in CITES CoP 13 regarding the issues of Ramin, Gaharu, and Napoleon to the Minister of Forestry, the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Telapak needs to carry out further monitoring of the Ramin and Napoleon timber trade to ensure the implementation of CITES in Indonesia.
This experience in CITES CoP 13 should be the basis for Telapak’s efforts to use CITES instruments to control trade in endangered wood species in Indonesia.
- Politically, Telapak needs to make an official letter expressing appreciation for the efforts of the Indonesian delegation in CITES CoP 13 regarding the issues of Ramin, Gaharu, and Napoleon to the Minister of Forestry, the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
- Telapak needs to carry out further monitoring of the Ramin and Napoleon timber trade to ensure the implementation of CITES in Indonesia.
- This experience in CITES CoP 13 should be the basis for Telapak’s efforts to use CITES instruments to control trade in endangered wood species in Indonesia.