Monday, March 4, 2013

CITES Day 2: Committees and Continued Advocacy

Guest Blog
by Omar Malik

Today marked the start of actual negotiations for the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) CoP16 here in sweltering Bangkok. The morning started off with regional meetings, where representatives geographical regions including Oceania, Europe, North America, Africa, Asia, Central and South America and the Caribbean, met together in private rooms to discuss their common—and sometimes competing—positions on proposals to change the species listings for CITES.

Two CoP committees also met in sessions to discuss the day’s agenda items. The topics to be hammered out included administrative matters and negotiations on some of the more substantive issues. For example, new ties were established between CITES and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the climate change working group for CITES was decided to have fulfilled its goal. The gears of the meeting are beginning to turn, and now that the procedures are steadily on their way, it will be exciting to watch what happens for species listings in the coming days.

Thank you, Indonesia!
Many country delegates visited the Shark Stanley booth today. It was a busy morning, with delegates from Nigeria, Sudan, and Bahrain visiting the booth to learn about the Shark Stanley campaign, and Georgia and Belarus members posing enthusiastically for a photo. The delegates from Korea, Kenya, and Liberia also dropped by, along with those from El Salvador and Mauritania. Later in the day, visitors included representatives from South Africa, Mongolia, Guiana, Libya, Chad, Ecuador, and Honduras. Most notably, the Shark Stanley photo petition was officially presented to the delegate from Indonesia, who received the collection of photos with a smile.

The Minister was followed by at least 10 paparazzi
Also, in an exciting finale, the Minister for Natural Resources and Environment of the Kingdom of Thailand, His Excellency Mr. Preecha Rengsomboonsuk, visited the booth and took a photo with Shark Stanley and the team. The photographers went wild as the minister gave a thumbs-up for sharks.

Overall, it was a successful day for Stanley and the campaign. The enthusiasm seen so far will hopefully carry on through the conference and secure a safer status for shark species.

Omar Malik is a graduate student at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and is attending CITES in Bangkok as member of the Shark Stanley team.

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