SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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OVERSIGHT HEARINGS ON CITES MEETINGS
SUBCOMMITTEE ON FISHERIES CONSERVATION, WILDLIFE AND OCEANS
COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
The Upcoming CITES Meeting; The Results of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora [CITES]
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JUNE 3 AND JULY 17, 1997WASHINGTON, DC
Serial No. 10529
Printed for the use of the Committee on Resources
COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
DON YOUNG, Alaska, Chairman
W.J. (BILLY) TAUZIN, Louisiana
JAMES V. HANSEN, Utah
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
JOHN T. DOOLITTLE, California
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
KEN CALVERT, California
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
BARBARA CUBIN, Wyoming
HELEN CHENOWETH, Idaho
LINDA SMITH, Washington
GEORGE P. RADANOVICH, California
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCWALTER B. JONES, Jr., North Carolina
WILLIAM M. (MAC) THORNBERRY, Texas
JOHN SHADEGG, Arizona
JOHN E. ENSIGN, Nevada
ROBERT F. SMITH, Oregon
CHRIS CANNON, Utah
KEVIN BRADY, Texas
JOHN PETERSON, Pennsylvania
RICK HILL, Montana
BOB SCHAFFER, Colorado
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
MICHAEL D. CRAPO, Idaho
GEORGE MILLER, California
EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
BRUCE F. VENTO, Minnesota
DALE E. KILDEE, Michigan
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
OWEN B. PICKETT, Virginia
FRANK PALLONE, Jr., New Jersey
CALVIN M. DOOLEY, California
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCCARLOS A. ROMERO-BARCELÓ, Puerto Rico
MAURICE D. HINCHEY, New York
ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD, Guam
SAM FARR, California
PATRICK J. KENNEDY, Rhode Island
ADAM SMITH, Washington
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
CHRIS JOHN, Louisiana
DONNA CHRISTIAN-GREEN, Virgin Islands
RON KIND, Wisconsin
LLOYD DOGGETT, Texas
LLOYD A. JONES, Chief of Staff
ELIZABETH MEGGINSON, Chief Counsel
CHRISTINE KENNEDY, Chief Clerk/Administrator
JOHN LAWRENCE, Democratic Staff Director
Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey, Chairman
W.J. (BILLY) TAUZIN, Louisiana
WAYNE T. GIL.CHREST, Maryland
WALTER B. JONES, Jr., North Carolina
JOHN PETERSON, Pennsylvania
MICHAEL D. CRAPO, Idaho
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NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
FRANK PALLONE, Jr., New Jersey
SAM FARR, California
PATRICK J. KENNEDY, Rhode Island
HARRY BURROUGHS, Staff Director
JOHN RAYFIELD, Legislative Staff
CHRISTOPHER STEARNS, Democratic Counsel
C O N T E N T S
Hearings held in Washington, DC:
June 3, 1997
July 17, 1997
Statement of Members:
Abercrombie, Hon. Neil, a Representative in Congress from the State of Hawaii
Coble, Hon. Howard, a Representative in Congress from the State of North Carolina, prepared statement of
Jones, Jr., Hon. Walter B., a Representative in Congress from the State of North Carolina
Miller, George, a Representative in Congress from the State of California, prepared statement of
Overview of hearing
Pombo, Hon. Richard, a Representative in Congress from the State of California
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPrepared statement of
Saxton, Hon. Jim, a Representative in Congress from the State of New Jersey
June 3, 1997
July 17, 1997
Taylor, Hon. Charles H., a Representative in Congress from the State of North Carolina
Young, Hon. Don, a Representative in Congress from the State of Alaska, prepared statement of
July 17, 1997
Statement of Witnesses:
Barry, Donald J., Acting Assistant Secretary, Fish and Wildlife and Parks, Department of the Interior, accompanied by William Fox, National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Department of Commerce; Marshall Howe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of the Interior; and Susan Lieberman, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S Department of the Interior
June 3, 1997
July 17, 1997
Prepared statement of
Summary Report on CITES Conference
Boudreaux, Keith, Secretary, National Turtle Farmers & Shippers Assoc., Inc., prepared statement of
Evans, Jesse, President, LTFA, prepared statement of
Kliebert, Bobby, Bob's Turtle Farm, Ponchatoula, LA, prepared statement of
Livingston, Hon. Robert L., a Representative in Congress from the State of Louisiana, prepared statement of
Mugabe, CDE R.G. His Excellency The President, prepared statement of
Powell, Hon. Henry ''Tank'', State Representative from Louisiana, prepared statement of
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Additional material supplied:
CITES COP10: Zimbabwe, June 1997U.S. submission
Department of the Interior, Notice
Department of the Interior, 50 CFR Part 23
OVERSIGHT HEARING OF THE UPCOMING CITES MEETING
TUESDAY, JUNE 3, 1997
House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans, Committee on Resources, Washington, DC.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 2 p.m. in room 1334, Longworth House Office Building, Hon. Jim Saxton (Chairman of the Subcommittee) presiding.
STATEMENT OF THE HON. JIM SAXTON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY; AND CHAIRMAN, SUBCOMMITTEE ON FISHERIES CONSERVATION, WILDLIFE AND OCEANS
Mr. SAXTON. Good afternoon. The purpose of today's hearing is to discuss the proposed U.S. negotiating positions on agenda items and resolutions for the tenth regular meeting of the parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, commonly known as CITES. The convention this year will be held from June 9th through the 22nd in Zimbabwe.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC By way of background, CITES entered into force on July 1, 1975. Currently 136 countries, including the United States, are parties to the convention. CITES is the only global treaty whose focus is the protection of plant and animal species from unregulated international trade.
I look forward to hearing from our witnesses about how the United States develops its positions on proposal for negotiations with CITES; what interagency review is necessary for these proposals; and what role Congress plays in developing these proposals or positions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Saxton follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. JIM SAXTON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY
Good afternoon. The purpose of today's hearing is to discuss the proposed U.S. negotiating positions on agenda items and resolutions for the tenth regular meeting of the parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, commonly known as CITES. The convention this year will be held from June 9 through the 22nd in Zimbabwe.
By way of background, CITES entered into force on July 1, 1975. Currently 136 countries, including the United States, are parties to the Convention. CITES is the only global treaty whose focus is the protection of plant and animal species from unregulated international trade.
I am looking forward to hearing from our witnesses about how the United States develops its positions on proposal for negotiations at CITES; what interagency review is necessary for these proposals; and what role Congress plays in developing these proposals or positions.
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[The information referred to follows:]
Mr. SAXTON. Before we go to our first witness, I would like to turn to our fine Ranking Member from the State of Hawaii.
STATEMENT OF THE HON. NEIL ABERCROMBIE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF HAWAII
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to submit a statement for the record so that you can move the hearing along, and I would like to move that we have any statements for the record that may be submitted to the Committee be entered appropriately.
Mr. SAXTON. Without objection.
Mr. SAXTON. We have one request that I am aware of: Mr. Jones, from North Carolina.
STATEMENT OF THE HON. WALTER B. JONES, JR., A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
Mr. JONES. Yes, sir, Mr. Chairman, I would ask unanimous consent that a statement by Congressman Charles Taylor be submitted for the record, please.
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Mr. SAXTON. Without objection.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Taylor follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. CHARLES H. TAYLOR, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
Mr. Chairman, I want to thank the Committee for this opportunity to provide my thoughts on the upcoming meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). As you are aware, the Clinton Administration has petitioned CITES to list the commercially valuable S. macrophylla (Big-Leaf Mahogany) as potentially endangered under Appendix II of the treaty. My interest and experience in this area is two-fold. As you may be aware, I am the only registered forester in Congress, and it is important to me that the policy of the United States on timber issues be informed by sound science and proven principles of forest management.
My concern in this area also derives from the importance of wood products to the economy of North Carolina and the nation. Mahogany has always been prized by consumers for its beauty, functionality, and weather resistance. The production of furniture, decking, and decorative arts represent the highest valued uses of this resource. This translates into good jobs in North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York, Indiana, and many other U.S. statesas well as in range states such as Brazil and Bolivia where economic opportunities are not as abundant. By lending economic value to the forest ecosystems in that region, Mahogany production provides incentives to keep these ecosystems intact. Clearly, all of us should be striving for a sustainable utilization of the Mahogany resources with which this hemisphere has been generously endowed.
I have a number of concerns with the proposal to list Big-Leaf Mahogany under CITES Appendix II, and the leading role of the U.S. delegation in that effort. Most fundamentally, the weight of scientific evidence does not show the species in decline. Unfortunately, for some time now the debate over Mahogany has been guided more by emotion and ideology than facts. Based on what has been presented in the media and by advocacy groups, many Americans would be surprised to learn that the range of Mahogany is very large, extending from Mexico to Bolivia. Jack Ward Thomas, who until recently headed the U.S. Forest Service, concluded after a comprehensive review of the evidence that Big-Leaf Mahogany is abundant, with an extensive range, and not threatened with extinction.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In all parts of the range, the tree occurs in relatively small quantities in comparison to the total standing timber in the forest, a growth pattern characteristic of many of the species in Latin America. This creates opportunities for selective harvesting in which the majority of trees in a forest are left healthy and standing. Range states are increasingly relying upon such practices, and many U.S. importers of Mahogany insist on shipments from properly managed forests. South American governments are also more aggressively combating illegal clearing, tightening allowable harvests, and repealing tax incentives that had contributed to deforestation. Brazil recently suspended logging permits for two years, and my understanding is that Peru is in the process of implementing a similar restriction.
These facts are acknowledged by the U.S. Forest Servicethe recognized tree experts in the U.S. Government. The Forest Service's leading Mahogany expert, Dr. Ariel Lugo has published a detailed critique of the Appendix II listing proposal, and concluded that it is a ''poor proposal and a bad example of how science is used by the U.S. Government to guide the management of natural resources.'' Dr. Lugo notes more specifically that the
. . . proposal does not measure up to the standards of science and fairness required to solve complex and contentious issues, does not reflect the current understanding of the ecology and biology of Big-Leaf Mahogany, it is strongly biased, contains inaccurate statements, and ignores available information that would provide decision-makers with a more accurate understanding of the Mahogany issue. For this reason, the proposal is not a useful policy-making document and should be abandoned.
In November 20, 1996 comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), then Chief of the U.S. Forest Service Jack Ward Thomas reached the same conclusions, noting succinctly that ''none of the criteria for listing a species on Appendix II are met.''
Unfortunately, it appears that the Administration has neglected the informed input of its own experts in favor of a more political approach. The process of formulating a U.S. position has been characterized by haste and the exclusion of divergent views. The USFWS participated in three different gatherings of forestry, timber-trade, and plant and Mahogany experts this fall, but engaged in no substantial discussions of the Mahogany proposal. During these meetings, USFWS had an excellent opportunity to inform the groups that an Appendix II listing proposal for Mahogany was being considered, and to solicit their expertise. This was not done, resulting in a foregone opportunity for informed input and discussion.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Even the scheduling of CITES action on Mahogany appears to reflect political dynamics more than sound fact gathering. Acting on the proposal in June would moot the efforts of the specially-formed CITES Timber Working Group (TWO) which has completed its work and has submitted its report and recommendations to the CITES Standing Committee. It is premature to forward a listing proposal until this group's report and recommendations are received and considered by the Conference of Parties in Zimbabwe in June.
The listing proposal is also premature with respect to the report of an internal study on the Convention's effectiveness which was commissioned by the CITES Standing Committee. The results of this study also will be presented in June. The consultants found (among other things) that certain governments and advocacy groups are disproportionately represented in the work of CITES, and that CITES pays a disproportionate amount of time and effort dealing with the issues surrounding a relatively small number of popular species, such as mahogany.
I am also concerned with the characteristic positions of the range states on restricting trade in mahogany. USFWS claims that the majority of the range states support the listing of S. macrophylla. It is notable that only one nation (Costa Rica) has placed unilateral restrictions on mahogany exports. This is explicitly allowed under Appendix III of CITES. Additionally, it has been reported that only Ecuador expressed support for the Appendix II proposal during the USFWS consultation process, and that Peru and Brazil have registered their strong opposition. The whole CITES proves on mahogany reflects an all too familiar pattern of northern hemisphere advocacy groups dictating resource policy to their southern neighbors.
The handling of the listing petition for Big-Leaf Mahogany could set an unfortunate precedent. The recently revised listing criteria for CITES are being interpreted by advocacy groups very broadly and in a fashion which would allow almost any commercial tree species to have a CITES Appendix I or II listing. There is a widely-held belief that CITES is not a suitable forum for the regulation of widely traded tree species. CITES was never intended for this purpose. If S. macrophylla is listed on Appendix II, we expect that many additional species will soon be proposed for listing as well.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Many other species are prime candidates for listing proposals at subsequent CITES meetings. We call attention to the report of the first phase of a study commissioned by the Netherlands CITES Authorities and conducted by the World Conservation Monitoring Center (WCMC) that evaluated numerous timber species vis-a-vis the new listing criteria adopted in Fort Lauderdale. Phase one of the study examined 58 species, primarily from Africa and Asia. Of the 58, 41 species overall (29 from Africa alone) were found to qualify for listing in either Appendix I (a complete BAN on trade) or Appendix II (trade allowed but heavily regulated).
Proponents of listing have argued that Appendix II listing is not equivalent to an export ban. However, Appendix II listing would require certification of Mahogany exports as obtained from sustainable forests, and require routing of shipments through CITES-approved ports. This could create additional bureaucratic and logistical burdens, as well as opportunities for corruption in the allocation of permits.
Finally, it is highly questionable that trade restrictions will improve the protection of Mahogany forests, and in fact, they could have the opposite effect. History has shown that people in developing nations will not resign themselves to economic stagnation, but will choose between competing development options. In fact, it is generally recognized that the greatest threat to tropical ecosystems is clearing and burning related to housing, ranching and agriculture. By providing an economic incentive to maintain hardwood forests, responsible timber production forestalls less attractive development options. As Dr. Thomas Lovejoy of the Smithsonian Institution has said, ''the key component in preserving and maintaining the tropical forests is to ensure these resources maintain their economic value.''
It is for these reasons that I draw the Committee's attention to the Mahogany listing proposal. Appendix II listing by CITES would directly impact the future of the U.S. furniture workers and other American industries that rely on this resource to meet consumers' preferences. Also at stake are the emerging economies of South American nations, with whom the United States hopes to build stronger trading relations in coming years.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I encourage the Administration to reconsider their support for this proposal and to withdraw it from consideration at the upcoming CITES Conference of Parties in Zimbabwe.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Young follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. DON YOUNG, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ALASKA
Mr. Chairman, this is a timely hearing since the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) will convene in Harare, Zimbabwe next week. This is the tenth time that this organization has met to discuss various international trade issues.
As our lead CITES agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is required to notify the public of proposals that both our government and others will introduce at the Convention. This notification occurs through the Federal Register and allows interested parties to comment on each of the proposals and to recommend how the U.S. should vote on these resolutions. This process is very important because it keeps the Service from making its decisions in a vacuum without the benefit of public input.
During the past several months, I have met with individuals from the U.S. and from other countries regarding different agenda items for this upcoming CITES Convention and found their comments to be informative. In fact, several individuals have suggested that the U.S. delegation and its positions, seem, at times, to be out-of-sync with the views of the American public, specifically on the issue of protectionism versus sustainable use.
Now I realize CITES was established to protect species from becoming extinct due to poaching and the illegal trade of its products. Nevertheless, we must keep in mind that for many species listed there is, in all likelihood, a group of stakeholders who depend on the proper utilization of that resource. We must not forget these people as we strive to protect the species. If we try to force conservation practices without getting input and cooperation from the people dependent on the species, we will not succeed.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We must also rely on science and not philosophy or emotions when it comes time to list or delist animals. I have noticed that some species, specifically the African elephant, had all of its populations listed in Appendix I even though some of the populations in Southern Africa did not meet the listing criteria. This was done with the understanding that a CITES Panel of Experts would review specific populations and management efforts and make recommendation on whether to downlist certain populations. We must not punish those countries who are doing a superb job of conservation.
Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe have proposals to downlist their elephant populations and this has become controversial. The Panel of Experts has reviewed the populations and has recommended the populations be downlisted. The 1997 Panel of Experts report stated that these three populations meet the criteria for downlisting to Appendix II. However, the Panel did note that both Zimbabwe and Japan needed to improve their trade controls for better identification of illegally obtained ivory. If Zimbabwe and Japan need to improve their trade controls they should take the appropriate actions to correct any flaws in their respective systems.
However, and I must stress, the U.S. should not support positions or proposals that require additional measures to be met after science has supported a downlisting. CITES should be used to help rebuild a species, it should not be used to permanently prohibit trading of a species if it can be done sustainably.
I hope the Service will keep this in mind when they are over in Harare, Zimbabwe. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and I would like included in the record a copy of a letter I wrote with Congressman Richard Pombo to Chairman Livingston on the CAMPFIRE Program, a letter from several Ambassadors from Southern Africa to Secretary Babbitt and the Panel of Experts Report on the downlisting of the African Elephant.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Coble may be found at end of hearing.]
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Mr. SAXTON. We will now move to our first and obviously very important witness because he is our only witness, Don Barry, Acting Assistant Secretary of Fish and Wildlife and Parks of our Department of Interior. I understand that Mr. Barry will be leaving very soon for the convention in Zimbabwe.
And so, Don, you may proceed.
STATEMENT OF DONALD J. BARRY, ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY, FISH AND WILDLIFE AND PARKS, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, ACCOMPANIED BY WILLIAM FOX, NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE; MARSHALL HOWE, U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR; AND SUSAN LIEBERMAN, U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, U.S DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Mr. BARRY. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I would like to ask that my written statement be placed in the record as if read, and I would just like to make some personal comments and remarks about the CITES conference coming up, and CITES in general.
I have been involved the last 21 years in matters involving the endangered species convention. I attended the very first CITES meeting in 1976 in Switzerland, and this will be the eighth conference of parties I have attended. I will be the head of the American delegation so this is a convention that I have more than a passing interest in.
I would like to offer my own personal perspective on CITES and what I have observed in the past 21 years since the convention first came into effect. I believe that CITES is critically important. One of the statistics that I found impressive a couple of days ago was that the level of illegal trade in wildlife in the world is staggering, and this present illegal trade in wildlife accounts for the third largest volume of illegal trafficking, second only to guns and drugs. So the costs and the amount of revenue and moneys involved in illegal trafficking is staggering, and I think CITES is a critically important vehicle for trying to regulate the volume of illegal trade and trying to keep commercial trade sustainable for all of the species involved.
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I believe that CITES has had a demonstrable and very positive effect on the conservation needs of endangered species like spotted cats, crocodiles, and so on. There are a number of people who question the effectiveness of CITES, but I think if you look at the overall record over the past 21 years, you would have to conclude that it has had an important positive effect in both highlighting the importance of sustainable trade in wildlife, and also imposing restrictions when necessary to protect highly endangered species of wildlife which are currently threatened by trade.
I think one of the things that I personally have come to appreciate the most about CITES is that the process is very democratic and very open, and I particularly like the way the United States approaches the preparation of its positions for CITES meetings. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is responsible for the implementation of CITES, begins a series of public hearings and public notices that stretch well over a year. There are a series of Federal Register notices. There are monthly meetings. We go probably to a greater extent with the CITES conference in developing the U.S. position than any other treaty I can think of, and our process continues even up through the conference itself.
One of things I have always liked the best about the CITES conference is that the American delegation meets every evening with all the American NGO's, whether they agree with us or not. We meet to explain our positions, talk about our strategies and get input. I can't think of another convention that is that open to American citizens that are over at one of the conferences and provide them an opportunity to tell us what we should be thinking, and to explain to them why we are voting the way we are, and to get input to influence our decisions at the conference.
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Things at the CITES conference are very fluid, so even when we may start with an initial position, when we get over there, we try to listen to the other delegations, and our positions will change based on what you learn. The process we have established of meeting every evening with the American NGO's regardless of their views has been one of the hallmarks of CITES conference at least with regards to the way the American government has approached it.
Now, having said that I think that CITES has been historically very effective, I have to tell you I see various challenges in front of it. First of all, I think there are increasingly demanding expectations on CITES. It has become a very complex treaty, and for many countries it has become difficult for them to implement. That puts a burden on countries like the U.S. for continuing to assist with training. I think one of the things I have found the most troubling has been the increasing polarization of the debate about CITES. Things and positions and issues are increasingly determined in shades of black and white. The regulation of trade is either all good or all evil, and much less meaningful debate and analysis seems to be taking place at the conferences, and that is a tragedy.
I think another thing I have noticed is that increasingly there is an erosion of the civility of the debate. People increasingly have a tendency to view participants at CITES as either saints or sinners, and you are either totally good or totally bad, and the viewpoints of your opponents are fairly bankrupt. You are left with the impression that if you don't agree with me, you are either incompetent, corrupt, or an ignoramus.
And I think one of the tragedies is as we have developed our positions, our ability to listen to and work with each other seems to have eroded, and I would like to suggest that one of things I will try to accomplish at this coming conference is to be able to have a debate with people we may disagree with, but to be able to do it in a nondisagreeable way. And I think it is important for us all to try to not lose sight of the fact that all of our overall goals are the same, we just may reach different conclusions. And I would hope that at the conference and at this hearing, and as we continue our debate and discussions on CITES, we can continue to look for ways where we can emphasize our areas of disagreement, and when we disagree with people, we do it in a nondisagreeable way.
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That concludes the sort of general remarks I would like to make. I would like to ask your permission at this point to have a couple of members of our staff who are sort of the technical experts on individual issues come up to accompany me at the table in case you would have specific questions regarding particular species, in particular Marshall Howe, Sue Lieberman and Bill Fox. The first two people are in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bill Fox is with the National Marine Fisheries Service.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Barry may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. SAXTON. That would be great. At the same time I would like to ask unanimous consent that Rich Pombo be able to sit on the dais and ask questions.
Without objection. Please come forward.
Mr. Barry, I would like to talk for just a minute about the Asian elephant, so I am glad you had your folks join you. Tomorrow at 10:30 a.m., Mr. Abercrombie and I are hosting an event in front of the Main Capitol, which will include as its main attraction an Asian elephant, and we are doing so to announce the introduction of a bill which will create a program much like the African Elephant Conservation Act, where our government, pursuant to this bill, would make available $5 million to be used over 5 years to promote conservation efforts that have to do directly with the Asian elephant.
Can you or one or two of your associates comment on the effect that this would have in terms of coordinating with CITES? I understand the Asian elephant is listed under Appendix I, which is, I believe, the most seriously endangered species, and I am just curious to know if you endorse this concept and how it might work in conjunction with the convention and the general concept embraced by CITES.
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Mr. BARRY. Let me first mention that we, of course, don't have an official bill that we would be asked to review at this point, so I would not have any formal, official comment from the administration. I think it is safe to say that the Asian elephant is even more critically endangered than the African elephant. We are very concerned by the adequacy of conservation measures for the Asian elephant.
As a general matter, efforts to promote the conservation of the Asian elephant and to assist its conservation would have to be viewed as a positive, good thing, and I certainly wouldn't see anything inconsistent with the goals of CITES if alternative means of providing additional assistance for Asian elephant conservation would be provided. We would have to wait until the bill were introduced before we would have an official position on that matter.
Mr. SAXTON. I appreciate that. What is the role of the convention, and how are decisions or recommendations that are arrived at by the convention put into force in the countries that are parties to CITES?
Mr. BARRY. The Conference of the Parties takes place about every 2 years. The various different parties have an opportunity to offer suggested changes to the appendices. You can add species to the list, take species off the list. You also have an opportunity to offer resolutions interpreting the convention. And you will end up during the conference itself having these two different activities undertaken simultaneously, debates on species status and debates on interpretations of the convention.
Once the convention or the Conference of the Parties is over, the parties will then have 90 days in which to file a reservation if we disagree with one of the activities taken with regards to a particular species. They will have an opportunity to go back to their countries, ideally to begin the implementation of the resolutions that have been adopted.
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One of things that is interesting about the CITES conference is the vast majority of resolutions that are adopted interpreting the convention are done by consensus. There is a very high premium on being able to work things out at the convention, so frequently working groups are set up. If somebody starts out with a proposal, somebody disagrees, they frequently set up working groups to go off and work their differences out. You rarely have votes to see what the final nose count is, and there is an emphasis on trying to reach a consensus so the resolution would be implemented.
Each country is tasked then with the responsibility of beginning to apply the requirements of the convention for species which may have been added to the list. They are expected to try their best to begin to implement any of the new resolutions which may have been adopted, and through this manner you will move forward and continue the implementation process of the convention until the next Conference of the Parties.
So there is this continual process of trying to reform, refine, make the convention more efficient, to review the way that it is working. There was just recently a major study conducted on the role of the convention and the future of the convention, in which all of the parties had a chance to testify on it and submit comments. So there is a continual process of looking for ways to make the convention better.
Mr. SAXTON. How would you characterize the activities of the 136 member countries in terms of on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most cooperative and the most compliant, and 1 being the least? Do we get a lot of compliance with regard to the member countries or a little on a scale of 1 to 10?
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Mr. BARRY. I am going to suggest that Sue Lieberman answer that because she works in the Wildlife Permit Office and deals with other countries on a more day-to-day basis.
Ms. LIEBERMAN. Thank you.
In reality there are many countries I would give a 10 to, but unfortunately there are countries we would give a 1 or 0 to. Many countries do not even have effective CITES implementing legislation. In many countries, that is due to a lack of infrastructure or lack of resources. In other countries it is unfortunately due to a lack of will or lack of interest. So there is a broad spectrum.
We have done a great deal of CITES training since the last conference, and we hope to be doing that as well, both compliance and enforcement training. So there is a lot of improvement that is needed.
Mr. SAXTON. And is there anything that our country can do to increase the levels of compliance by those who are notthat you referred to as 0s or 1s?
Ms. LIEBERMAN. Well, there is a lot that can be done. We are working with some countries, but there are other countries that we are looking at whether or not we should be accepting shipments from those countries. We have bilateral discussions with some countries which have resulted in improvements.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SAXTON. Shipments being commerce, trade?
Ms. LIEBERMAN. Exactly. Wildlife shipments, plant shipments. We are also working with the Agency for International Development Partnership for Biodiversity in funding some training programs, bringing some enforcement agents next February from throughout Asia to improve our wildlife CITES law enforcement in a number of countries. So there is a lot to be done, and sometimes it is the heavy hand and sometimes the light hand of training.
Mr. BARRY. Let me say something along those lines. The United States probably has the most sophisticated wildlife conservation programs in the world. We certainly have the most resources we can apply. We think it is our obligation to try to help other countries where we can; and to the extent you have a country which is trying very hard to improve its infrastructure to train people, where we have the resources, we would like to help them wherever we can.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Lieberman, I am going to work backward a little bit, back to Mr. Barry. When you talk about improvement is needed, what precisely can we do, and can you comment on that in the context of China? What is the current situation with regard to either importing or exporting of illegalin illegal trade or unwise trade under the criteria established by CITES?
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Ms. LIEBERMAN. In fact, there has been significant improvement of late in China. The administration certified China under the Pelly amendment for undermining CITES just a few years ago. But there have been significant improvements in China. A delegation from Fish and Wildlife Service provided CITES implementation and enforcement training in China just last October. China has established regional CITES management authorities and has made a much stronger commitment to training.
There is a lot of work to be done. A delegation from China under our U.S. PRC Nature Conservation Protocol will be visiting here in October for CITES training, visiting our port in Los Angeles, and we will be sending a delegation from our forensics laboratory in Oregon to China next April. We think the government in Beijing is committed to making improvements, but there is more work needed to make that a reality.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Well, that is a nice statement, but I would like to know what the situation is. What constitutes ''significant improvement''? Exchange of delegations doesn't mean much to me.
Ms. LIEBERMAN. China is beginning to make wildlife seizures. They have passed and adopted new CITES legislation that actually creates penalties, significant penalties and fines for noncompliance with CITES. They are beginning to make some enforcement cases, and our agents are working with their agents. They are participating with Interpol in making some seizures, actual seizures and actual convictions.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you very much.
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Mr. Barry, in both areas, for example, in whaling or where the African elephant is concerned, there are proposals for downlisting from 1 to 2, at least in some areas. And I am presuming that such scientific methodology and information, such information as might be examined in a scientific way is utilized under what is called a special criteria, right? There are special criteria and a board of experts that help to establish a rationale for whether the proposals will be accepted or not, right?
Mr. BARRY. That is correct with regard to the African elephant.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. OK. Yeah, the International Whaling Commission, I guess, has sort of a precedence with what CITES may take up where whales are concerned.
Mr. BARRY. Many years ago, the International Whaling Commission asked CITES to basically support its overall method to be consistent, and I believe it was in 1983, the parties responded to that request and agreed to put on Appendix I all specimens of whales that were subject to a moratorium under the IWC. So we have tried to implement the convention in a manner consistent with the IWC.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. My question is given that background, is there common agreement as to what scientific information and methodology needs to be implemented or utilized in those two areas, the whaling or where the African elephant is concerned?
Mr. BARRY. I will turn to Marshall Howe on that matter. Let me just offer one general thought. With regard to the panel of experts for the African elephant, one of the things that they are supposed to consider is the biological status of a particular elephant population. And so the Conference of the Parties thought it would be useful to get experts on elephant conservation and elephant biology to offer advice on that particular matter. There are other organizations around the world that comment on the scientific credibility of a given proposal.
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Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Well, that takes me where I need to go. Excuse me for interrupting, but my time is going to slip by.
My point is if there is common agreement or general agreement as to what scientific methodologies should be used and what kind of information should be gathered, and if there is agreement that the people involved are, in fact, capable and competent, then what is the basis for the disagreement cited? The information I have, in both of these areas, the downlisting of the African elephant and the whalesthe mink whale, et cetera, why are some groups then saying that they shouldn't be downlisted, and others, presumably looking at the same criteria, and assuming that people are not being bribed or acting in some surreptitious way, why is there a disagreement; why is this happening?
The reason I ask the question, if you will let me finish up, Mr. Chairman, if we get into what you cited in your testimony, name-calling, so on, people disagreeing, it is not that I believe that science is the beginning and ending of wisdom, it is a methodology after all. I believe the scientific method really is a philosophicalwe could discuss that at some point. It is almost an ideological point of view. But if you have the common basis then, the whole idea of establishing it was to get rid of this accusation, confrontation kind of approach to it.
Mr. BARRY. I think in the case of the African elephant, for instance, the debate goes way beyond the biology and the science. This is a convention that regulates trade, and so the panel of experts is asked to not only consider the biological status of the populations, but also, in addition to that, the management capabilities of the given country and the effects of trade on the particular population. And so frequently what you will find is the focus on the impacts of trade as sort of spurring the debate and generating the greatest amount of disagreement among experts as opposed to the underlying science itself.
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Mr. ABERCROMBIE. So is theis it really an argument about whether trade should take place at all. It is difficult for me to think at this stage that the effect of trade could be all that much in disputation.
Mr. BARRY. Well, in the case of elephants, again, if you allow a regulated trade to resume in one area, will that stimulate poaching in other areas for populations that aren't as stable.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. OK, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Barry, I have to lead thethe bill we worked on is on the floor, or will be, momentarily. So I am going to rush over and take part in that discussion. And so I would like to ask unanimous consent that Mr. Pombo be named as Chair in my absence. Without objection.
Mr. POMBO. [presiding.] Thank you.
To start off, Ms. Lieberman, a couple of weeks ago when we talked, we talked briefly about the sturgeon issue. I was wondering, I guess, what kind of an update you can give me on that issue in terms of the difference between aquaculture and wild stock and what impact that is going to have if the proposed listing were to proceed.
Ms. LIEBERMAN. I can give you a little bit of an update, and then if Marshall Howe has anything more to add, that would be fine.
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We continue to support aquaculture; particularly that that we have already visited in California is very well regulated; it is excellent, and we believe it is something that is going to be growing significantly in the future, particularly the white sturgeon.
In terms of the impacts of the list, CITES listing, of all of the sturgeon species in Appendix II, that is being proposed for similarities of appearance because of the difficulty in identifying whether or not it is caviar from the white sturgeon here or the really endangered populations in the Caspian Sea. We believe we will be able to work closely with our counterparts in Canada, where the majority, if not all, of the white sturgeon meat and caviar coming from the U.S. is being exported, to be able to expedite trade, to particularly be able to expedite permits issuance so nothing holds up issuance of the permits, particularly of the caviar, which is very fragile and very perishable. We think we will be able to be flexible in that regard. We are also working closely with our Canadian counterparts as well and have had additional dialog with them and hope to be able to discuss at the CITES meeting how things can be expedited for trading in both caviar and meat.
Mr. POMBO. Mr. Howe, do you have anything you want to add to that?
Mr. HOWE. I think what Sue said pretty much covers the issue. I just reiterate the need to list both this species and all other nonendangered species of sturgeons because of the similarity of appearance problem. It is a problem in the international trade arena, and all the steps Sue has pointed out are steps we are planning to take, and we are still exploring other ways to minimize impacts on the industry.
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Mr. POMBO. What assurancesbefore we leave to go to the convention, what assurances can we give the aquaculture industry here that the listing will do no harm to what I think they are doing the right thing, and they should be encouraged? And one of the things that concerns me is that we put the incentive or the disincentive in the wrong place here, and I am concerned that it is going to have an adverse impact on people that are really doing the right thing in terms of cultivation of this particular species.
Go ahead, Ms. Lieberman.
Ms. LIEBERMAN. Let me say I think you bring up an important point in that there is also a misconception that when a species is listed in Appendix II, which regulates trade to prevent it from becoming endangered, that that is some scarlet letter E. But it isn't at all. We are trying to get the word out here in the United States, because the largest market for caviar in the world is right here in the United States. There is no CITES impact. The aquaculture industry in California and other States that are doing the right thing should not be negatively impacted. In fact, we are very committed to working to have that impact be a positive one, to get the word out on why it is good to buy California caviar.
Mr. POMBO. How would you do that?
Ms. LIEBERMAN. We would be delighted to work through public education through our public outreach, our public affairs office, media outlets when we get back from the CITES meeting, as well as the media with the CITES meeting; there are a lot of those opportunities. We will be sure to get that word out.
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Mr. BARRY. Congressman, let me just mention that I share the concerns of the regulated community who are concerned about the effects of a CITES listing upon them and upon their operations. I was only shown a copy of your letter to Secretary Babbitt this afternoon. I would just assure you that should the conference decide to list all sturgeon on Appendix II, it would be one of my goals and my intentions to work closely with the Fish and Wildlife folks and folks in the aquaculture industry to look for every possible opportunity for expediting and streamlining the permit process with the goal of dramatically reducing its effect on anything that they do.
Mr. POMBO. I was going to go to my next question, but recently I had the opportunity to speak with agricultural ministers from two countries in the Far East, and they made the point to me that they felt that species that are listed under Appendix II, that there would be a disincentive for them to continue with their aquaculture programs in producing them, because there would be some stigma attached with those particular species. They are trying to develop export markets, and they felt this would end their ability or the financial incentive would no longer be there for them to continue with this as an export market.
I found it interesting that they had that perception of this. And they felt that it would be a huge disincentive to them in developing an aquaculture industry for export because of it.
Mr. BARRY. Actually, I would have reached a different conclusion, with all due respect, in this particular situation. If you have an Appendix II export permit from, say, the United States, it clearly indicates that this is not illegal caviar coming from the Caspian Sea. And, increasingly, countries around the world are concerned about the effect of smuggling caviar, and the Appendix II requirement merely requires that the country of origin makes some finding and issue a permit that it is from their country and the continued trade will have no detriment on the stock coming from their country. So it identifies the source which eliminates any conclusion or doubt as to whether or not the particular product might be coming from an illegal source. So I would think actually the presence of that certificate would help clarify that this is not an illegal source, this is not a product in illegal trade, and would help facilitate its movement throughout the country and the world.
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Mr. POMBO. Well, I asked both of them to give me more information on exactly what their problem was so that we could pursue that.
I appreciate your commitment to working with me on trying to deal with this issue, because it has caused some concern, particularly the permit issue, the $80 fee on the permit issue, and what impact that would have economically on the industry to be able to do that. And I appreciate your assurances to work with me to get through this so it will have as little impact as possible.
In terms of process on the way this works, now, one of the examples that I was given was with the Bigleaf mahogany and the proposal to list that. Now, I know that Fish and Wildlife Service was the lead agency with CITES, but I am told that the U.S. Forest Service believes that the proposal to list the Bigleaf mahogany is bad science, or bad policy ignoring the standard of science. And in the United States, they would be the lead agency, but in this particular agreement, they are not.
How do we work through a problem like that where you may have one U.S. agency that feels one way and you feel a different way and how do we work out the differences there?
Mr. BARRY. Let me give you a quick general answer and then let Sue give you a more specific set of examples of how this works in practice.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does have the lead under CITES, but going back to the beginning in 1976, they have always had an interagency cooperative effort and worked very, very closely with the other agencies that have major roles to play. It includes APHIS regarding the importation-exportation of plants; it includes increasingly the Justice Department because of their enforcement responsibilities; it includes AID; it includes the State Department. We have a large number of agencies that we will work together with; and as we head into a CITES conference and begin to identify the types of issues that are out there, we will begin an interagency discussion and process to begin to finalize and reach consensus on our points of view.
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In the case of the mahogany, it is true there were some people in the Forest Service who were initially concerned and opposed to the listing. Over time, though, as we began to work on this together cooperatively, and went to interagency and international meetings on mahogany, our positions began to merge and blend to the point where today the Forest Service supports listing.
This is common with a number of issues. We will frequently start off with different points of view, and as we work together we will explore each other's assumptions and exchange information. Our goal is to reach a consensus point on a position, and on this particular issue, mahogany, we did that.
There were a series of meetings, that is all I can suggest, a series of meetings back and forth with a number of parties, including the State Department international experts, and others, and we eventually reached agreement on the position that we have.
Mr. POMBO. So, did the proposal change or did the U.S. Forest Service acquiesce to your positions?
Mr. BARRY. The proposal did not change, and eventually the Forest Service acquiesced and reached agreement with the position that we had. I think a lot had to do with the difference of one's assumptions as to whether or not CITES was intended to take into account the Act in a particular area that a particular specimen may play, the role in the ecosystem that it may play, and eventually as the scientists talked this through, agreement was reached on the proposal.
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Mr. POMBO. One of the things that concerns me is that that is not consensus, becauseor a compromise, because the position, the proposal, didn't change at all. Andgo ahead.
Mr. BARRY. I was just going to say, again, frequently in these matters, what you will discover is that as the different agencies continue to discuss these matters, everybody is sort of bringing different perspectives to the table. Even within the Forest Service there was a difference of opinion. There were people in the Forest Service who even right from the beginning strongly supported the proposal. I think a lot has to do with understanding CITES, understanding what an Appendix II listing means that it is not intended nor should be interpreted as a ban in trade on a particular product.
As we continued to pursue that, and, I might add, communicate and talk to some of the range states to find out what their views were, the countries that actually possess the mahogany stand. As we all began to sort of incorporate all of the information that we acquired, a consensus emerged among the different agencies that this was a correct proposal.
Mr. POMBO. In the countries that are directly impacted by this, did they support this?
Mr. BARRY. One of the changes in position that was very important in this discussion was Bolivia. Bolivia had strongly opposed the listing of mahogany at the prior Conference of the Parties. At this point, Bolivia supports the U.S. proposal, and that is a significant change of position.
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Brazil still disagrees. So I think most, if not all, of the countries in Central America who have mahogany populations support the proposal. I think what you would find is that the significant majority of the range states with mahogany support this proposal, but not all of them.
Mr. POMBO. I know we are going to have an opportunity to discuss a lot of these different issues in great detail over the next few weeks, but you have not taken an official position yet on the African elephant issue; is that correct?
Mr. BARRY. Well, let's put it this way. That issue was one of the most difficult ones for us to reach a final judgment on. One of the problems is that the range states, the African elephant range states, are meeting tomorrow I believe, or at least heading into this weekend, in the next day or two, before the conference, to sort of reach a final position among themselves as to what they feel about these proposals. The administration does have a point of view on this matter, and I anticipated being asked the question along those lines, so I would be more than willing to read to you the statement that the administration has on the African elephant if you
Mr. POMBO. Yes, go for it.
Mr. BARRY. OK. The administration recognizes the professional efforts of Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia in managing healthy wild elephant herds. Nevertheless, the administration remains firmly opposed to a resumption of commercial trade in ivory and cannot support any downlisting proposals for African elephants at the upcoming CITES Conference of the Parties. The administration is concerned that an airtight system of export and import controls for ivory does not exist, therefore increasing the possibility that illegal shipments of ivory might be blended in with lawful shipments from Namibia, Botswana, or Zimbabwe.
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At previous CITES conferences, a number of African elephant range states have expressed concerns that downlisting of any elephant population could undermine existing enforcement and increase poaching and illegal trade. The administration recognizes that the three downlisting proposals contain restrictive annotations limiting the scope of commercial trade. However, significant uncertainty exists within CITES regarding the legal effect of such annotations and the procedure by which they may be altered.
In addition, the downlisting would appear to limit or eliminate the role of the CITES panel of experts which has been highly valuable in evaluating management efforts, both in range states and in the potential consuming nations. The administration finds itself unable to support any downlisting proposal based on restrictions which may be altered or lifted without approval of two-thirds of the CITES parties or without examination and evaluation by the CITES panel of experts.
For the above reasons, the administration believes these proposals would pose unacceptable risks to elephant populations and cannot support their adoption at the upcoming conference.
Mr. POMBO. Not to put words in your mouth, but that means you oppose?
Mr. BARRY. We oppose.
Mr. POMBO. OK. I know you have got an official statement there.
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Getting back to a point that I had raised earlier, wouldn't it be better to work with the countries that are doing the right thing in managing in a sustainable effort and reward them for doing that than it is to take the position of opposing and no longer giving them an incentive to do what they are doing?
Mr. BARRY. I don't think there is any question that a country like Namibia, for instance, has managed their elephant populations in a highly professional and competent manner. They have a healthy population of elephants, they had developed an excellent proposal for how they wanted to use the ivory money from the sale to Japan, but I think ultimately at the end of the day the concerns that we had were that because the trade in ivory is still going on illegally, that there could be no adequate assurances that allowing a limited sale from Namibia would stimulate poaching in other countries.
One of the things I read over the weekend was a fairly lengthy document prepared by TRAFFIC analyzing the ivory trade today. It is probably one of the best documents or analyses on the effects of the ban, the 1989 ban in ivory trade, and it was basically focusing on Asian markets, looked extensively at Japan, and tried to assess effects of the ban on trade.
One of the things they concluded is Japan is still consuming large quantities of ivory but their stockpiles don't seem to be going down. In Japan, there is a very buoyant market still for the little signature blocks carved out of ivory, and when you take a look at the huge quantities of ivory being consumed in Japan for that hanko market, there is a disconnect somewhere. There is obviously more ivory in Japan than their stockpiles would suggest, and the only conclusion you can reach is either the stockpiles are inaccurate or illegal ivory is being blended into Japan.
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One of the things the TRAFFIC study also noted is in Africa today there is an expanding market, or at least an expanded cottage industry for taking elephant ivory and semi-processing it, cutting it down into smaller blocks. This, the TRAFFIC study notes, makes it easier for smugglers to get smaller quantities of semi-worked ivory pieces out of the country, and they believe that a fair amount of the ivory which is going out of the country seems to be destined for Japan for this hanko or signature job market.
So I think one of the concerns is that even when you have a very well drafted proposal, as the Namibia proposal, it could still result in the stimulation of poaching in other countries and we have yet to have an airtight system that has precluded illegal ivory from reaching markets like Japan.
Mr. POMBO. Taking what you just said, if the current system still allows poaching, still allows illegal quantities of ivory, it seems to me that what we ought to be doing then is going to the next step, which is to reward the countries that are managing their populations correctly and trying to do the right thing. Even though it is not perfect, we all know that, but we are trying to do it right. And by rewarding them and not those that are allowing poaching to continue, it seems like we would be going to the next step in terms of sustainable development of the wildlife in those particular areas. That seems like a more positive thing to do than to continue with the ban that by your own admission is not working either. It may have reduced the numbers of animals that are poached, but it is still occurring under the current system.
So if we put the incentives in the right place to reward the countries for operating, for good behavior, we would then be encouraging the other countries who have not yet joined that new management technique, encouraging them to develop the same kind of management techniques, therefore bringing the whole region along.
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Mr. BARRY. I think while there is some initial logic to the argument you just made, the fact that in the past the clear, clear majority view in Africa of other African range states has been in opposition to downlist elephant populations, even from states who are well managed. What that suggests is that the other range countries are concerned about the effects of rewarding, as you said, a well-managed herd. They are concerned about the spillover effects on their own populations, either through increased poaching, and so on. And I think it does, it puts a country like Namibia in a difficult position where we are managing their herds well and they feel they have a need for getting economic benefit from their efforts, but I think the fact that we have yet to be able to develop an airtight system of international trade in ivory suggests that it is not worth the risk.
One of the things that the TRAFFIC report did was it traced the history, going back over a series of the conferences of the parties, going all the way back to the early 1980's and how at each Conference of the Parties the parties struggled to try to regulate the trade in ivory and adopted a series of resolutions. And by the time they wait, 2 years later, they find they still have a problem and adopt another set of resolutions. In 1981 this happened, in 1983, 1985, and 1987. And what you see is that the CITES parties continually tried to figure out how to establish a mechanism to regulate the trade in ivory and avoid the hemorrhaging and poaching that was occurring.
I think what happened in 1989 is that they just gave up. We realized after four succeeding conferences and the adoption of well over a dozen different resolutions on ivory that nothing seemed to matter, and it was important to try to stem the tide, and at that time it was time to prohibit all international trade in ivory.
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Mr. POMBO. Mr. Peterson, did you have a question?
Mr. PETERSON. No, not at this time.
Mr. POMBO. Well, I think that at some point someone is going to have to step ahead and look at a new management tool, a new way of regulating this as a whole, and I have not had the chance to read the report that you reference, but if you look at this and say what we are currently doing has not worked, has not been successful, maybe it is time to look at a different approach.
I see a lot of good things, and again, I know it is not perfect, but I see a lot of good things that these countries are doing right now.
Mr. BARRY. Those are some of the best managed herds in Africa.
Mr. POMBO. When you compare it to what is happening to other countries that are not managing in that way, what is currently happening with the Asian elephant that is not being managed in that way, I think that you can see what these three particular countries have done has been very positive for their elephant populations. And I think that the United States should be in the forefront of stepping out and saying maybe this is a new way to do it, maybe this is a positive thing that we should be on the side of.
Mr. BARRY. Perhaps maybe one thing that is worth exploring are opportunities to provide some form of compensation for the noncommercial acquisition of stockpiles. One of the functions that will take place at the conference is what to do with existing stockpiles.
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I think our concern is when you reengage, even in a limited way, a commercial sale of ivory to put it back in trade in Japan where there is so much ivory in Japan today that seems to be unregulated, that increases significant concerns about enhanced poaching. Clearly those stockpiles are growing.
One thing that has been suggested by some people, we have not really had an opportunity to explore it in-depth, is the idea of some type of alternative form of compensation, a noncommercial way. Some people have suggested a debt for nature swap, where countries would give up debt to an African range state in exchange for their agreement to set aside some of their stockpiles of elephants that clearly were identified as coming from their countries.
Other people have suggested alternative ways of compensating them for the noncommercial acquisition of the ivory, setting it aside, not using it for commercial purposes. Some of these ideas if explored more fully, if they ultimately seem to have promise, might provide opportunities for providing compensation to those countries that are managing their herds well in a way that doesn't further stimulate the commercialization of ivory.
Mr. POMBO. Well, that is an interesting proposal. The one problem that I see right off the bat with it is that it does not decrease the demand for ivory in a commercial sense. Therefore, the poaching will continue in the other countries even if you do get someone to sign on to that idea.
The illegal trade in ivory will continue. You will not satisfy the demand for the commercial side of it, so you may be setting aside that one particular population, but it may have a negative impact, a much greater negative impact on the other countries than the proposal that was put forth.
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Mr. BARRY. Again, these are ideas that are being floated at this point. We haven't had an opportunity to explore them in any great detail, but I do think they have some promise and at least are worth looking at.
Mr. POMBO. Just to switch gears a little bit here, and I know that this is probably one of the more controversial issues that will be dealt with. I know it is already generating a fair amount of media, is the issue with the whales. And I know that Mr. Abercrombie touched on this earlier.
How do we balance the U.S. position of sustainable yield, sustainable development on species and the positions that we take on the whales?
Mr. BARRY. I am going to ask Bill Fox to respond to that. Bill has spent many, many more years working on this.
Mr. FOX. You ask a very interesting question, Mr. Chairman, as to how we balance our position with regard to sustainable use and our position on whales. I think our position with regard to sustainable use and with regard to our position on whales is actually fairly consistent. While the United States has made it clear that it does not foresee in the near future being able to support the resumption of commercial whaling, it has worked very hard within the auspices of the International Whale Commission and with its own scientific resources to develop sound information on the status of whales and to develop a management procedure which, if implemented, would be safe for the whale populations. And so we have invested quite heavily in providing the tools for the International Whaling Commission to approach the position at some time in the future of sustainable use of whales.
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It has been virtually every administration's position that I can remember to not support the resumption of commercial whaling and that still exists. We still haven't gone through all the steps that would allow us to conclude that that could occur.
Mr. POMBO. The CITES Secretariat has found that downlisting of these whale stocks conforms with CITES rules' influence. How will that influence the U.S. position?
Mr. FOX. Well, we were actually quite astounded at the conclusions drawn by the Secretariat in their analysis of proposals. The U.S. position on the downlistings is, first, that we believe very strongly in cooperative and collaborative relationships between international conservation and management organizations, and the International Whaling Commission has requested, as Mr. Barry pointed out in his earlier remarks, that CITES support the IWC moratorium on commercial whaling through a listing on Appendix I of all species that are subject to that moratorium. In fact, CITES adopted a resolution, resolution 2.9, asking all the members to do that. And so until such time as the International Whaling Commission rescinds that request or the Conference of the Parties rescinds resolution 2.9, and I believe there is also another resolution that is relevant our position is to go with that collaboration and continue to support the requests of the International Whaling Commission.
Mr. POMBO. So it is not CITES but the International Whaling Commission.
Mr. FOX. Well, it is also CITES. Our first objective is to ensure that we have this proper collaboration on it, and if you look at it in complete isolation, there are criteria that have to be looked at from the standpoint of downlisting from Appendix I to Appendix II, that transcends simply the scientific basis of the listing of the whales.
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In answer to Mr. Abercrombie's earlier point, there is substantial agreement on the status of the world's whale stocks in the ocean, but among scientists, being what they are, you can also find critics on that, but there is substantial agreement on the status of whales. So that is not a principal issue.
There is an issue with regard to management, that if you downlist our whale stocks you will run afoul of the look-alike problems in being able to determine the species and location of where the whale meat and other products would come from that would have to be resolved as well. So there are a series of things other than just the scientific status of whales that relate to what appendix animals are listed on and whether they are moved from one appendix to the other.
Mr. POMBO. You said that it transcends science and there are other issues that we take into account. That seems like that is a dangerous position for us to take, because we have always taken the position that our decisions are based upon good science, that that is the basis for all of our decisions that we make is sound science.
It is my understanding from what I have read that the science does not necessarily support the position that we have taken, so therefore we look at other issues that transcend the science.
Unfortunately, that sounds like some of the things we accuse other countries of doing, is that when the science doesn't support what they want to do, they look at other issues. And I think that that is kind of a dangerous position for us to take.
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Mr. FOX. Maybe I gave a misimpression with the words ''transcend science,'' Mr. Chairman, and if so, let me explain a little bit further. What I meant is the status of the populations is fairly generally accepted in the scientific community. However, the human institutions that have to deal with the harvesting and trade and control and regulation are also important in determining whether or not a sustainable use of a resource can be made, and those are the other elements of the equation that have to be considered in terms of taking a position on an issue.
Ms. LIEBERMAN. Let me just add to that, in addition, particularly when we were at the last CITES conference, the U.S. worked very closely with other countries in developing new CITES listing criteria, which includes science, but also includes information on illegal trade and enforcement controls. And particularly in our evaluation of the listing proposals and in review of the status of the whales, in addition to the population status information and in addition to the International Whaling Commission recommendation, there were a large number of issues pertaining to illegal trade in whale meat that we have evaluated. While that is not science in the sense of evaluating peer reviewed literature of the status of the species, this information is very important.
There is also a report that has been released by World Wildlife Fund, TRAFFIC, as well as some U.S. Government information that this is a continuing problem that would put other whale species at risk if any commercial trade were opened in whale meat.
So that is just an example of other types of issues we really have to take into consideration, because CITES is dealing not just with looking at population status but with trade issues as well.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. POMBO. Well, thank you. I have a few more questions that I would like to submit to you, and I will do that in writing with the promise that I will get an answer back fairly soon.
Mr. BARRY. The only point I would make is that a large number of folks who would be the logical people to immediately respond to your request are going to be in Zimbabwe with you, in which case we can perhaps give you an informal answer over in Zimbabwe and then followup on it with a formal response when people return from the conference.
Mr. POMBO. As long as I can get my letter answered with some of the questions that have been raised, it would help a great deal.
Mr. BARRY. We will make every effort to respond as quickly as we can, and we may be able to give you a very, very prompt response with the people remaining behind who won't be at the conference. But I just wanted to point out that some of the people with the key response would be over at the CITES conference in Zimbabwe.
[The information referred to follows:]
Mr. POMBO. Well, thank you very much. I appreciate you coming in, the testimony, the answers to the questions. This is an extremely important issue that I know consumes a huge amount of all of your time, and is very complex at times. And I appreciate you coming down and trying to fill us in as much as you can at this point as to what some of the outstanding issues are.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I do know that there are some very deep concerns that people have about what direction we are going and what message we should be sending to the rest of the world, and the United States plays a very important role in all of that. So I look forward to working with you over the next few months and hopefully will have some positive steps. Thank you very much for coming in.
The hearing is adjourned.
[The information referred to may be found at end of hearing.]
[Whereupon, at 3:08 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]
OVERSIGHT HEARING ON RESULTS OF CONVENTION ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE IN ENDANGERED SPECIES OF WILD FAUNA AND FLORA [CITES]
THURSDAY, JULY 17, 1997
House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans, Committee on Resources, Washington, DC.
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:10 a.m., in Room 1334, Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC, Hon. Richard Pombo, [member of the Subcommittee] presiding.
Mr. MILLER. We are going to begin. I ask unanimous consent that Mr. Pombo of California sit with the Subcommittee and also be allowed to chair the Subcommittee. Hearing no objection, so ordered.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF HON. RICHARD POMBO, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Mr. POMBO. Thank you, Mr. Miller. This one will go down in history, I am sure.
I would like to start off this morning by thanking the Chairman of the Subcommittee, Chairman Saxton, for scheduling this hearing. I felt it was important, and I am sure that Mr. Miller felt that it was important that we have a followup hearing on the CITES convention, also to thank Chairman Young and Chairman Smith for their role in raising the visibility of CITES in establishing the importance of that within the congressional delegation within the committees that they chair, the importance of us participating in that event.
I would also like to thank Don Barry of the Fish and Wildlife Service for the job that he did in Harare. I felt that he did an excellent job. He fulfilled his responsibilities the best under the circumstances I think the best that he could.
I think that there were a lot of issues that were on the table, a lot of things that we had to deal with. He was extremely easy for me to work with even though we did disagree at times on issues, but I felt that he kept us informed and he did a fantastic job of representing the United States.
Also, the embassy officials in Harare, I believe, did a fantastic job under the circumstances with such a large delegation coming from the United States in fulfilling their commitments and their responsibilities.
This was the first international convention that I had the opportunity to attend, and I found it in many ways educational. I found it exciting. I found it very informative and in some ways, I found it disturbing.
I found it exciting to see the different nations trying to work together, trying to work out what I believe was an extremely important agreement in representing their nations and trying to protect their endangered species. I went with the idea that we would learn something about endangered species in other countries and learn how they are managing their wildlife in other countries. That part of it was very educational. I believe that there was a lot for us to learn from some of these other countries about sustainable use. There was a lot for us to learn about the value of wildlife and how once you place a value on that wildlife to the people, how they treat it very differently than if there is no value.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I found that very interesting. I know that I personally learned quite a bit from that, but I also did find it disappointing in some aspects because I was disappointed to see the U.S. not in the position of taking a lead role in developing new ideas, in developing, I guess, the new era of how we care for wildlife, how we care for endangered species, and in the future, I look forward to working with the Fish and Wildlife Service and working with the Administration in beginning to start that dialog and beginning to look toward the future.
We have done a few things in this country in recent years that I believe are a step in the right direction that are a positive direction for us to go, and I think we need to expand upon that. In looking at the way that some of the other countries are beginning to deal with their wildlife management, I think that is a very positive direction to go, and i think that we really do need to look at that in terms of how we are going to deal with some of our internal problems and domestic problems as well.
I am looking forward to the hearing. I appreciate you being here. At this time, I would like to turn to Mr. Miller.
[The statement of Mr. Pombo follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. RICHARD W. POMBO, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
First let me thank Chairman Saxton for scheduling this hearing, and for his ongoing interest in CITES, which has increased Congressional awareness of this important international agreement. I would like to thank also Resources Committee Chairman Young and Agriculture Committee Chairman Smith, who recommended to Speaker Gingrich that I join the United States delegation as an observer.
The United States should work with the clear majority of world opinion by supporting the range states in sustainable use of their indigenous natural resources. We should support wildlife management based on good science, and allow self-determination within the guidelines of proper resource management.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Tenth Conference of the Parties (COP 10) has endorsed an important first step toward recognition of sustainable utilization in management of the African elephant population.
The bright light of international scrutiny will now be on Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia. If they continue to carry out wildlife management in a responsible manner, then the new CITES policy will be a success for both people and the animal population.
This is the second oversight hearing we have held on CITES. The Resources Committee will continue to work with the Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure American cooperation with the new policies endorsed by CITES.
I would like to include as an addendum to my statement the opening address to the CITES convention, which was delivered by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. It is a thorough review of the wildlife conservation measures underway there.
Mr. MILLER. Thank you and I want to join Mr. Pombo in commending our delegation. Don, I think you did a great job in leading our delegation and to Marshall and to Sue, the hours you people spent trying to hold this thing together and to negotiate and to gain support for many of our positions, I was quite amazed at the amount of time you spent helping other nations in formulating some of their concerns and their positions, and I think it was impressive that you were doing thatvery, very long hours, overRichard and I were there a few days. You were there a couple of weeks and we saw you at the end of the process and I was amazed that you were all vertical, but you were, and I think you did a wonderful job in representing our position. I think it is also fair to say that our position wasn't easy to do that.
One, we have become the voice in some cases, it appeared to me, for nations that were uncomfortable putting forth positions and yet new positions should be put forth. We were in some cases the organizing principle around which other nations could gather and try to give rise to concerns. We also brought with us a very strong conservation ethic from this Congress, from the people of our country, and it is pretty clear after attending this conference that in a number of regions of the world, that that is a clash, and that is a flashpoint, but I also think you handled the diplomatic part of that very, very well in the sense that there were nations which we oppose their positions or they opposed ours, but I don't think we ended up being enemies at the end of the conference, and that is important, because I think one of the things that Congressman Pombo and I learned is that this conference has real consequences. This is not an abstract conference, as we will now see with the considerations around the elephants.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There are a lot of consequences that will flow from the prevailing position of the downlisting in the three countries. Some of those consequences will be a surprise to all of us. Hopefully, most of them will be all beneficial, but there is also great potential for negative consequences to that, and I think given our agenda, you did an exemplary job.
I would just like to say on the elephant question that I think that it was clear at the conference in talking to representatives of other nations and to you, to our delegation, that clearly Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Botswana have done a tremendous job in rebuilding the herds of the elephant populations that they have. Our own tours into the countryside brought home many of the issues that that raises for those nations. I think many issues that most people in America have never given thought to in terms of trying to live in a country with an expanding elephant population, but I was also interested to know that there was unanimity within Africa about how to handle this, and clearly, many African nations voted against the downlisting, as did other nations in other parts of the world with elephant populations because of this concern overas legitimate as these proposals were for downlisting, do they spur other activities in terms of black market, illegal trade, and not so much what happens in these three nations that have a fairly decent infrastructure in dealing with elephant populations and with poachers and with illegal trade, but I think also clearly what happens in the other nations that really don't have that infrastructure, have very small populations, and it is not a question of winning a prolonged war with poachers. It is a question of whether they can survive a very short intensive poaching incident, and I think that that became clear when you listened to a number of the speeches on the proposal by other African nations and other nations with elephant populations, that their concern that there is a spillover factor in endangering their elephant populations.
I was stuck with the sense that this proposal for downlisting, while certainly understandable, was a little bit of the cart before the horse here, and one of the things that maybe we can discuss this morning is really, now what do we do about our efforts to help these other nations and the three nations in the anti-poaching area.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We do spend some money in that region, but clearly, this downlisting is going to be scrutinized now for many years, and hopefully, it will go right. It will have the positive consequences that the proponents have argued for, but I think that will only come about with diligence on our part and other developed nations who have some resources to share with these nations to try to develop the infrastructure against illegal trade and against poaching. It simply will not be enough for us to condemn elephant trade, to condemn trophy hunting, to condemn poaching. There will be enough condemnations of that to go around. What is going to be needed is some resource and expertise, some technical assistance for many of these nations that became very clear to us don't have those resources, and I am not sure it takes a lot. I am sure we are talking about massive amounts of resources, but clearly within the developed world, we should have a period to do that.
I would hope we would also explore some alternatives in terms of Debt-for-Ivory that we have had under discussion, along the lines of the Debt-for-Nature.
Some of these nations do have significant stockpiles, some have relatively small stockpiles, some of them have debt, and whether or not there is an arrangement either for us or for multilateral institutions to work out some kind of swap there so that we can transition into this delisting and the ramifications in terms of that market so that we don't explode onto the market such massive amounts of ivory, and then that is the expectation, and failure to meet that drives value in poaching beyond what the downlisting and the conservation plans of those nations would allow for.
Those are a couple of concerns that I have and observations that I have. It was a fantastic experience to watch this conference work. I must say at times, in a parliamentary sense from rules of order, it made the Congress look like a well oiled machine.
There were some rulings from time to time that just baffled me, but I found out later I wasn't the only one baffled. Actually, I found that sometimes the majority was baffled which then baffled me why a majority would put up with such a ruling, but in any case, it was, I think, a difficult conference in terms of sorting out these issues, but I again think that we can be very proud of our delegation and the manner in which you handled it and the results that were derived overall from the conference. There may be some things that we disagree with, but there are also some things that you also say maybe require some very close observation to see whether or not they work or they don't work, so thank you again for your service and your expertise and the talent that you were able to assemble across all of these agencies to provide support for our position.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Statement of Hon. George Miller follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. GEORGE MILLER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
The 10th Conference of the Parties to CITES held in Zimbabwe last month was, for many, about elephants and elephant conservation. Those of us who attended the meeting know that the debate was about much more than whether to allow legal trade in elephant ivory for the first time in almost a decade.
This debate was about land use and expanding populations. It was resource use and rural development in very poor countries. It was about methods for wildlife management and protection and whether, as President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe put it, ''Wildlife must pay its way to survive.''
There was little question that Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Bostwana have managed their elephant populations well. But we cannot ignore the very critical issue of the fate of the African elephant across the continent, and the potential impacts of downlisting and resumption in trade.
History tells us that, in the case of any wildlife trade, it is the illegal trade that can quickly overwhelm conservation efforts. Blackmarket salesregardless of whether the product is a traditional medicine made from tiger bone in Asia or a ceremonial dagger of rhino horn in the Middle East are the real threats. Ivory is a case in point.
Contrary to some perceptions, African nationsincluding some very poor nations that perhaps could profit by allowing expanded trade in elephantsdid not support the southern African proposal to downlist their elephants and allow limited trade with Japan. Central and western African nations, whose elephant herds were most severely decimated by the illegal ivory trade prior to the 1989 ban, expressed great concern because of their lack of funds for conservation and anti-poaching efforts. Opening the legal trade again, control efforts aside, may well open the door to a renewal of the blackmarket trade that caused the slaughter of the 1980's, and many of these countries would be all but powerless to prevent it.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Niger, with only a few hundred elephants remaining, opposed the southern African nations' proposal, as did Ivory Coast, and Chad, with a similar number of elephants. So did Cameroon, with about 5,000 elephants remaining inside its borders, and Tanzania, whose number of elephants dropped from 109,000 in 1977 to 29,700 in 1989. The delegate from Ghana, where fewer than 500 elephants escaped the last round of ivory wars, begged for more time, noting that ''all our poachers know the downlisting is coming.'' His plea went unheeded.
The crucial question for the next few years will not be, ''How are the southern African elephant populations faring under the resumption of trade in elephant parts?'', but rather, ''How are the rest of Africa's elephants holding up?'' Is Ghana facing another ivory war over its remaining few hundred elephants? What about Congo, and Chad? Can they hold their own under the potential onslaught?
The parties to CITES recognized this problem, and overwhelmingly approved a resolution establishing strict conditions for the non-commercial sale and disposal of the ivory stockpiles in warehouses across the continent, in countries where the ivory wars were lost or continue to be fought. Revenues from those sales must be deposited into conservation trust funds and used by the nations to fund conservation and community-based organizations and development programs.
These nations will need our support and our assistance to prevent the downlisting decision from becoming a license for the resumption of elephant slaughter. It is not enough for Americans and others to condemn the elephant trade or trophy hunting, and then offer nothing in its place that offers some possibility of economic development in rural Africa. I have begun discussions with international conservation organizations, the Administration, and others to develop an amendment to the African Elephant Conservation Act to provide desperately needed funds for those conservation and enforcement programs in those countries where they are most urgently needed.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have already begun discussions on a Debt-for-Ivory program. Based on the successful Debt-for-Nature model, this approach could provide much needed conservation funds for countries like Tanzania, which holds more than $5 billion in international debt, and has an estimated ivory stockpile of more than 50 tons. Tanzania is just beginning to develop its wildlife conservation programs, and financial support of this type could mean the difference between success and failure in their efforts. Even nations with relatively small ivory stockpiles, like Zambia's 4 tons, could benefit from this program. Since the United States holds a small portion of the overall bilateral African debt, a U.S. program would have to be coordinated with those European nations that also hold African debt, and we've spoken with international conservation organizations about a multinational effort along these lines.
We are also investigating other funding sources, such as the World Bank, that will work with the governments, the NGO's and the rural people of these nations to promote policies that do not require the permanent sacrifice of wildlife for short term economic benefit.
Finally, I want to commend Mr. Barry and the other members of the U.S. delegation to the CITES conference for their hard work and diligence under less-than-ideal conditions. Elephants were not the only issueand certainly not the only controversial issueof this convention. Marine fish, whales, sea turtles, mahoganyall were important concerns for our delegation and many other nations attending the CITES conference. The U.S. team at CITES was universally respected for its working knowledge of the convention and its expertise in the species under discussion. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the members of our delegation on behalf of this Committee and the Congress.
STATEMENT OF HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT: CDE R.G. MUGABE
Honourable Vice Presidents Cdes J. Nkomo and S. Muzenda.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Honourable Minister of Environment and Tourism, Cde C.C. Chimutengwende and other Parties to CITES, Honourable Ministers of Zimbabwe, The Chairman of the Standing Committee of CITES, Ambassador Ahao of Japan, The Secretary General of CITES, Ambassador Topkov, The Executive Director of UNEP, Ms. Bodswell, Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Distinguished Delegates and observers, Invited Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
On behalf of the Government, the people of Zimbabwe and indeed on my own behalf, it is my pleasure to welcome you to Harare. The people of Zimbabwe are honoured and delighted to be hosts to this your Tenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES being held for the second time in Africa. Our sister country Botswana hosted the conference in 1983.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this meeting is being held at a time when environmental issues have taken centre stage in all international meetings. We are all aware that the World Trade Organisation meeting in Singapore grappled with the issue of trade and the environment and, in two weeks' time, world leaders will be gathered in New York to assess the achievements gained since Rio five years ago. Of significance, since Rio, has been the coming into effect of Conventions that have direct relevance to CITES, such as the Convention in Biological Diversity.
Ladies and Gentlemen, some of the world's plant and animal species are threatened with extinction due to absolute poverty within third world populations which lead to over-reliance on natural resources for survival, especially in the rural areas. Other causes are loss of habitat through deforestation, and human and animal population pressure; the need to service the debt burden in the developing states where natural resources are a significant contributor to the Gross Domestic Product; and illegal international trade which is now a multi-million dollar industry.
We in Zimbabwe have since established a commitment to natural resource conservation as evidenced by the fact that 15 percent of the country is under reserved forest and National Parks and, when one includes the CAMPFIRE areas, about 30 percent of our mass is under wildlife management. In addition, in the last five years, large tracts of farmland have been turned into wildlife management areas called conservancies.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC A number of Acts have been put in place to ensure the sustainable use and conservation of our biological heritage. These include the Parks and Wildlife Act, the Forest Act, the Communal Lands Forest Produce Act and the Natural Resources Act. Currently, my Government is working on a Biodiversity Inventory, Strategy and Action Plan which is funded under the Global Environmental Facility arrangement. This will enable Government to implement comprehensive programmes for sustainable utilization and conservation of our natural resources. Zimbabwe is an active participant in environmental issues and, since Rio, we have defined our participation by adhering to principles that many are familiar with.
The principles of sustainability and inter-generational equity are the cornerstones to our environmental management. I am conscious that Conventions such as CITES have been brought about in order to protect certain species from extinction. In Zimbabwe, the management of our environment and natural resources is fashioned to meet the development interests of the present generation without jeopardizing those of future ones. I am glad to announce that future generations will definitely inherit the black Rhino in this country as we are achieving positive growth rates in this area.
The principle of anticipating and preventing negative environmental impacts is less costly and more effective than correcting such problems. Countries in Southern Africa continue to suffer from a colonial legacy of land apportionment between the races that has devastatingly caused land degradation, deforestation, soil erosion and almost eradicated hitherto common species of animals, birds, reptiles and fish. To safeguard the future generation's right to resources, we believe in environmental impact assessments.
For the last few years, no development has been allowed to take place without environmental impact assessments. In the protected areas, where most of our wildlife of fauna and flora are found, any development must be preceded by impact assessments. In our resort town of Victoria Falls, we have joined with our neighbours in order to look at the environmental impacts on present and future development in that area.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My Government is working with agencies such as the World Bank and other donors to re-plan all our parks and CAMPFIRE areas. A cornerstone of the new plans is the accompanying environmental impact assessment of the areas. It is this assessment that becomes our compass in the management of different species.
In terms of species, we are producing specific management plans on a periodic basis. During your stay, I invite you to look at management plans related to the crocodile, ostrich, black rhino, elephant and other species. In addition, I hope you can visit some of the areas where these species are found. I am sure you will give sympathy to our struggle to produce better predictive environmental impact assessments once you see the different qualities of natural resources found in communal areas, commercial farming areas, CAMPFIRE areas, parks and forestry areas and conservancies.
It is well known that public participation is an essential element of an effective environmental management process. We know that where the public at large has vested interest in preventing environmental harm, the results are vastly improved.
My Government has introduced the CAMPFIRE conceptthe Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources. Our people, through their representative and democratically elected councils are now able to participate in wildlife management. They now understand the value which they derive from better environmental management principles since they associate wildlife and other natural resources with their own socio-economic development.
Sustainable utilisation of resources in this country is not new. It is not strange that our people and the Government have to relearn their past in order to catch up with the modern world. Conservation of natural resources is closely linked to family totems. Where a family's totem relates to an elephant, and many totems in Zimbabwe are, the elephant becomes a sacred animal for that family. Thus totems are linked to fish, birds, crocodiles, animals, and other natural resources. However, in all cases, there was never a denial to derive an economic, social and cultural value from the species.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CAMPFIRE concept is a philosophy by my Government that allows communities to derive benefits from good management of natural resources. It is a philosophy which is rooted in our strategy to uplift the standard of living of the rural poor. Natural Resources provide the economic base for these communities. Land, soil, water, wildlife, fisheries, forests and other resources are better managed by communities that have embraced the philosophy of CAMPFIRE. I, personally was heartened by the petitions of support we received from all over the world when some among us here threatened the programmes run under CAMPFIRE which are funded by many donors. I salute the members of the U.S. Congress who constitute the Black Congressional Caucus who have signed petitions of support for the CAMPFIRE programmes. The basic philosophy is about humans sustainably utilising their natural resources for present and future generations.
My Government continues to ensure that our domestic law must recognise and respect international laws captured in the environmental conventions to which we are party. CITES is not an exception. In many respects, because of our concern for intergenerational equity, we have listed species on our own endangered list while they are not considered so by CITES. We believe that CITES needs to update its philosophy in line with the post Rio Conventions concepts.
My Government is supportive of maintaining the stance that the Organisation of African Unity has taken recently on the issue of sustainable development and sustained economic growth in the post-Rio era. Any convention that militates against this is depriving parties, especially the developing countries, of the right, access ownership and utilisation of the resources.
May I, however, hasten to say that we are undertaking the task of protecting our natural resources especially of wildlife at great expense and sacrifice. The mobilisation of the army, police, national parks scouts/rangers to guard against poachers is costly. In Southern Africa, wildlife is found in arid and semi desert regions. Water for these animals is pumped at great cost from underground sources. Elephants, especially because of their huge bodies, consume large amounts of this underground water and, we believe, every species must pay its way to survival. We believe that the management strategies we have devised, if given a chance, will enable most species to survive.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have benefited from contributions given by donor counties, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) from here and abroad, and more especially from our neighbouring countries which have equally contributed money to protect wildlife. Our Department of Wildlife Management has been strengthened by the creation of a fund that is dedicated to financing the conservation and protection of wildlife. All proceeds from wildlife activities in Parks Estates go to this fund. In addition, some funds are voted by Parliament to boost the conservation effort of the Department. I am confident that these structural changes have assured a sustainable funding mechanism for the conservation and protection of wildlife in Zimbabwe.
We believe that a well monitored, evaluated and ecosystem-managed habitat can support our philosophy of sustainable utilisation. And we invite the international community to cooperate with us and give assistance where possible so that our people can become beneficiaries of their natural resources.
There must be encouragement of sustainable utilisation and development for those whose policies and actions uphold scientifically accepted standards, while penalising those that abuse the environment. To refuse to accept the principle of differentiated responsibilities will mean doom for the international environmental movement and certainly disaster to natural resources covered by CITES Convention.
As the world becomes a truly global village, the division between the developed and the non developed countries is sharpening. The environment and trade issues are indeed at the centre stage. This CITES meeting is significant because it is tackling the issue of the environment as it relates to trade. For us in developing countries, our natural resources provide hope for our great leap forward. Impoverished communities depend on the sustainable utilisation of their resources.
Ladies and Gentlemen, participants to this Conference will be very busy looking at over 80 proposals and over 60 resolutions. However, as you are talking about fauna and flora which we have in abundance in all corners of the country, I invite you to visit our wildlife areas, as well as Victoria Falls for relief joy and relaxation.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish you fruitful deliberations and a pleasant and enjoyable stay in Zimbabwe. It now gives me great pleasure to declare this, the Tenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the Convention in the International Trade of Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora officially open.
I thank you.
Mr. POMBO. Mr. Farr.
Mr. FARR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think I am the only one in this discussion that didn't attend the conference, but I am intrigued by it, and I am intrigued by sort of the directions of the questions, and that is, why did America, the United States proposals all fail, and why did we always vote on the losing side.
That doesn't bother me as much as how do you change it, and unfortunately, I have to leave this meeting to go to a discussion on sustainable development, but what I am concerned about is the fact that if we are going to have global security, and I really think this is in the big picture of things, the whole balance between the environment and the natural animals in the environment and essentially the need to sort of harvest natural resources for local economy, then how do you change that?
I am a former Peace Corps volunteer, so it is sort of that economic conversion from the culture of poverty to what I like to think as you turn the hunting of animals into the photography of animals, hunt them with a camera and not with something that destroys them and develop markets there.
What I am getting at and I would like perhaps Mr. Barry to talk about that is, it seems to me that in the NAFTA discussions and everything else, that it always comes back to that these countries just don't have the infrastructure for enforcement, don't have the capability of doing the kind of educational opportunity to show that there is a value added for watching wildlife rather than marketing wildlife, and that we have that capacity in this country, and we have learned it.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In fact, I am often quoted as saying, and I didn't make it up; Megatrends wrote it, that there are more people watching wildlife in America than all of the professional sports in this country, that it is the biggest attraction. How do you convert that into countries that have exotic wildlife into understanding that there is more money to be made by appreciating them rather than selling parts of them or the animal as a whole.
So perhaps what we need to focus on domestically is how we assess what our educational opportunities are in this country. I think that is the biggest undersold asset that America has, and the ability to bring emerging managers, mid-level managers in governments from all over the world, and in entities of community-based organizations that might be interested to this country to really utilize what we have already existing here, but we have not focused on making that available to the international community.
We have done that in the military. We have the International Military Education Training Program, and we bring all of the top military officials. The only requirement is that they have to speak English, but they are going to the Naval post-graduate school in Monterey, they are going to Annapolis, they are in our best military training schools to learn essentially management, assessment and management issues, and why did we do that? Because these are our allies, and if we are going to try to do a problem-solving, we need everybody to be on the same page and same team.
Now, if we can do that about war, why can't we do that about environment? I think that that is what we need to develop in this country, which will lead then back into when you have these conferences, the parties to the treaty which, by the way, I think these treaties arewe ought to spend much more time in knowing about them. I think the law of the seas, the Montreal Protocols on Global Warming, this treaty is a kind of thing that we ought to, as this country, be more active in utilizing our educational opportunities here to essentially ratchet up the understanding and, I think, the economic that comes therefrom, so that it doesn't become so much of an enforcement problem which can be violated so easily.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That is sort of my thinking, and I hope that as you focus on this that we can begin to think where we go from here. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. POMBO. Thank you. At this point, I would like to ask unanimous consent that all members' statements be included in the record at this point.
[Statement of Hon. Jim Saxton follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. JIM SAXTON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY
Good morning. The purpose of today's hearing is to discuss the outcome of the Tenth Regular Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, commonly known as CITES. The Convention this year was held from June 9 through the 22nd in Zimbabwe.
By way of background, CITES entered into force on July 1, 1975. Currently 136 countries, including the United States, are parties to the Convention. CITES is the only global treaty whose focus is the protection of plant and animal species from unregulated international trade.
I know that our witnesses have firsthand knowledge about how the United States developed its positions on CITES; what interagency review is necessary for these CITES proposals; and what role Congress should play in developing future proposals. I am looking forward to hearing the outcome of the Convention.
[Statement of Hon. Don Young follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. DON YOUNG, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ALASKA
Mr. Chairman, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was held in Harare, Zimbabwe, one month ago.
At this Tenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties, and the past two CITES Conferences, African elephant populations were the focus of much debate. At this Conference of the Parties, Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe offered proposals to downlist their elephant populations to Appendix II. These countries have done an outstanding job of managing and conserving their growing populations of African elephants. Regrettably, their efforts are expensive and these three countries sought an opportunity to finance future conservation by selling ivory obtained from confiscated, culled or naturally dying elephants.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What made this Conference different from any previous CITES Conference was the overwhelming support of nations to vote to downlist these three populations to Appendix II. While I view this as a positive step, I am interested in knowing why the U.S. Delegation voted against all of the elephant downlisting efforts. I also want to hear what position the Department of Interior will take now that the proposals have been adopted by CITES.
This historic downlisting did not come without stipulations. Parties to CITES had concerns with enforcement controls used in Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Japan, as the only importer. Prior to any trade in ivory, these three African countries and Japan must resolve their enforcement problems and submit to independent verification of trade controls. The CITES Secretariat, along with TRAFFIC International, will monitor legal and illegal trade through an international monitoring and reporting system.
There were many other proposals offered at this CITES meeting that are also of interest. Norway and Japan proposed to downlist various whale species, all of which failed. Cuba wanted to downlist its population of Hawksbill turtles, which also failed.
The U.S. proposed a Marine Fish Species Working Group, which failed to get CITES support. Bolivia and the U.S. cosponsored a proposal to list bigleaf mahogany on Appendix II, which also failed. Instead of the Appendix II listing, the Range States agreed to list their respective populations in Appendix III.
What is clear from this Conference is that the majority of CITES Members support the sustainable use of plants and animals and that the U.S. Delegation was on the losing side of most of the major decisions made in Harare. I am hopeful that we can learn today how the U.S. positions were formulated and how the U.S. can regain its international leadership role prior to the Eleventh Meeting of the Conference of Parties in Indonesia.
Finally, I want to express my sincere appreciation to Congressman Richard Pombo. Richard was our Republican Congressional delegate to CITES and he did a superb job of representing our Committee and our Nation at that Conference. It is not an easy task to travel thousands of miles to attend one of these international conferences, and I want to thank him for all of his personal sacrifices.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am anxious to hear his assessment of the outcome of this meeting and look forward to also hearing the testimony of Mr. Don Barry of the Department of the Interior who was the head of the U.S. Delegation to the CITES Conference.
Mr. POMBO. The first panel, our only panel, Mr. Donald Barry, who is the Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, Department of the Interior, who is accompanied by Mr. Marshall Jones, who is the Assistant Director for International Affairs. They are also accompanied by Dr. Susan Lieberman, Dr. Peter Thomas, and Dr. William Fox.
Mr. Barry, you can give your statement. Because you are the only panel, I will be generous with the time, but I would give you the floor.
STATEMENT OF DONALD J. BARRY, ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR FISH AND WILDLIFE AND PARKS, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Mr. BARRY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would just like to ask permission to have my entire written statement entered into the record. I would prefer to just offer some general observations as an alternative statement at this time.
Mr. POMBO. Without objection, it will be included.
Mr. BARRY. Let me first thank both you and Congressman Miller for your very kind remarks. I find myself sort of wishing this could be a permanent Kodak moment. It is likely to be the only time in my career when I am likely to be complimented by both sides of the aisle, so I appreciated the opening remarks from both of you.
Let me first say that I have had a pretty long and fortunate career in government. I have had the good fortune of being in many places and having a chance to work on many things, but as sort of small-town and schmaltzy as this sounds, I don't think I have ever experienced something as awesome as representing the United States at a major international conference.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The feeling of responsibility that comes down on top of your shoulders when you are representing your country in an international forum like that was, I won't say crushing but you certainly felt like the person who carries the flag in the Olympics and you don't want to trip on behalf of your country. For me, it was probably what I would consider the privilege of my lifetime to represent the U.S. at CITES.
I also would like to just offer my personal thanks and the thanks of the members of the American delegation for the courtesy that both you and Congressman Miller and the Committee staff folks accorded us. Having worked for the old Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee staff, having gone on a number of CITES conferences as a congressional staff observer, in all honesty, I was concerned about how we would be able to balance both the demands at the conference and also be able to provide the support that we wanted to provide to you folks.
The entire group that came to the conference from the U.S. Congress were incredibly low maintenance, and you folks were exceptionally easy to work with. We appreciate your interest, quite frankly. One of the problems that we have is getting people to care and having an opportunity to talk to people in Congress and to make them aware of the complexities of these issues, so we appreciate congressional interest.
We were delighted to have you on board and found it a really easy fit, which was sort of the best of all worlds. I just wanted to thank you all for being as accommodating as you were.
Let me just offer one general observation. I think it is too easy to fall into sort of a scorecard mentality when you come out of a conference like this and say, well, the U.S. won or lost this many, so it must have been a bad conference or a good conference.
I think that is a way too simplistic way of looking at it, and I would say that overall, we won some votes that we desperately wanted to win, we lost some votes that we were very disappointed to lose, but overall, I probably would have given this particular CITES about a B rating, maybe a B-plus, somewhere in there in terms of the overall level of issues that were on the table.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The U.S. actually did very well overall on a lot of the smaller issues that don't capture the attention necessarily or the headlines, but are critically important for helping to make the CITES treaty work more effectively. The U.S. had, I think, nine different resolutions or papers on interpretation of the convention which were adopted. There were two new working groups that we proposed which were rejected, and then two other proposals that we had on the implementation side of things which were sort of deferred or referred back to one of the committees, but we did have nine resolutions that we set forward that were adopted.
Two out of our three plant proposals were adopted. We didn't win on mahogany, which was a very important one, but quite frankly, that would be an example of where I would say that we ended up in as good a position if not a better position as a result of the conference, even though we didn't get it on an Appendix II listing, which we originally started out to get.
I think the eventual outcome, the resolution that was worked out on mahogany with Brazil, with Bolivia, is actually from the perspective of the people who took the lead on that issue a better deal, a more long-term enhancing deal for mahogany than we could have gotten with an Appendix II listing.
I don't think we would have gotten to that point if we hadn't pushed it, so are we disappointed we didn't get Appendix II listing for mahogany? Well, we would have preferred to have played that ball down the fairway a little bit further, but on balance, I think we have a new opportunity here which long term may be even better from the perspective of mahogany, so I think on a lot of these issues, we have to look beyond just the scorecard keeping of whether we got something on an appendix or not, and not lose sight of the fact that the reason we are interested in these issues is to promote the conservation of the species. If we can get there some alternative way, we ought to be strongly supportive of that and not care on how we get there.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC On some of the animal proposals, we were pleased with the outcome of the question involving the white rhino. We believe that the right decisions were made in rejecting the whaling proposals.
There was an excellent paper, probably the real sleeper of the conference, and this is something that I would just respectfully urge the Members of the Congress to give some additional thought to.
The real sleeper of the conference, I think, of all the things that we worked on was a paper the Fish and Wildlife Service had prepared somewhat in obscurity on invasive species, alien species, and what amazed us was the unbelievable response we got worldwide with countries saying, we have this problem, too. This is a serious, serious problem, and the support that we received ranged from Cuba to any number of countries around the globe.
I think what it points out is that there is a growing recognition of the problem of alien species, and I am not talking about the men in black kind of alien species. I am talking about zebra mussels and things like this, species that get established through trade and then have horrific local environmental problems and what it suggests is that this is an issue that is still out there. It is growing, it is worldwide, and the response that was generated to this one paper suggests that there is a lot more work for us all to do.
On sea turtles, I think we had the right decision, the right outcome. There was a major debate, and I think it was a very fair and open debate primarily for commercial purposes, which is the key standard under the convention, whether you should allow trade in Appendix I species if it is primarily for commercial purposes. We were very pleased with the outcome of that issue. I know that it was a very tough matter for the folks to resolve. I thought Namibia did an excellent job in raising the issue, but we felt that it was one of the most significant issues addressed in the conference. We were very pleased at how that came out.
I think we also made good progress with regard to international trade in bear parts. We did not get everything that we had wanted or other people had wanted perhaps, but I think we ended up coming out of the conference with an excellent foundation for doing more in keeping this issue alive, and more importantly, coming back at the next conference and saying, OK, we tried an alternative approach to work with the countries that have been responsible for the consumption of bear parts, illegal trade; if it still is a significant problem at the next conference, then I think it is fairly clear that we have to prepared to take more drastic action, so I think the whole bear parts issue is not going to go away, but I think there is an opportunity for us to make some real progress, especially with the traditional medicine communities, to try to begin to turn the illegal trade around.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The toughest issue probably clearly for the delegation was on elephants. We did not succeed in preventing the downlisting, but even on that one, I think that if there was going to be a resumption or at least a green light for resumption in trade, the types of conditions and qualifiers that were placed on the ultimate approval were the right ones.
I think they were the right issues to ask and the right type of conditions to have, and most importantly, one of those conditions was that the countries that would take advantage of the one-time sale would end up having to withdraw their reservation on elephants which they have maintained since the original listing, and long-term, that is a very significant step forward.
I think the elephant outcome would be viewed as a loss for the United States, but we tried to approach it in a way that left us actually coming out of the conference with a stronger position and a working relationship with these countries than we had going into it.
I have to tell you, in particular, I felt that we developed some new opportunities that had not previously existed for working cooperatively with Zimbabwe. I think the host country did an excellent job in trying to manage a conference of this size. I think, and it is too bad that Congressman Farr has now left, because one of the things that I wanted to respond to with regard to his observations on how do we try to work more cooperatively with other countries of this sort.
I explored the possibility right after the vote, coincidentally, of looking for an opportunity of expanding a cooperative partnership with Zimbabwe and the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but particularly focusing on things like park management, and the response from the folks in Zimbabwe was exceptionally positive and exceptionally high.
It is one of the things I have talked to the Secretary about. I intend to talk to the State Department about it. I see a real opportunity here for us to come out of this conference and to build some new partnerships that have not existed in the past between the United States, the Department of the Interior, and Zimbabwe Ministry of the Environment and Tourism. I think there is a lot that we can do to assist them with their national park program which gets back to Congressman Farr's idea of how do we look for ways of assisting some of these countries in having a sustainable opportunity for encouraging a diverse use of wildlife, including photography and ecotourism and all of those things.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I felt that on balance, even though we ended up having to oppose Zimbabwe and Namibia and Botswana on their elephant proposals, we have an opportunity now to play a constructive role and to work with them cooperatively to see that this new experiment with elephant ivory turns out as best it can under the circumstances.
Finally, in the loss column, I would probably put some of the marine issues. We did not get the marine fisheries working group that we wanted. We did not get sawfish on. We had a working group on law enforcement that was rejected, and we also ended up withdrawing some proposals regarding turtles and rattlesnakes.
On balance, it was sort of a mixed track record with some wins and some losses, but I think that is the one thing that we have come to expect with CITES conferences, that it is a kaleidoscope of changes. You go in with certain positions and you have to sort of read the tea leaves as best you can and position yourself to not only influence the outcome of the decisions even when you are losing, but also then to be in a constructive position to help make things work once the CITES conference had made a decision. I think we have to be respectful of the decisions that are made at CITES.
Actually, the only other remaining observation I will make and then I will stop, if I had to say there is one thing that I really focused on and appreciated in CITES, it is that two-thirds is a tough vote. These decisions are not made by majority vote. It is a two-thirds vote, and I think two-thirds was tough for everybody.
Two-thirds is a very tough vote for Japan and Norway on whaling. Two-thirds was a very tough vote for us on mahogany, and so what it does, it acts as a bit of a buffer, similar to the U.S. Congress with veto overrides and things like this.
It is a tough vote and you have to have a very good position, a very good proposal, and you have to be able to communicate your reasons for wanting to do things. Probably in retrospect, two-thirds is just about the right standard to have, because it makes sure that what you get has a strong enough consensus worldwide to make it very clear that this is what people want to do with wildlife conservation.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I will just stop at this point.
[Statement of Donald Barry may be found at end of hearing.]
[Summary Report on CITES Conference may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. POMBO. Thank you. I would agree with one of your initial assessments that what is important from this conference is not necessarily the scorecard. I think that the United States would be making a huge mistake if we looked at it as wins and losses.
I do think that what is important is what we learned from it, and if we go into the next conference, that will determine how successful this one was, I believe. It is how we go into the next one with what we are doing, and how we deal with the different issues.
I think that is probably a more important determination of how successful the conference is ultimately will be how we deal with what we learned while we were there, and how we deal with the results of the particular votes. I think that is probably a key to it.
One of the things that concerns me is how we deal with the state representatives, and we had a group of fish and game managers, fish and wildlife managers from the different states who were in attendance, and they all obviously have a high degree of expertise in managing wildlife in their particular states in dealing with those problems.
How do you foresee in the future dealing with the states in terms of coming up with positions? I guess I would like to see them more included in how we come up with the decision.
Mr. BARRY. Actually, I am resisting the temptation to read you a letter I coincidentally got from Steve Wilson, who is the president of the international complimenting us on the way that we worked at the conference with the state representatives who were there.
Let me just say that one of the things that we did at the conference was begin a dialog with the international about ways of integrating state involvement in CITES matters much earlier than we have in the past.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Actually, there is a fairly high level of early involvement, many months before the CITES conference takes place with the state fish and wildlife folks, but I am not persuaded personally that we have still perfected the process.
What we would find ourselves doing at the CITES conference is having the type of hurried discussion regarding alternative conservation strategies that the states may adopt or might be willing to consider in order to avoid having to press something to a final vote, and those are the type of discussions that we should have been having months before, and not having had at the CITES conference.
I talked to Steve about this, and the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies is having their next meeting, I think, in September. They had a large number of people at the conference, and I think to the same extent that both of you found it very educational and informative for going to a conference, I think the reaction of the regional representatives from the international was pretty much the same.
What we have agreed to do is at their next meeting in September, try to have sort of a focus discussion and dialog with the international about CITES, about the role that the state fish and wildlife agencies can and should play, and to look for ways of reducing the need on our part to have to offer proposals to list U.S. species. We don't consider that a victory. We consider that if we were at that type of an endpoint that it was somehow a failure on our part.
What we need to do is do a better job working with the states in advance so that we can identify any particular problems and not feel that a CITES listing is the best solution. I think home-grown solutions are the best solutions, and I think that was one of the reasons that we had trouble with some of our proposals. People felt that what we really had was a domestic problem, not an international trade problem, and the proposals that we ended up withdrawing were subject to that criticism, and I think we need to do a better job looking for ways of avoiding those types of critical assessments.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. POMBO. I seemed to get the feeling or the impression while I was there that there really was a shift within the international community to pulling in the community or the country where the species exist into begin a bigger part of the solution. I think at times in the past, we have tended to think that we had to solve that problem for them, and I think that we are beginning to see a shift within the international community that these countries really do have to come up with their own solutions.
In dealing with our states, I think it is kind of the same problem. We need to bring them into being part of the solution, if it is going to work, because they are the ones that have to implement it.
Mr. BARRY. I would agree with you completely on that, and I think one of the hallmarks of Jamie Clark's efforts under the Endangered Species Act, Jamie, yesterday, had her confirmation hearing to be the next director of the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Jamie has taken the lead in looking for ways of working with state fish and wildlife agencies and other state officials to develop proactive conservation agreements as an alternative to having to list endangered or threatened species.
I know Jamie supports this idea very strongly that it is the best solution, that a preventive solution is the best solution, and I think that it is a real opportunity for us to do a much better job in working with the international. We look forward to that.
They are the people on the ground that control what is going on with many of these species, and if we can collectively work together to develop better data bases, to do a better job in tracking what is going on, especially with the captive breeding operations, to have a better sense of whether or not there is still any take from the wild going on. I think all of that will ultimately help us tremendously in having better developed proposals going into CITES.
Mr. POMBO. One of the issues that was on the table and we are beginning to see more of is this whole idea of sustainable use, and I think that what the bottom line is, in this country, we have talked a lot about an incentive-based system, going to an incentive-based system so that if you are habitat for wildlife, it is a positive and not a negative.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We see that in Zimbabwe that they have used trophy hunting as a way of making a value to the wildlife to the local people, therefore, they protect it. That does not necessarily have to be the only value, but there is that whole idea of an incentive-based system.
In the future, do you see the U.S. looking at that more as an alternative and more as a solution to some of the problems internationally that are out there, is to make that a positive versus being a negative?
Mr. BARRY. I think as a general concept, we are very much interested in looking for ways of relying on incentives to promote conservation. That clearly has been the hallmark of what we have been trying to do here in the U.S. with some of the ESA reforms that we have been promoting.
I think we see that there is a potential for application overseas. The one tricky thing is that CITES is somewhat of a limited tool in that it is a convention that focuses on international trade. So your opportunities under CITES are somewhat limited to activities that are involving trade, and that is why with regard to Congressman Farr's question, the things that he was talking about, ecotourism and so on, is really beyond the scope of CITES. It is not that the opportunity isn't there, but it is that we may need to look for alternative ways of promoting it, maybe through a ministry to ministry cooperative agreement of some sort with our National Park Service and their Ministry of Wildlife and Tourism.
I think even under CITES, there are ideas which have evolved over time which look for ways of trying to provide incentives for conservation onsite. The whole ranching proposal, the concept of ranching, for instance, where they will take some species out of the wild, they will raise them in captivity, release a number back to the wild, and help sustain populations in that manner, I think as a general matter, when they have had well developed, thoughtful proposals, have been very effective in restoring populations like the Nile crocodile and others.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The opportunities are there. We are generally supportive of the concept. We recognize that we may not be able to do as much as we might prefer under CITES alone, and ultimately, it may end up being a matter of limited resources that will limit our interest in this area, but it is something that we are very supportive of where we can find the right opportunity.
Mr. POMBO. Thank you. Mr. Miller.
Mr. MILLER. Thank you. Let me ask you if you could be a little bit more expansive where you think we are on mahogany and where you think this is going to go in the future.
There was obviously extended debate and a lot of discussions between countries about this that are involved either as a producer or consumer.
What do you think is going to happen in the future here, given the results of the conference?
Mr. BARRY. My first day back in Washington, DC, I opened up the Washington Post and saw In The Loop sort of the ten or twelve rules of life in Washington, one of which is if you have to answer a question directly, mumble decisively.
Let me mumble decisively on the mahogany question, and the reason I am being somewhat facetious about that, Brooks Yeager was the person on the delegation who spent most of the time handling mahogany for us, and Brooks is out of DC right now, so I am sort of a standby on the mahogany issue for you.
I think mahogany turned out to be a very tough issue virtually for all sides. I heard reports that in Brazil, the position that the government took has not been going down well in some of the press accounts, and that there is a fair amount of internal debate within Brazil as to whether or not the delegation perhaps should not have been as aggressive in opposing our Appendix II listing.
But in terms of where we are today, we have an opportunity now to work with all the range states for mahogany in developing and conducting a study on sustainable utilization of mahogany. There is, I think, a commitment now on the part of Brazil and Bolivia and some of the other major range states to work with us on mahogany conservation.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Brazil agreed to or offered to and has followed through with an Appendix III listing of mahogany. They called on the other major range states to do the same thing.
This is important, because now mahogany coming out of Brazil will need to have a certificate of origin, so we are beginning to develop a data base which will be more helpful for us in assessing the level of trade that is going on.
Some of the other major range states, I think Bolivia also put their mahogany on Appendix III, so I think what they have in mind over the next 18 months, I believe, is the development of a sustainable use study and analysis with the major range states and the importing countries. I think what we have is a window of opportunity between now and the next CITES conference to see if we can make real progress on the whole question of sustainability of trade with mahogany.
If we fail, then this issue will be back at the next conference. I have no doubt about that, but I think we at least came out of it with an opportunity to work with Brazil because Brazil has to be the major source of the solution to this whole issue.
Mr. MILLER. It seems to me to be one of those issues that you sort of touched upon in your remarks, and that is that there is an opportunity, I think, because of the awareness that our proposal brought to the issue that there is really sort of an opportunity to start on a real solution, sort of outside of CITES and maybe avoid engaging CITES next time.
It seems to me there is sort of two issues. There is that one, mahogany, which you sort of get to look ahead and the various countries decide how they want to handle it. Then if you take the downlisting of the elephant, the very decisive action taken at the convention and this, what is it, 20 months or whatever time period for these conditions to be met, the test there is whether or not CITES can take that kind of action and then can you sustain and maintain that action because conditions are in fact being met and protocols are in place to allow that action to work, for lack of a better word.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Those seem to me to be kind of two tests of this convention. One, can you avoid a future clash, because everybody is now on notice, the mahogany and this issue; and two, can you maintain and demonstrate a success in a pretty rough atmosphere in terms of poaching illegal trade and the rest of that?
Where do you see the United States' involvement in the latter in terms of making sure that these conditions weren't just window dressing so you could get a two-thirds vote, but in fact, they really dothat they really are realized so that we can determine whether or not conditions like that in fact even work for some other downlistings that may be proposed?
Mr. BARRY. Let me ask Marshall to talk a little bit about what we think our opportunities are at this point with regard to the elephant vote. We have already had some discussions about what role we can play that would be most constructive, how do we try to best address the issues of concern to us.
Our opposition was primarily based on the concern about poaching in other countries. It was not intended to be a reflection of our assessment of the management proposals from Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia in and of themselves.
Marshall, why don't you address that issue?
Mr. JONES. Thank you, Don. Congressman, the conditions that were adopted obviously are pretty complex, and it is not a sure thing that 18 months from now or 18 months actually from this September, so March 1999 would be the first opportunity for these countries to be able to sell stockpiles to Japan, and then only if the standing committee of CITES, which is now chaired by the United Kingdom, determines that the conditions have been successfully met.
We have had discussions with David Brackett, who was the chairman of the scientific committee there in Harare, but who is sort of continuing to track this issue in his role as chairman of the IUCN Species Survival Commission about what we might do to assist in the process, to help the standing committee make the best decisions, to help establish the kind of monitoring system for poaching and illegal trade that is required by the conditions that were adopted.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We think that the IUCN African elephant specialist group probably has some good ideas about what that could be and so some discussions have gone on with Holly Dublin, who is the chairman of that group. We are about to be in contact with the chairman of the standing committee in the United Kingdom to see how we could match, perhaps, funding that the European Union is willing to provide for a consultant who might oversee this whole process, to help the CITES secretariat make sure that things happen the way they are specified in the resolution, or else the standing committee will have to make the decision that the conditions haven't been met.
Mr. MILLER. What are our expectations of consuming nations, I guess in this particular case, Japan, in terms of their contribution and their responsibility, their driving practices now? In this one instances in the range state, what is the sense of their responsibility in terms of putting in place systems for more control of illegal trade?
Mr. JONES. I think Japan has an enormous responsibility here. The panel of experts' evaluation of Japan's system done prior to the conference showed that their system has weaknesses in it, both in terms of how they deal with worked ivory and how they prevent re-export, which is part of the whole system, to keep it from leaking out of Japan and showing up elsewhere.
I think there is a pretty high burden on Japan to go through the things that were identified in the panel of experts' report, and then to work with the CITES standing committee to show that these things have been improved and that the system is much better than it is today.
Mr. MILLER. I don't pretend to understand all of the subtleties of how you put together a two-thirds vote, but it seems to me that clearly in this case, the one-time sale to Japan was a driving force and much of the discussions and comments on what was taking place at the convention, and not only do I believe they have a very strong responsibility to have in place a fail-safe system, if you will, but I would think from their point of view, it is also a question of whether they can develop a model system, because they are right back at the next CITES convention or the International Whaling Commission dealing with sea turtles and whale meat and a lot of other activities, mahogany, that their consumption is driving much of the considerations of whether or not to downlist this or whatever actions one way or the other, more stringent or less stringent.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This is again an opportunity to see whether or not when CITES takes this kind of action, can we develop those fail-safe protocols against illegal trade, because I don't think it takes a lot of smarts to figure out that if you just kind of do it on the status quo, illegal activity can just swamp legal activity, and by the time you catch your breath and catch up to it, the herds are back at risk, the turtles are at risk, or something else is at risk, because illegal activity moves very quickly.
That is why drug trade is very successful. They are very adaptable and very agile, and they don't respond to a lot of red tape.
Legal activity is very hard to put in place, and monitoring and controlling that, so when you think of the resources that are available from the EU, who was divided in supportingwell, they were confused, but anyway, they are there, and now we are willing to put up some money to talk about poaching and management to make this a successful decision to downlist.
Hopefully, our contributions as one who raised these as our concerns, it wasn't really the management that built the herds; it was now whether or not these protocols were in place, and then the resources of the Japanese is in this case the primary consumer, this ought to be a model of success.
I mean, there is very, very big stakes at this for future decisions by CITES, and I think responsibility has got to be doled out here. It can't just be on the nations that happen to have the resource, because in many instances, they simply don't have the wherewithal to do it.
Mr. BARRY. Congressman, I think we completely agree with that assessment and the question then is what can we do that would be the most helpful for the long term conservation of the elephant.
As you know, Congress, I think in 1989, passed the African Elephant Conservation Act. There is a small grant program under that Act. Marshall is the person who sort of is in charge of that small grant program, and one of the questions that we are assessing right now is to what extent we can help target some of the grant money under the African Elephant Conservation Act grant program in support of some of these activities.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I personally was surprised to learn that in recent years, there has been no comprehensive data base that has been maintained on poaching, for instance. We were all sort of grappling and sort of stumbling looking for answers that didn't exist on recent levels of poaching across Africa.
That is useful information. That is very important information, and it is one of the things that was recognized in the resolution, that we need to work with the range states to assist them in the development of a comprehensive data base on both trade, on poaching, on all those issues, and that probably is a good place for us to look to providing financial support in response to the resolutions that were adopted.
Mr. MILLER. I appreciate that response, and obviously, I think if we can help either in bilateral discussions with the Japanese or with the EU, we would be more than willing, I think, to do that.
I think this really is an opportunity, and I think we are in somewhat of a unique position because of the way in the end we frame the issue, in the sense of how your delegation dealt with this in the sense that it wasn't a slam at these three nations, that it really strained to rebuild these populations, but it was a very legitimate concern about whether the rest of the world in a sense was in a position to accept this trade, should it take place. I think to pursue that line could reap rather substantial rewards in terms of future considerations at CITES, whether or not people have confidence if other decisions are going to be made in the years down the road here.
Mr. BARRY. I think also, there is just an overall sense of wanting to look likeheading into the conference, there was a lot of chatter back and forth about well, the United States is going to break arms and rip off kneecaps if they don't get what they want.
I think our overall standing in the conference and our standing and our ability to be constructive at CITES is directly related to the way that people not only watch our behavior going into CITES, but also our behavior coming out of a CITES meeting, and we need to show that we can be respectful of the decisions that have been made. We try to be constructive wherever we can be, and I think we have an obligation to be as supportive of elephant conservation as we can be, and we will look for ways of working with the decision that was made to be helpful where we can be with an eye toward elephant conservation ultimately, and to help all the countries have better information so they can make these decisions more easily.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That was the real problem. Most of us were sort of grappling, trying to figure out really what the consequences would be, and we don't really know.
I think to the extent that we can all help together to get better information, to assist the range states in their efforts, it would be a real tragedy if we failed.
Mr. MILLER. Thank you, and again, thank you and your entire operation for your representation of our positions and our country.
Mr BARRY. Thank you.
Mr. MILLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. POMBO. I guess just to followup on what George was just asking, one of the concerns that I had about the way everything was working was immediately, they went into the secret ballots, and I picked up that that was because they were afraid there was going to be retribution if everybody knew how they voted.
Can you give me your assessment on that as well as your opinion of how that impacted the outcome?
Mr. BARRY. Secret ballots have always been a very controversial issue at CITES conferences in the past, and at the last conference in Fort Lauderdale, new rules of procedure were adopted which made it exceptionally easy to get a secret ballot, even though the expectation was that it would only be used in very unusual, rare circumstances.
This conference had the highest number of secret ballot votes ever. The United States is not a big fan of secret ballots. We, as I mentioned at the hearing 6 weeks ago or so, always act in a very transparent way. We always announce what our vote was, even in a secret ballot, so we are not fans of it and we will never ask for a secret ballot.
It is always interesting, too, to sort of try to assess how it works or how it actually plays out. I think there have been some real surprises in some past secret ballots where the assumption was that a secret ballot would help the proponent, and I think ultimately, it actually went in the other direction.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My overall assessment is that secret ballots can generally be a real toss ball. It can boomerang, it can backfire, it can produce some real surprises.
I think as a tool, it is overrated. I think the operating assumption that you need to somehow protect yourself in order to be free from retribution, I can understand perhaps maybe why there is that impression, but for the life of me, I can't see how it actually would work in practice. It is beyond my personal belief that we would ever come back from a CITES conference and say, well, these three countries voted against us, so by God, we are going to just rip off their aid programs or something like that.
That is the fear that people have. It is not the way the United States is ever going to conduct itself, I would hope, certainly not during our watch.
Mr. POMBO. I would hope that doesn't happen.
Mr. BARRY. I would hope that the secret ballot process has sort of seen its high watermark and we go back to having these types of honest debates as a group and not be afraid of them taking positions and assuming that people can't live with it.
Mr. POMBO. One of the things you mentioned was the responsibility that the U.S. has to be part of the implementing of a lot of these different decisions.
One of the things I noticed was that the EU was or has rewritten their rules regarding the importation of elephant products. Is the United States looking at that now? Should we expect a proposal coming from the Administration on that or how are you going to deal with that?
Mr. BARRY. Let me ask Marshall to describe what the status quo will be once the downlistings go into effect in September. Marshall.
Mr. JONES. Congressman, we have imports of elephant products regulated right now under an Endangered Species Act 4[d] rule; elephants are listed as a threatened species, so there is a special rule.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That rule regulates ivory very strictly. It regulates trophies in sort of an immediate way. Other elephant parts and products such as leather or hides just yields to CITES. Whatever is required to satisfy CITES is enough to satisfy that.
The effect will be that as a result of the decision, elephant hides which now can be legally commercialized out of Zimbabwe, those hides can come into the United States, all they need is the right export permit from Zimbabwe; they would be available to enter into whatever commercial uses anybody wants to put them to in this country.
Mr. POMBO. Let me stop you right there. As long as they have the export permit, in other words, as long as they came from some legal source within one of those three countries
Mr. JONES. Just Zimbabwe.
Mr. POMBO. Just Zimbabwe.
Mr. JONES. The other two countries didn't ask for and didn't get a downlisting of hides, so the hides only come from Zimbabwe.
Mr. POMBO. So as long as they have the export permit from Zimbabwe showing that it came from a legal source, then that would be something that could be imported into this country?
Mr. JONES. Yes, sir.
Mr. BARRY. If I could just add one thing. I think Congress in 1989 when they passed the African Elephant Conservation Act focused logically on the one product that was resulting in the slaughter of elephants throughout all of Africa, and that was ivory.
Our regulations basically reflect that focus and the assumption that if elephants are going to disappear on this planet, it will be because of ivory, not because people wanted to go into the hide poaching business.
I think what you have then is a regulatory program that reflects Congress' view in 1989 as to what the real threats were. That is what we have regulated most significantly, and it was President George Bush who made the decision to shut down the flow of ivory into the United States, so ivory has always been the battleground regarding trade in elephant products.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. POMBO. Dealing with the sturgeon, I have had a lot of people that were concerned about this and discussed this issue with me.
I was wondering, have you had any discussions with the industry, the domestic industry, since you returned?
Mr. BARRY. I have not yet, but we have already had a followup meeting or at least a post-CITES conference meeting at the Interior Department with the Fish and Wildlife Service folks. It was just a couple of days ago that I met with them.
As it turned out, when you have a meeting on this issue, you don't get one or two people. I walked into the room and it was sort of overwhelming, about 20 people from so many different parts of the Fish and Wildlife Service, I lost count, but we have already begun a discussion of this matter.
I have asked the Fish and Wildlife Service to put together some background papers for me describing the current process to begin to sort of line out what ideas there may be for trying to streamline some things.
We have some time. The sturgeon proposal doesn't kick into effect for a full year, and I think we ought to take full advantage of that year.
One of the things we clearly need to do is to be able to have a better sense of who the players are within the aquaculture sturgeon industry. We would look forward to any assistance that you might be able to provide us in that regard. We are very much interested in making this as user-friendly and painless a process as we can, and we have begun that process inside the department.
Mr. POMBO. I would be very interested in being kept up to date on that and being part of that.
As you know, I do have an aquaculture industry within California, within my district, that is very concerned about what the ultimate outcome of that would be.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Another issue I did want to touch on with you is that as part of this system that Zimbabwe has in place, the trophy hunting does play a major role in that, and one of the things that I noticed when I was over there was that the areas that were established for hunting were relatively low impact on the surrounding area, whereas the areas that were set up for ecotourism, the photographic safaris were much more elaborate and require considerably more money to set those up. I think that that does play on the impact of what decisions they are going to make.
As we start looking at how we are going to implement this and what we are going to do to be cooperative and helpful in terms of this final decision on the elephants or the current decision on the elephants, I know one of the things that has been suggested is that we try to put more effort into one side versus the other and that we get into that entire debate.
At some point in the future after you guys have a chance to really sit down and look at this, I would like to get some ideas from you as to what you are going to do, I guess more on the ground in terms of helping in some of these situations.
Mr. BARRY. I don't want to drive too far beyond my headlights here. There are two different ways that I can see the U.S. continuing to be helpful. I think clearly it is the ultimate decision of the host country, Zimbabwe, Namibia, as to what they really want to do with their own resources on the ground, so we can only provide some opportunities and then see if there is any interest and see what type of partnerships you can develop.
AID provides a significant amount of aid and resource money to Zimbabwe and Namibia right now, so it is really more of a matter for AID to sort of decide what opportunities may be present in working with the host country for some of these opportunities.
In the case of what the Department of the Interior might be able to do, I spent some time with a number of Canadians. Canada has had a very active assistance program in Zimbabwe for many years. Right now, they are just finishing up, I think it is the fifth year of a 6-year assistance program with the Ministry of the Environment and Tourism in Zimbabwe, and one of the things that the Canadians were focusing on in particular was to assist Zimbabwe in developing a planning process, land management planning process for their park system and so on.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That was one of the areas that we were encouraged to sort of step in and help out, and as the Canadians are phasing out, maybe we could help phase in with assistance with some of our park planning expertise.
It was interesting. One night, I was introduced to a gentleman from Zimbabwe from the Parks and Wildlife Department, and he had just come back from our North Cascades National Park, and he was very excited about everything that he had experienced and learned working with our National Park Service folks in North Cascades.
He is now in charge of planning for the Department of Parks and Wildlife for Zimbabwe, and that was one of the things that first got me thinking about the opportunities that we have.
We take for granted so easily what we have in this country and how it doesn't take much at all to really have a positive impact and to provide really low-budget assistance to other people. This person's experience was highly positive, and he was delighted at what he had learned, and it just reminded me that there are some real opportunities out there to pick up on what other people have done, like the Canadians, to look for ways of being helpful, to provide some of the assistance that we just take for granted, things that we do that we just take for granted in this country which could be very useful and very helpful if it fits within Zimbabwe or Namibia's overall land use management programs.
Mr. POMBO. I have a number of questions that I will submit to you in writing, and if you would answer those in a timely manner, I would greatly appreciate it, because there are some that deal with different concerns that people have.
The final question that I would like to put to you and I imagine that you may probably have to answer this for the record, is that in our debate of reauthorizing the Endangered Species Act, one of the issues that we have dealt with is the handling of international species.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I really would appreciate having some feedback from the department as to how we deal with some of the problems that we currently have with the language dealing with international species, how we handle that, I guess in a different manner that more accurately represents what is going on right now in the world.
I think that there are some changes that need to be made. I would be happy to share with you some of the ideas that we came up with in the past couple years, but I would like to get a response from you as to how you think we could change this to deal with some of the problems that we have in listing international species on our endangered species list and what problems that causes.
Mr. BARRY. I will be honest about it and lay my cards on the table. I think the Endangered Species Act has played an important role, at least in influencing the U.S. market for some endangered species products. I think the days of Hollywood movie stars wanting to buy tigerskin coats are over, and I think they probably should be over.
I do think that we have to be honest enough to recognize the limitations on what we can accomplish overseas in promoting conservation overseas, given the fact that it is not our wildlife, it is not our countryside. I think what that requires us to do is to conduct an honest appraisal of how we can help provide the best incentives for forcing species conservation.
I think it is an honest appraisal we need to conduct. Is there ways that we can do things better in encouraging conservation overseas, I think we need to be willing to consider that.
I do think, though, that having an Endangered Species Act which under CITES would be viewed as a stricter domestic measure is the correct thing for us to do. I think we would be strongly opposed to diminishing the role of the Endangered Species Act in dealing with foreign species as a general matter, but I think we need to be honest enough to ask the question repeatedly, are we really accomplishing conservation or is there a way that we can be more effective.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think if people can point out ways that we can be more effective under a strong Endangered Species Act internationally, we would consider it in a heartbeat. I think there is real room for dialog here, and I would look forward to it.
Mr. POMBO. Thank you. I appreciate a great deal your coming in for the hearing. I appreciate your bringing your staff and cohorts with you this morning, even though we didn't make them answer any questions. I was trying to be nice, and contrary to what many people believe, both George and I did come back, and neither one of us took care of each other while we were over there.
I know there was a lot of concern about that, but I think that for me at least personally it was a very enlightening experience. I learned a lot going over there, and I look forward to working with all of you in the future. Thank you very much. The hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 11:28 a.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]
[Additional material submitted for the record follows.]
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