CITES dialogue meetings
What are CITES dialogue meetings?
Dialogue meetings are consultative meetings between range States of a certain species or group of species, with the aim of seeking consensus in relation to a proposal that has been submitted to amend the CITES Appendices when there are strong divisions between those States.
These meetings provide the opportunity for the representatives of States to express their concerns, to share information, to exchange views frankly and freely, without the pressures that exist on delegations during meetings of the Conference of the Parties, and to seek ways forward. The results of a dialogue meeting may therefore include, amongst other things, agreement on a position regarding a proposal submitted for amendment of the Appendices or a draft decision or draft resolution for consideration by the Conference of the Parties.
An important benefit of dialogue meetings is that they help to reduce the pressure of time that is felt during the meetings of the Conference of the Parties. They do this by bringing together the Parties that are primarily responsible for the conservation of a species (or group of species) subject to a proposal, and that therefore have the greatest interest in its protection, thus helping to ensure that the main problems and possible solutions are identified before the proposal is presented to the Conference of the Parties.
Who may call a CITES dialogue meeting?
A dialogue meeting may be called for either by the Conference of the Parties or by the Standing Committee.
If, following the discussion of a proposal to amend the Appendices, the Conference of the Parties believes that there is a significant division between range States of the species, it may instruct the Secretariat that, if it receives a further amendment proposal relating to the same species, it should organize a dialogue meeting of the range States. In this case, the Conference of the Parties should preferably allocate funds for such a meeting. Otherwise, the holding of such a meeting will be subject to the availability of external funding.
If a Party intends to submit a proposal to amend the Appendices and, as a result of seeking the comments of the other range States, becomes aware that there is a significant division between them, it may ask the Standing Committee to instruct the Secretariat to organize a dialogue meeting, subject to the availability of external funding.
When the Conference of the Parties or the Standing Committee calls a CITES dialogue meeting for a species, they should consider whether it is necessary for the range States of related species to be invited as observers.
Organization of dialogue meetings
CITES dialogue meetings are convened and organized by the CITES Secretariat on behalf of the Parties.
When the Conference of the Parties or the Standing Committee has instructed the Secretariat to organize a dialogue meeting, it will seek a host country for the meeting from among the range States, and if there is more than one offer, select a host country in consultation with the Chairman of the Standing Committee and, where applicable, the relevant regional representatives in the Committee. The host country is usually expected to cover the cost of rental of the meeting rooms and refreshments for the participants and to work with the Secretariat in the organization of the meeting.
The Secretariat will seek sufficient funds to cover the attendance of at least one representative of each Party range State of the species concerned coming from developing countries or countries with economies in transition.
Dialogue meetings should, as far as possible, take place well in advance of meetings of the Conference of the Parties so that the outcomes may be used by the Parties when considering their positions in preparation for such meetings. However, sometimes, for reasons of financial constraints, it is necessary to hold a dialogue meeting immediately before a meeting of the Conference of the Parties. In such cases, the Host Country of the meeting of the Conference is not expected to serve as the host for the dialogue meeting.
The Secretariat is responsible for inviting the range States to send representatives to a dialogue meeting.
The provisional agenda for each dialogue meeting should be prepared at least 60 days in advance by the Chairman of the Standing Committee with the assistance of the Secretariat, following consultation with the range States of the species concerned. The Secretariat is responsible for distributing the provisional agenda to all range States at least 45 days before the meeting.
Rules of Procedure
The Standing Committee adopted Rules of Procedure for dialogue meetings at its 53rd meeting (Geneva, June – July 2005).
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