Brazilian support for strengthening implementation of CITES
|(From left to right) Mr John E. Scanlon, CITES Secretary-General, Minister Izabella Teixeira, Ministry of Environment, Justice Antonio Herman Benjamin, High Court of Brazil
Brasilia/São Paulo (Brazil), 1 June 2011 – CITES Secretary-General John Scanlon travelled to Brasilia and São Paulo to discuss Brazil’s support for strengthening the effective implementation of CITES. Topics included south-south cooperation; electronic permitting systems; capacity-building; compliance and enforcement; the legal, sustainable and traceable trade in specimens of CITES-listed species; and the relationship with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and other biodiversity-related conventions.
Meetings were held with Minister Izabella Teixeira, Minister of Environment, Justice Antonio Herman Benjamin, High Court of Brazil, Federal Senator Rodrigo Rollemberg, Minister Paulino Franco de Carvalho Neto, Head of the the CITES Management Authority for Brazil, Mr Fernando Marques, Vice-President of the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), Mr Rômulo José Fernandes Barreto Mello, President of the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), Antônio Carlos Hummel, Director General of the Brazilian Forest Service, Ambassador Alejandro Gordillo, Secretary-General of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO), Mr Fernando Grella Vieira, Attorney General State of São Paulo, and many other senior officials from Brazilian ministries. Side meetings were also held with non-governmental organizations.
High on the agenda was the Brazilian offer to make its e-permitting system available to countries in the region, and possibly more widely. Brazil has an advanced e-permitting system that may be adapted to meet the unique needs of other CITES Parties, especially those in developing regions. This was seen as a practical and productive way of promoting South-South cooperation in new information technologies, the first concrete example of which will be at a meeting of member countries of ACTO where Brazil will demonstrate and make available its e-permitting technology. Discussions also touched on capacity building for undertaking sound science under CITES (through the making of non-detriment findings) within the context of the new Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
Discussions also centred on the use of CITES as a regulatory mechanism to ensure legal and sustainable trade, particularly with regard to timber and other forest products in this International Year of Forests. Other topics raised included efforts to strengthen the relationship between the CITES Secretariat and Brazilian authorities, in particular through the work of environmental prosecutors from the ministry of the State of São Paulo, which is Brazil’s largest state public ministry with responsibility over the prevention of environmental crimes and enforcement of environmental legislation.
The Secretary-General met with officials from IBAMA who informed him of efforts by Brazil to conserve its biodiversity through the development and implementation of national action plans. Mr. Scanlon highlighted the unique role Brazil has in the Convention as the most biodiversity-rich country in the world.
Officials from the CITES Management and Scientific Authorities organized a workshop at the Ministry of the Environment to present Brazilian use of new technologies to ensure legal and traceable trade, such as the “System for Forest Product Monitoring and Control” and the “System for the Issuance of CITES Permits”. The challenges and opportunities Brazil faces today regarding conservation and sustainable use of its forests made these presentations of special relevance. ACTO's efforts to enhance implementation of CITES in the region and to assist with the implementation of CITES e-permitting systems were highlighted.
In side meetings during his trip, at the invitation of Justice Antonio Herman Benjamin, Mr Scanlon met with Senator Rodrigo Rollemberg to speak of the achievements of CITES and discuss ways of improving communication with elected officials on the work of the Convention.
This trip coincided with the organization of the 15th International Congress on Environmental Legislation which was held in São Paulo and where Mr Scanlon was invited by Justice Antonio Herman Benjamin to deliver an address on CITES and the biodiversity conventions. He gave a general introduction to the legal instruments of the Convention, focusing on compliance and enforcement, and the cooperation between the six biodiversity-related conventions, in particular through the Biodiversity Liaison Group, and their collective efforts with respect to the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs).
During his stay in São Paulo, Mr Scanlon took the opportunity to meet with Attorney General Fernando Grella Vieira, to discuss efforts to combat environmental crime, prosecute offenders and promote compliance with CITES, and promote collaboration between the Office of the Attorney-General and the CITES Secretariat to advance compliance with and enforcement of the Convention. The Attorney General’s office is the largest in Brazil and has a dedicated body of prosecutors with extensive and unique knowledge on the prevention of environmental crimes and law enforcement.