Wider Caribbean Region Hawksbill Turtle Dialogue Meeting
Mexico City, 15-17 May, 2001
A first meeting of the Wider Caribbean Hawksbill Turtle Range State Dialogue was convened on 15-17 May 2001 in Mexico City. This meeting was attended by 35 range States and Territories (see Annex) and focused on issues relating to conservation and trade in hawksbill turtles in the Wider Caribbean region. At the 10th and 11th meetings of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, consensus could not be reached on proposals to transfer a national population of hawksbill turtles to Appendix II of CITES and to resume limited international trade. The meeting was convened in response to a consensus amongst the range States to provide an opportunity to make progress towards strengthening dialogue and co-operation in the region on issues of common concern. Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the World Wildlife Fund provided the necessary finances. IUCN - The World Conservation Union and the CITES Secretariat served as facilitators for this meeting. Lic. Diana Ponce Nava of Mexico, served as chairperson of the meeting, assisted by vice chairpersons from Belize and Venezuela.
The meeting reviewed the conservation status of hawksbill turtles, the biological aspects of hawksbill populations, status of trade in hawksbill turtle products, multilateral agreements for conservation of hawksbill turtles and the role of ranching and captive breeding. Countries reported on national legislation, recovery plans, conservation programmes and problems encountered.
The meeting agreed that:
- Critical knowledge gaps should be identified and standardised monitoring protocols developed for key parameters to monitor population trends and status.
- Monitoring of harvest and trade (legal and illegal, domestic and international) and their impacts on hawksbill populations should be improved in the wider Caribbean region taking into consideration a prohibition on international trade but widespread illegal and legal domestic consumption and trade.
- Different hawksbill turtle management policies in the wider Caribbean should be reviewed to assess their conservation impacts and relative benefits for hawksbill turtle populations.
- An effective hawksbill turtle conservation strategy and management plans be established at regional level taking into account the full range of national conservation objectives and development needs in the wider Caribbean.
A draft Resolution will be proposed for adoption at the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES in 2002, to facilitate government commitment to implement these conservation management recommendations.
The range States recognised that considerable and commendable progress had been achieved in resolving issues of common interest during this meeting. Appreciation was expressed for the cordial and friendly atmosphere maintained throughout this Dialogue meeting that should provide a strong basis for further deliberation and cooperation at future Dialogues.
Delegates concluded the meeting by thanking the convenors, the donors and the Government of Mexico for the facilities and support, which contributed to the success of the meeting. Delegates also expressed their appreciation to France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States for facilitating the attendance of their dependent territories at the Dialogue.
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