Second CITES Wider Caribbean Region Hawksbill Turtle Dialogue Meeting
21-23 May 2002
A second meeting of the Wider Caribbean Hawksbill Turtle Range State Dialogue was convened from 21 to 23 May 2002 in Cayman Islands, United Kingdom. This meeting was attended by 29 States and Territories (see Annex) and continued discussions on issues relating to the conservation of and trade in hawksbill turtles in the wider Caribbean region that began one year earlier in Mexico City. The European Commission, Japan, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, United States of America and World Wildlife Fund US provided the necessary finances. The CITES Secretariat, with the assistance of IUCN – The World Conservation Union, served as facilitators for this meeting. The Hon. W. McKeeva Bush opened the meeting and Mr Charles Clifford and Ms Gina Ebanks-Petrie served as chairmen.
The meeting was convened to allow participants to review progress towards the development and implementation of an effective hawksbill turtle conservation strategy at a regional level, taking into account the full range of national conservation objectives and development needs in the wider Caribbean.
Discussions focused on the main elements of a regional conservation strategy. A draft resolution was prepared for submission to the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, outlining the principle elements of such a strategy, including:
- promoting the recovery of depleted populations and maintaining stable, recovered populations of hawksbill turtles in the region;
- promoting and strengthening existing measures, such as national programmes and those under the Caribbean Environment Programme;
- monitoring and reducing illegal harvest and trade;
- ensuring sufficient resources for implementation of the strategy, including capacity building;
- improving communication and information sharing in the region, including public awareness;
- improving research and monitoring; and
- ensuring active participation of all countries in the region.
Working groups also discussed issues related to development of standardised monitoring protocols for population trends and for legal and illegal use of and trade in specimens of the species.
In addition, some participants provided comments to, and obtained clarification from, the representatives of the Government of Cuba regarding a draft proposal* concerning a one off export of accumulated tortoiseshell stocks, which might be submitted to the upcoming CITES meeting.
Delegates furthermore highlighted the importance of improved communication and sharing of information to ensure improved collaboration and commitment to the conservation of the species in the region. They expressed their appreciation for the benefits of the Dialogue and agreed that future meetings would be important to maintain the commitment to and understanding of issues related to hawksbill conservation in the region.
Delegates concluded the meeting by thanking the convenors, the donors and the Government of the Cayman Islands for the facilities and support, which contributed to the success of the meeting. Delegates also expressed their appreciation to the Netherlands and the United Kingdom for facilitating the attendance of their overseas territories at the Dialogue.
* Transfer from appendix I to Appendix II, with an explanatory note, of the population of hawksbill turtle present in Cuban waters for the purpose of allowing the export of legal shell stocks accumulated from Cuban national management programme between 1993 and 2002 (up to 7,900 k).
Participating countries and territories
- British Virgin Islands
- Cayman Islands
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- Netherlands Antilles
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
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