CITES | CoP17 hears the requests of the music community

Alfonso Pollard & Thomas Dayan attending CITES CoP17

Known by its acronym CITES, the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of animals and wild plants does not jeopardise the survival of the species in question.

The 17th conference of parties to CITES (CoP17) was held in Johannesburg from 24 September to 5 October 2016, to adopt the orientations seen as necessary to ensure efficient implementation of the convention’s aims. Over 2,500 people representing party states and NGOs in the private sector and associations met for the occasion in South Africa’s economic capital.

FIM and the AFM (the FIM member for US and Canada) were represented at the convention with other American organisations (League of American Orchestras, American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers), with the mutual aim of convincing member states to adapt the convention to take the needs of the music sector better into account.

The regime which has been applicable up to now imposes extremely strict border controls for musical instruments containing substances protected by CITES, which gives rise to lengthy delays and can lead to confiscation or even destruction of the instrument concerned by customs staff.

The regime which has been applicable up to now imposes extremely strict border controls for musical instruments containing substances protected by CITES

FIM, the AFM and other American and European organisations representing the music sector issued a statement before the opening of CoP17 calling on party states to support the European Union proposal aimed at facilitating the transportation of musical instruments during international trips. A satisfactory compromise was finally adopted (Doc. 42), which FIM, PEARLE*, EILA and AEC hailed in a joint statement.

Arrangements adopted include in particular an extension of the Musical Instrument Certificate (MIC) to cover instruments of which the musician is not the owner (loan or hire). It is also stipulated that a concert, whether free or for which a charge is made, must be considered as a non-commercial trip. In addition, it is recommended that the MIC be considered as a sort of passport for the instrument concerned when this is transported internationally for non-commercial reasons.

FIM would like to underline the efficiency of lobbying which the AFM and other American organisations carried out towards USFWS representatives to convince the US government to adapt its position to the needs of the music sector.

Photo: Alfonso Pollard (AFM) and Thomas Dayan (FIM)

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