Initially scheduled to take place in May 2019 in Colombo (Sri Lanka), the 18th conference of parties to CITES (CoP18) was finally held in Geneva from 16 to 28 August 2019. Member States adopted four decisions in line with requests that have been backed for a long time by organisations representing the music sector.
1. Musical instruments exempted from the CITES certificate in respect of dalbergiae
The joint proposal of Canada and the EU with regard to Annotation 15 on dalbergiae, which made provision for exemption from the CITES certificate for finished musical instruments, finished parts and musical instrument accessories, was adopted by consensus without modification. Member states admitted that this exemption would not have any measurable impact on the preservation of dalbergiae and considerably eased the administrative management of certificates and control procedures. Nevertheless, the CITES Secretariat is to undertake a study on the impact of Annotation 15 concerning musical instruments, with a view to the possible adoption of an amendment during CoP19. Discussions on this point will continue over the next three years.
2. Musical instruments exempted from the CITES certificate in respect of cedrela
Following a proposal by Ecuador adopted by the CoP, a CITES permit in respect of cedrela will now only be required for raw timber or veneer wood. The presence of cedrela in a musical instrument no longer requires a CITES certificate.
the international transport of musical instruments does not cause any measurable risk on the preservation of endangered species
3. No CITES protection for mammoth ivory
Israel and Kenya, who wanted protection to be introduced for mammoth ivory, withdrew their proposal after the Secretariat pointed out that CITES was not competent where extinct species were concerned. Nevertheless, the Secretariat has been tasked with studying the impact that mammoth ivory trade might have on the elephant ivory trade. Depending on the results of this work, the Standing Committee may decide to submit a proposal for CoP19.
4. Simplification of procedures
CoP18 adopted a resolution encouraging Member States to simplify the issuing of a CITES permit when the impact of the preservation of species in question is negligible. This resolution follows a US and EU proposal aimed at the international transport of musical instruments for non-commercial purposes. A proposal may be put to CoP19 to ease administrative obligations where the issuing of Certificates for musical instruments is concerned.
These satisfactory results can be explained by the fact that awareness of Member States has been raised concerning the international transport of musical instruments which does not cause any measurable risk on the preservation of endangered species. They are the result of coordinated and long-term work carried out by organisations representing the music sector: musicians’ unions, organisations of permanent ensembles and instrument makers. We shall be continuing our efforts, including for the CoP19 (in 2022), in order to achieve sustainable solutions that offer all the necessary guarantees.
FIM and its partners will soon be making an updated version of the CITES practical guide available reflecting the decisions taken at CoP18.