CITES Non-detriment Findings for Perennial Plants
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Making NDFs for Perennial Plants: A Nine-step Process

CITES Non-detriment Findings for Perennial Plants

Non-Detriment Findings in the CITES Context

Ensuring trade is within sustainable limits is at the core of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). According to the Convention, Parties shall allow trade in specimens of species included in Appendix II only if the Scientific Authority of the State of export has advised that “such export will not be detrimental to the survival of that species" (Article IV).

Further, a Scientific Authority in each Party shall monitor both the export permits granted by that State for specimens of species included in Appendix II and the actual exports of such specimens. Whenever a Scientific Authority determines that the export of specimens of any such species should be limited in order to maintain that species throughout its range at a level consistent with its role in the ecosystems in which it occurs and well above the level at which that species might become eligible for inclusion in Appendix I, the Scientific Authority shall advice the appropriate Management Authority of suitable measures to be taken to limit the grant of export permits for specimens of that species (Article IV).

Collectively these requirements are referred to as ‘non-detriment findings’ (NDFs). How NDFs are made for Appendix II species is the responsibility of the Scientific Authority of each exporting Party. The Conference of the Parties (CoP) has decided not to adopt specific technical criteria for how NDFs are undertaken, instead the CoP adopted non-binding general guidelines on making NDFs, outlined in Resolution Conf. 16.7 on Non-detriment findings1.

Why Is Guidance for Non-Detriment Findings Needed?

Considerable efforts have been made by some Parties, IGOs, and the Secretariat over the years to develop general and taxon-specific guidance for making NDFs; in particular significant advances have been achieved for plant taxa.
Key milestones include:

The Guidance on CITES NDFs for Perennial Plants presented here in Version 3.0 is an output of the projects “Development of Training Modules for CITES Non-Detriment Findings (NDF) for Plants” and “Training Workshops zur Bestimmung nachhaltiger Quoten für CITES-Pflanzenarten”, both executed by TRAFFIC International on behalf of WWF Germany, with financial support from the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN). These projects aimed to improve the guidance and training tools available to assist Scientific Authorities in making NDFs for perennial plants, based on existing work and significant recent advances in approach.

Additional outputs of this project, complementary to this Guidance document, include:

This Guidance, designed to build on previous milestones, describes a nine-step process enabling Scientific Authorities to make NDFs that are science-based, using information with data quality appropriate to the severity of conservation concerns, intrinsic biological risks, harvest impacts, and trade impacts identified for the species concerned.

Much of the content of this Guidance is based on the working group reports and case studies resulting from the “International Expert Workshop on CITES Non-Detriment Findings”, Cancun, Mexico, in November 2008. A first draft of this Guidance, and many useful contributions to its content, resulted from a small “Expert meeting on development of guidance and training for CITES non-detriment findings (NDF) for plants” in Mexico City, Mexico, in February 2012. A second draft was tested in an NDF training workshop in Hanoi, Viet Nam, in October 2012. Version 1.06 was thereafter published as BfN-Skripten 358 in 2014. Version 1.0 was subsequently applied in an NDF-training workshop in November 2014 in Lima, Peru, with the attendance of six states of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO). The lessons learned in Peru led to Version 2.0, which was not published but used at workshops in June 2015 in Tbilisi, Georgia, and Shenzhen, China, in December 2015. This version, Version 3.0, has been revised on the basis of lessons drawn from the Georgia and China workshops and on feedback from other experts. Adrianne Sinclair carried out detailed reviews and provided in depth comments benefitting from the experience of the CITES Scientific Authority team in Canada, namely Gina Schalk and Lorna Brownlee.

Further revisions may be made to the current version of the nine-step process based on outcomes from implementation and comments from Parties, as this guide is for Parties to use and adapt to suit their own needs.

Using this NDF Guidance

This Guidance suggests nine steps that a Scientific Authority can take to make a science-based NDF. The overall process is shown in Figure 1.

Each of the Guidance steps is comprised of the following components:

This Guidance is not intended to automatically generate the NDF-decision of a Scientific Authority, rather is it a tool to assist in making a well-informed decision. Anyone using the framework must use their own judgement; they may not agree with the level of risk the Guidance points to and are likely to have better insight than a generic tool. Assessing the risks is intended to guide someone to the level of detail and confidence that they have in the management that ensures the harvest and trade is going to be non-detrimental. The Guidance helps structure the relevant aspects and information to facilitate an individual conclusion on detriment.

This Guidance and the associated Consolidated Worksheets can be used in various ways, including:

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