[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 215 (Monday, November 7, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 68778-68780]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-28735]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R9-IA-2011-0087; 96300-1671-0000 FY12-R4]


Request for Information and Recommendations on Resolutions, 
Decisions, and Agenda Items for Consideration at the Sixteenth Regular 
Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on 
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: To implement the Convention on International Trade in 
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES or the Convention), 
the Parties to the Convention meet periodically to review what species 
in international trade should be regulated and other aspects of the 
implementation of CITES. The sixteenth regular meeting of the 
Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP16) is tentatively scheduled to 
be held in March 2013 in Thailand. This is our second in a series of 
Federal Register notices that, together with an announced public 
meeting, provide you with an opportunity to participate in the 
development of the U.S. negotiating positions for CoP16. We published 
our first CoP16-related Federal Register notice on June 14, 2011, in 
which we requested information and recommendations on species proposals 
for the United States to consider submitting for consideration at 
CoP16. Further input from the public on species proposals will be 
sought in a future notice. With this notice we are soliciting and 
invite you to provide us with information and recommendations on 
resolutions, decisions, and agenda items that the United States might 
consider submitting for discussion at CoP16. In addition, with this 
notice we provide preliminary information on how to request approved 
observer status for nongovernmental organizations that wish to attend 
the meeting.

DATES: We will consider all information and comments we receive on or 
before January 6, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments pertaining to recommendations for 
resolutions, decisions, and agenda items for discussion at CoP16 by one 
of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS-R9-
IA-2011-0087.
     U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, 
Attn: FWS-R9-IA-2011-0087; Division of Policy and Directives 
Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 
2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
    We will not consider comments sent by email or fax or to an address 
not listed in the ADDRESSES section. We will post all comments on 
http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any 
personal information you provide us. If you submit a comment via http://www.regulations.gov, your entire comment--including any personal 
identifying information--will be posted on the Web site. If you submit 
a hardcopy comment that includes personal identifying information, you 
may request at the top of your document that we withhold this 
information from public review. However, we cannot guarantee that we 
will be able to do so. We will post all hardcopy comments on http://www.regulations.gov.
    Comments and materials we receive in response to this notice will 
be available for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, or by 
appointment, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except 
Federal holidays, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of 
Management Authority, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Room 212, Arlington, VA 
22203; telephone (703) 358-1908.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information pertaining to 
resolutions, decisions, and agenda items contact: Robert R. Gabel, 
Chief, Division of Management Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Room 212, Arlington, VA 22203; 
telephone (703) 358-2095; facsimile (703) 358-2298. If you use a 
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at (800) 877-8339. For information 
pertaining to species proposals contact: Rosemarie Gnam, Chief, 
Division of Scientific Authority, phone (703) 358-1708, fax (703) 358-
2276, email: scientificauthority@fws.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild 
Fauna and Flora, hereinafter referred to as CITES or the Convention, is 
an international treaty designed to regulate international trade in 
certain animal and plant species that are now, or potentially may 
become, threatened with extinction. These species are listed in the 
Appendices to CITES, which are available on the CITES Secretariat's Web 
site at http://www.cites.org/eng/app/index.shtml.
    Currently, 175 countries, including the United States, are Parties 
to CITES. The Convention calls for regular biennial meetings of the 
Conference of the Parties, unless the Conference

[[Page 68779]]

decides otherwise. At these meetings, the Parties review the 
implementation of CITES, make provisions enabling the CITES Secretariat 
in Switzerland to carry out its functions, consider amendments to the 
list of species in Appendices I and II, consider reports presented by 
the Secretariat, and make recommendations for the improved 
effectiveness of CITES. Any country that is a Party to CITES may 
propose amendments to Appendices I and II, resolutions, decisions, and 
agenda items for consideration by all the Parties at the meeting.
    This is our second in a series of Federal Register notices that, 
together with an announced public meeting, provide you with an 
opportunity to participate in the development of the U.S. submissions 
to and negotiating positions for the sixteenth regular meeting of the 
Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP16). We published our first 
CoP16-related Federal Register notice on June 14, 2011 (76 FR 34746), 
in which we requested information and recommendations on species 
proposals for the United States to consider submitting for 
consideration at CoP16. With today's notice, we had intended to 
announce tentative species proposals that the United States is 
considering submitting for CoP16 and solicit further information and 
comments on them. However, we have not completed our assessment of the 
information received in response to our request for information and 
recommendations on species proposals for the United States to consider 
submitting for consideration at CoP16. We intend to announce tentative 
species proposals that the United States is considering submitting for 
CoP16 and solicit further information and comments on them when we 
publish our next CoP16-related Federal Register notice. You may obtain 
information on species proposals by contacting the Division of 
Scientific Authority at the telephone number or email address provided 
in ``FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT'' above. Our regulations governing 
this public process are found in title 50 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (CFR) at 23.87.
    CoP16 is tentatively scheduled to be held in Thailand in March 
2013.

U.S. Approach for CoP16

    We published our first CoP16-related Federal Register notice on 
June 14, 2011 (76 FR 34746) and described our approach for species 
proposals for the United States to consider submitting at CoP16. 
Priorities for U.S. submissions to CoP16 continue to be consistent with 
the overall objective of U.S. participation in the Convention: To 
maximize the effectiveness of the Convention in the conservation and 
sustainable use of species subject to international trade. With this in 
mind, we plan to consider the following factors when considering 
recommendations for resolutions, decisions, and agenda items for 
discussion at CoP16:
    (1) Does the proposed action address difficulties in implementing 
or interpreting the Convention by the United States as an importing or 
exporting country, and would the proposed action contribute to the 
effective implementation of the Convention by all Parties? Differences 
in interpretation of the Convention by 175 Party nations can result in 
inconsistencies in the way it is implemented. In addition, wildlife 
trade is dynamic and ever-changing, thus presenting problems when 
established procedures are not readily applicable to new situations. 
The United States experiences some of these problems and 
inconsistencies directly through its own imports and exports, but we 
also learn of these difficulties through our participation in various 
fora, such as the CITES Standing Committee and technical committees, 
and through discussions with other countries, nongovernmental 
organizations, and the CITES Secretariat. When the United States cannot 
resolve these difficulties unilaterally or through bilateral 
discussions with trading partners, we may propose resolutions or 
decisions, usually in collaboration with other Parties, or have these 
topics included in the agenda of the meeting of the Conference of the 
Parties for discussion by all of the Parties.
    (2) Does the proposed action improve implementation of the 
Convention by increasing the quality of information and expertise used 
to support decisions by the Parties? With increased complexity, 
sophistication, and specialization in the biological sciences and other 
disciplines, it is critical that the CITES Parties have the best 
available information upon which to base decisions that affect the 
conservation of wildlife resources. Where appropriate, the United 
States will recommend actions to ensure the availability of up-to-date 
and accurate information to the Parties, including through the 
establishment of relationships with relevant international bodies, 
including other conventions, interjurisdictional resource management 
agencies, and international nongovernmental organizations with relevant 
expertise.

Request for Information and Recommendations on Resolutions, Decisions, 
and Agenda Items

    Although we have not yet received formal notice of the provisional 
agenda for CoP16, we invite your input on possible agenda items that 
the United States could recommend for inclusion, or on possible 
resolutions and decisions of the Conference of the Parties that the 
United States could submit for consideration. Copies of the agenda and 
the results of the last meeting of the Conference of the Parties 
(CoP15) in Doha, Qatar, in March 2010, as well as copies of all 
resolutions and decisions of the Conference of the Parties currently in 
effect, are available on the CITES Secretariat's Web site (http://www.cites.org/) or from the Division of Management Authority at the 
above address.

Observers

    Article XI, paragraph 7 of CITES provides: ``Any body or agency 
technically qualified in protection, conservation or management of wild 
fauna and flora, in the following categories, which has informed the 
Secretariat of its desire to be represented at meetings of the 
Conference by observers, shall be admitted unless at least one-third of 
the Parties present object:
    (a) International agencies or bodies, either governmental or 
nongovernmental, and national governmental agencies and bodies; and
    (b) National nongovernmental agencies or bodies which have been 
approved or this purpose by the State in which they are located.

Once admitted, these observers shall have the right to participate but 
not to vote.''

    National agencies or organizations within the United States must 
obtain our approval to participate in CoP16, whereas international 
agencies or organizations must obtain approval directly from the CITES 
Secretariat. We will publish information in a future Federal Register 
notice on how to request approved observer status. A factsheet on the 
process is posted on our Web site at: http://www.fws.gov/international/pdf/ob.pdf.

Future Actions

    As stated above, the next regular meeting of the Conference of the 
Parties (CoP16) is tentatively scheduled to be held in Thailand in 
March 2013. The United States must submit any proposals to amend 
Appendix I or II, or any draft resolutions, decisions, or agenda items 
for discussion at CoP16, to

[[Page 68780]]

the CITES Secretariat 150 days (tentatively early October 2012) prior 
to the start of the meeting. In order to meet this deadline and to 
prepare for CoP16, we have developed a tentative U.S. schedule. When we 
publish our next CoP16-related Federal Register notice, we intend to 
announce tentative species proposals that the United States is 
considering submitting for CoP16 and solicit further information and 
comments on them. Following publication of that Federal Register notice 
and approximately 9 months prior to CoP16, we plan to publish a Federal 
Register notice announcing draft resolutions, draft decisions, and 
agenda items to be submitted by the United States at CoP16, and to 
solicit further information and comments on them. Approximately 4 
months prior to CoP16, we will post on our Web site an announcement of 
the species proposals, draft resolutions, draft decisions, and agenda 
items submitted by the United States to the CITES Secretariat for 
consideration at CoP16.
    Through a series of additional notices and Web site postings in 
advance of CoP16, we will inform you about preliminary negotiating 
positions on resolutions, decisions, and amendments to the Appendices 
proposed by other Parties for consideration at CoP16, and about how to 
obtain observer status from us. We will also publish an announcement of 
a public meeting tentatively to be held approximately 3 months prior to 
CoP16; that meeting will enable us to receive public input on our 
positions regarding CoP16 issues. The procedures for developing U.S. 
documents and negotiating positions for a meeting of the Conference of 
the Parties to CITES are outlined in 50 CFR 23.87. As noted in 
paragraph (c) of that section, we may modify or suspend the procedures 
outlined there if they would interfere with the timely or appropriate 
development of documents for submission to the CoP and of U.S. 
negotiating positions.

Author

    The primary author of this notice is Clifton A. Horton, Division of 
Management Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Authority

    The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

     Dated: October 19, 2011.
 Hannibal Bolton,
Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2011-28735 Filed 11-4-11; 8:45 am]
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