[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 120 (Thursday, June 21, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 37433-37438]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-15121]



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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

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


Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International 
Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES); Sixteenth 
Regular Meeting: Proposed Resolutions, Decisions, and Agenda Items 
Being Considered; Observer Information

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The United States, as a Party to the Convention on 
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora 
(CITES), may submit proposed resolutions, decisions, and agenda items 
for consideration at meetings of the Conference of the Parties to 
CITES. The United States may also propose amendments to the CITES 
Appendices for consideration at meetings of the Conference of the 
Parties. The sixteenth regular meeting of the Conference of the Parties 
to CITES (CoP16) is scheduled to be held in Bangkok, Thailand, March 3-
15, 2013. With this notice, we describe proposed resolutions, 
decisions, and agenda items that the United States is considering 
submitting for consideration at CoP16; invite your comments and 
information on these proposals; and provide information on how non-
governmental organizations based in the United States can attend CoP16 
as observers.

DATES: We will consider written information and comments you submit 
concerning proposed resolutions, decisions, and agenda items that the 
United States is considering submitting for consideration at CoP16, if 
we receive them by August 20, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments pertaining to proposed 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. Comments and materials we 
receive in response to this notice will be posted for public inspection 
on http://www.regulations.gov, and will be available by appointment, 
between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 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 703-358-2095.
    Requests for approval to attend CoP16 as an observer should be sent 
to the Division of Management Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 212, Arlington, VA 22203, or 
via email at: managementauthority@fws.gov, or via fax at: 703-358-2298.
    For the latest news and information regarding U.S. preparations for 
CoP16, please visit our Web site at http://www.fws.gov/international/CITES/CoP16.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information pertaining to 
resolutions, decisions, and agenda items, contact: Robert R. Gabel, 
Chief, Division of Management Authority; telephone 703-358-2095; 
facsimile 703-358-2298. For information pertaining to species proposals 
contact: Rosemarie Gnam, Chief, Division of Scientific Authority; 
telephone 703-358-1708; facsimile 703-358-2276. If you use a 
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

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 control and regulate international 
trade in certain animal and plant species that are now or potentially 
may become threatened with extinction. These species are listed in 
Appendices to CITES, which are available on the CITES Secretariat's Web 
site at http://www.cites.org/eng/app/index.php. 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 of the Parties 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 lists 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 meetings.
    This is our fourth 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, and described our approach in determining which 
species proposals to consider submitting. We published our second such 
Federal Register notice on November 7, 2011 (76 FR 68778), in which we 
requested information and recommendations on proposed resolutions, 
decisions, and agenda items for the United States to consider 
submitting for consideration at CoP16, described our approach in 
determining which proposed resolutions, decisions, and agenda items to 
consider submitting, and provided preliminary information on how to 
request approved observer status for non-governmental organizations 
that wish to attend the meeting. In our third CoP16-related Federal 
Register notice, published on April 11, 2012 (77 FR 21798), we 
requested public comments and information on species proposals that the 
United States is considering submitting for consideration at CoP16. A 
complete list of those Federal Register notices, along with information 
on U.S. preparations for CoP16, can be found at http://www.fws.gov/international/CITES/CoP16.html. You may obtain additional information 
on those Federal Register notices from the following sources: For 
information on proposed resolutions, decisions, and agenda items, 
contact the Division of Management Authority at the address provided in 
the ADDRESSES section; and for information on species proposals, 
contact the Division of Scientific Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Room 110, Arlington, VA 22203. Our 
regulations governing this public process are found in 50 CFR 23.87.

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Recommendations for Resolutions, Decisions, and Agenda Items for the 
United States To Consider Submitting for CoP16

    In our Federal Register notice published on November 7, 2011 (76 FR 
68778), we requested information and recommendations on potential 
resolutions, decisions, and agenda items for the United States to 
submit for consideration at CoP16. We received information and 
recommendations from the following organizations: The Animal Welfare 
Institute; Gruhn Guitars, Inc.; the International Fund for Animal 
Welfare; NAMM (the International Music Products Association); the 
Natural Science Collections Alliance; the Ornithological Council and 
the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections; Safari 
Club International and the Safari Club International Foundation; the 
Species Survival Network; the Species Survival Network's Amphibian 
Working Group; and the World Wildlife Fund. We also received comments 
from three individuals.
    We considered all of the recommendations of the above individuals 
and organizations, as well as the factors described in the U.S. 
approach for CoP16 discussed in our November 7, 2011, Federal Register 
notice, when compiling a list of resolutions, decisions, and agenda 
items that the United States is likely to submit for consideration by 
the Parties at CoP16. We also compiled lists of resolutions, decisions, 
and agenda items for consideration at CoP16 that the United States 
either is currently undecided about submitting, is not considering 
submitting at this time, or plans to address in other ways. In 
compiling these lists, we also considered potential submissions that we 
developed internally. The United States may consider submitting 
documents for some of the issues for which it is currently undecided or 
not considering submitting at this time, depending on the outcome of 
discussions of these issues in the CITES Standing Committee, additional 
consultations with range country governments and subject matter 
experts, or comments we receive during the public comment period for 
this notice.
    Please note that, in sections A, B, and C below, we have listed 
those resolutions, decisions, and agenda items that the United States 
is likely to submit, currently undecided about submitting, or currently 
planning not to submit. We have posted an extended version of this 
notice on our Web site at http://www.fws.gov/international/CITES/CoP16.html and at http://www.regulations.gov, with text describing in 
more detail each of these issues and explaining the rationale for the 
tentative U.S. position on each issue. Copies of the extended version 
of the notice are also available from the Division of Management 
Authority at the address in the ADDRESSES section.
    We welcome your comments and information regarding the resolutions, 
decisions, and agenda items that the United States is likely to submit, 
currently undecided about submitting, or currently planning not to 
submit.

A. What resolutions, decisions, and agenda items is the United States 
likely to submit for consideration at CoP16?

    1. Quota information on CITES permits and tags for leopard 
trophies: Proposal we developed internally to revise Resolution Conf. 
10.14 (Rev. CoP14), Quotas for leopard trophies and skins for personal 
use, and Resolution Conf. 12.3 (Rev. CoP15), Permits and certificates, 
to make them consistent with respect to what quota/quantity information 
should be included on a leopard trophy tag and on the accompanying 
CITES permit.
    2. Retrospective permit process for certain Appendix-I specimens: 
Proposal we developed internally to revise Resolution Conf. 12.3 (Rev. 
CoP15), Permits and certificates, to include a retrospective permit 
process for certain Appendix-I specimens with high conservation value.
    3. Streamlined process for cross-border transport of musical 
instruments containing CITES species: Proposal for a passport system 
for individuals travelling internationally with their musical 
instruments.

B. On what resolutions, decisions, and agenda items is the United 
States still undecided, pending additional information and 
consultations?

    1. CoP Rules of Procedure: Voting records: Proposal to revise the 
Rules of Procedure for meetings of the CoP to require that, except in 
the case of a vote on a proposal by a secret ballot, electronic votes 
be displayed to all CoP participants within minutes of the vote and the 
Presiding Officer not announce the results of the vote until votes are 
displayed and Parties have had time to verify them.
    2. CoP Rules of Procedure: Secret ballots: Competing proposals 
regarding whether to revise the Rules of Procedure for CoPs, aligning 
them with those of other United Nations bodies to allow a secret ballot 
vote only when the motion for the vote has been approved by a majority 
of Parties present and voting (rather than by merely 10 Parties as is 
currently the requirement in the CoP Rules of Procedure).
    3. Climate change: Proposal for a resolution on climate change that 
would allow for increased recognition of climate change and its impacts 
or potential impacts on CITES-listed species.
    4. National CITES laws made available on the web: Proposal for a 
resolution or decision calling on the Secretariat to post all Party 
CITES implementing laws on the CITES Web site.
    5. CITES purpose codes: Comment supporting the position that 
purpose codes should be used primarily to indicate whether the trade 
covered by a particular permit is for commercial or noncommercial 
purposes, while allowing for the use of purpose codes to gather useful 
analytical information (such as the number and variety of hunting 
trophies being shipped); also supporting the position that purpose 
codes are not to be used as enforcement tools unless this is 
accompanied by a willingness to resolve issues with coding between 
Management Authorities and not putting the burden on the shippers in 
the absence of evidence of fraudulent intent.
    6. Equipment needs of Parties: Proposal for a resolution or 
decision to authorize the development of a mechanism to identify 
equipment needs of the CITES Parties for the effective enforcement of 
the Convention, while allowing CITES observers and other interested 
organizations and agencies an opportunity to try to meet those Party 
needs.
    7. Review of Significant Trade: Proposal to amend the Terms of 
Reference for the evaluation of the Review of Significant Trade to 
include assessment of the ``measures to be taken regarding the 
implementation of recommendations'' contained in Resolution Conf. 12.8 
(Rev. CoP13), Review of Significant Trade in specimens of Appendix-II 
species.
    8. Non-detriment findings: (a) Proposal for a resolution to 
substantively improve and strengthen the non-detriment finding (NDF) 
requirements; (b) comment supporting the CITES NDF Working Group, a 
joint working group of the Animals and Plants Committees, and the fact 
that the Working Group is currently considering a draft resolution on 
NDFs for CoP16, and recommending that the United States lend its 
support to the process to ensure that such a resolution is adopted at 
CoP16; and (c) proposal for the development of guidance for making 
NDFs, provided that such guidance is

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not mandatory, does not suggest ``pass or fail'' criteria for permit 
issuance based on such findings, and is accompanied by a mechanism to 
assess range States' needs for capacity-building to improve NDFs and to 
provide such capacity-building assistance.
    9. Captive-bred and ranched specimens: Proposal for a decision to 
continue the intersessional Working Group on Implementation of the 
Convention Relating to Captive-bred and Ranched Specimens and a 
decision directing that the Working Group study problems with the use 
of CITES source codes by selecting species and Parties to be addressed 
as case studies.
    10. Definitions of sawn wood and veneer for Appendix-II and -III 
timber: Proposal that CITES develop clearer definitions of the terms 
``sawn wood'' and ``veneer,'' which appear in the annotations for a 
number of timber species listed in Appendices II and III.
    11. Trade in hunting trophies of Appendix-I species: Proposal for 
revisions to relevant resolutions to: (a) incorporate criteria that 
must be met before quotas for Appendix-I species are approved; (b) 
require that such quotas be reviewed and renewed at each CoP; (c) 
require that quotas in place be regularly monitored to ensure that the 
basis for assigning them remains valid; and (d) remove the presumptions 
placed on the importing country that quotas may be accepted as 
appropriate in the absence of direct evidence to the contrary.
    12. Hunting trophy personal effects: Comment supporting the view 
that hunting trophies that include manufactured items crafted from 
animals taken by hunters are by their very nature personal effects and 
qualify for the CITES personal effects and household effects exemption, 
and supporting revising Resolution Conf. 13.7 (Rev. CoP14), Control of 
trade in personal and household effects, to remove the requirement that 
a hunting trophy must be carried by the hunter as accompanying baggage 
in order to qualify as a personal effect.
    13. Asian big cats: Proposal for several actions to strengthen 
enforcement of CITES with regard to Appendix-I Asian big cat species.
    14. Tiger farming and domestic trade: Recommendation that the 
United States call for the full implementation of the spirit and letter 
of Decision 14.69, directing Parties with operations breeding tigers on 
a commercial scale to implement measures to restrict the captive 
population to a level supportive only of conserving wild tigers, and 
proposal to revise Resolution Conf. 12.5 (Rev. CoP15) to support the 
Standing Committee call for ``such measures as are required to halt the 
illegal trade in tigers and tiger parts and derivatives.''
    15. Illegal trade in specimens of Appendix-I bear species: Proposal 
to revise Resolution Conf. 10.8 (Rev. CoP14), Conservation of and trade 
in bears, and/or submit decisions to establish a process by which range 
and consumer States that are identified in the new report of TRAFFIC 
Southeast Asia on illegal trade in Asian bear species as being involved 
in illegal trade in Appendix-I bear species must report to the Standing 
Committee on progress made to address the problems identified in the 
report.
    16. Rhinoceroses: Enforcement pertaining to trade in products: 
Comment supporting strict enforcement of CITES controls on trade in 
rhinoceros products, without unnecessary limitations on the legitimate 
hunting of rhinoceroses.
    17. Rhinoceroses: Export of horn for commercial purposes: 
Recommendation that the United States take all action within its power 
to carefully scrutinize trade in rhinoceros parts to ensure that parts 
originating in the United States do not enter Traditional Chinese 
Medicine markets in East Asia and that the United States make 
recommendations to the Standing Committee and to CoP16 that all CITES 
Parties take similar action.
    18. Rhinoceroses: Definition of ``appropriate and acceptable'' in 
the annotation to the Appendix-II listing of the South African 
population of the white rhinoceros: Proposal for adding a safeguard in 
the annotation to the Appendix-II listing of the South African 
population of the white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum) to 
ensure that, if exports of live rhinoceroses from any Party are to be 
authorized in the future, they should be exclusively to in-situ 
conservation programs.
    19. Reporting on rhinoceros issues (Resolution Conf. 9.14 (Rev. 
CoP15)): Proposal that all CITES Parties include the following 
information in the data they provide for the annual reports by IUCN/
TRAFFIC as requested in Resolution Conf. 9.14 (Rev. CoP15), 
Conservation of and trade in African and Asian rhinoceroses: The 
locations, domestic transfer, and the births and deaths of all live 
rhinoceroses that have been subject to international trade.
    20. Pangolins: Proposal for a decision and resolution recommending 
a number of actions to strengthen enforcement of CITES with regard to 
Asian pangolins.
    21. Elephants: Panel of Experts: Proposal for a revision of 
Resolution Conf. 10.9, Consideration of proposals for the transfer of 
African elephant populations from Appendix I to Appendix II, to 
establish a standing Panel of Experts to ensure that the Panel can be 
convened and deployed in a timely fashion as soon as a proposal to 
transfer a population of the African elephant from Appendix I to 
Appendix II is received by the Secretariat, and to include a deadline 
for the Secretariat to forward submitted proposals to the Panel.
    22. Elephants: Ivory-trading partners: Proposal to recommend a 
regular comprehensive review of the status of all CITES-approved ivory-
trading partners by an independent consultant in order to determine 
whether there is a need for their trading partner status to be amended 
or revoked, and recommending that trading partner status should not 
exceed a defined period of time.
    23. Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE): Proposal to 
direct the Standing Committee to: Commission a full independent review 
of MIKE; develop recommendations on the future and improvement of MIKE; 
and develop recommendations to ensure regular monitoring of the MIKE 
program by the Standing Committee.

C. What resolutions, decisions, and agenda items is the United States 
not likely to submit for consideration at CoP16, unless we receive 
significant additional information?

    1. Streamlined process for trade in pre-CITES, pre-ESA, and pre-
Lacey Act specimens: Proposal that businesses engaged in trade in parts 
and derivatives of species listed under CITES, the Endangered Species 
Act (ESA), or the Lacey Act be licensed and that trade in pre-CITES, 
pre-ESA, and pre-Lacey Act parts and derivatives be allowed with a 
simple declaration of this on the commercial invoice (no permit), and 
that all personal items in international trade receive an automatic 
exemption from CITES, ESA, and Lacey Act.
    2. Financing and budgeting of the Secretariat: Proposal that, when 
reporting on its expenditures and on its projected Costed Program of 
Work, the Secretariat report on costs per project and method of 
implementation, provide a separate chart on staff costs to allow 
Parties to better evaluate work priorities for Secretariat staff, 
provide a list of meetings attended by Secretariat staff and associated 
costs, and provide feedback on which activities/methods of 
implementation have been completed and whether core and high-priority 
activities have received precedence over medium- and low-priority 
activities. The proposal also addresses the creation of regular 
financial auditing procedures of the Secretariat and the submission of

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auditing reports to the Standing Committee.
    3. Increased transparency within the Secretariat: Proposal for a 
resolution mandating that the Secretariat make available all 
communications, correspondence, and other documents to all Parties and 
observers in order to improve the transparency of the Secretariat.
    4. Human population growth and wildlife trade: Proposal for a 
resolution linking human population growth to impacts to wildlife and 
wildlife trade, to encourage countries to consider human population 
growth and potential efforts to reduce growth rates in their broader 
planning efforts, to ensure that these impacts are considered when 
countries are preparing NDFs and export quotas, and when making other 
decisions required by CITES.
    5. Evaluating enforcement capacity: Proposal for a document and 
decision to facilitate increased CITES enforcement capacity of the 
Parties.
    6. Reporting against new indicators of effective enforcement: 
Proposal that Parties reporting to the Standing Committee and the CoP 
under species-specific resolutions and decisions be required to provide 
evidence that the following is taking place: Proactive, covert, 
intelligence-led operations that build up a profile of wildlife 
criminals and their associations and networks; generation of the right 
kind of intelligence to enable the mapping of such associations and 
networks; multiagency and transnational sharing of intelligence through 
swift and secure means; development of national and transnational 
operations on the basis of intelligence; use of controlled deliveries 
as an evidence-gathering tool to disrupt networks; recovery of assets 
from wildlife crime through the use of proceeds of crime legislation; 
and increased detection and prosecution rates.
    7. Gathering and analysis of data on illegal trade: Proposal that 
the reporting of illegal trade data should become a matter of 
compliance and that Parties provide their data to INTERPOL's 
Environmental Crime Programme, where it can be securely accessed by 
enforcement officers from all CITES Parties.
    8. Enforcement matters: Controlled deliveries expertise: 
Recommendation that the United States take the lead among Parties to 
lend momentum to the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife 
Crime's ongoing work on controlled deliveries as a method of reaching 
the ``big players'' in wildlife trafficking.
    9. Elevating the profile of wildlife crime: Proposal for a 
resolution recognizing wildlife crime as a ``serious'' crime, whereby 
Parties agree to change their CITES-implementing legislation as 
necessary to provide for the maximum deterrent.
    10. Multilateral measures in CITES: Comment supporting the use of 
the various multilateral measures that are available within CITES to 
deal with concerns about permit issuance and trade, and opposing the 
use of ``stricter domestic measures.''
    11. Uniform application of CITES: Proposal that the CoP urge 
Parties to refrain from imposing greater restrictions on international 
wildlife trade than those required under CITES.
    12. Livelihoods: Recommendation that the United States support the 
review of the effects of CITES on livelihoods, specifically with regard 
to the benefits of sustainable use of CITES species to local 
communities.
    13. Measurements and units used in reporting: Proposal for a 
resolution describing in detail the volume- or weight-based 
measurements needed for each CITES description of specimens in order to 
comply with the Guidelines for the Preparation and Submission of CITES 
Annual Reports, and recommending that Parties report trade using two 
units of measurement when possible.
    14. An alternative to CITES: Proposal for a document soliciting 
discussion of the possibility of either substantively revising CITES or 
replacing it with a new Convention that would prohibit international 
trade in all species except for those designated as capable of 
sustaining regulated trade.
    15. Streamlining the Review of Significant Trade process: Proposal 
for a resolution to restructure the Review of Significant Trade process 
to make it more streamlined and expeditious and also to include an 
automatic recommendation for a suspension of trade in species under 
review from those countries going through the review.
    16. Periodic Review of the Appendices, Lions: Recommendation that 
the United States support the inclusion of the African lion (Panthera 
leo) in the Periodic Review of Felidae.
    17. Definition of hunting trophy: Proposal for a document 
explaining the implementation and enforcement problems created by 
including processed and manufactured products and the term ``readily 
recognizable'' in the definition of ``hunting trophy'' included in 
Resolution Conf. 12.3 (Rev. CoP15), Permits and certificates, and 
proposal for the deletion of processed and manufactured products from 
the definition and replacement of the term ``readily recognizable'' 
with the term ``identifiable.''
    18. Validation of permits for trade in scientific research 
materials: Proposal for a document aimed at improving the permit 
validation process for CITES scientific specimens.
    19. Unlisted species: Proposal for a mechanism to select and review 
unlisted species subject to significant levels of international trade 
for possible listing in the CITES Appendices.
    20. Newly discovered species: Proposal for a resolution that would 
automatically prohibit trade in a newly-discovered species until the 
status of the species could be properly assessed and a determination 
made as to whether the species requires protection under CITES.
    21. U.S. captive tigers: Recommendation that the United States 
report at CoP16 on the status of its captive tiger population, 
including information about recently promulgated regulations requiring 
all persons and facilities holding tigers in the United States to 
annually report their year-end inventories and activities conducted 
with tigers and removing the current exemption for ``generic'' tigers.
    22. Bear bile trade: Proposal for a resolution that would reduce 
the cruel confinement of bears for the bear bile trade by imposing 
requirements that bears be farmed only if there is a legitimate 
conservation benefit to wild populations.
    23. Creation of artificial ice floes for polar bears: Comment 
supporting the creation of artificial ice floes that would provide 
polar bears with places to rest and recuperate as they migrate to the 
sea ice.
    24. Rhinoceroses: Annotation to the Appendix-II listing of the 
populations of South Africa and Swaziland of the southern white 
rhinoceros: Recommendation that the United States approach South Africa 
and request that they impose a unilateral suspension on export of both 
live rhinoceroses and rhinoceros hunting trophies (the specimen types 
from South Africa downlisted to Appendix II in the annotation).
    25. Elephant ivory trade mechanism: Comment supporting the vigorous 
development of an apolitical mechanism for approving trade in elephant 
ivory.
    26. Elephants: Broadening of the debate beyond the issue of 
allowing legal ivory trade: Recommendation that the United States lend 
its weight to broadening the debate concerning elephants beyond the 
issue of allowing

[[Page 37437]]

legal ivory trade, which while important, should be seen in a wider 
context of other problems that are currently more significant in 
driving poaching and illegal trade.
    27. Sharks, rays, and skates (elasmobranchs): Proposal for a 
decision directing the Secretariat to contract appropriate technical 
experts to prepare a report to determine the most vulnerable 
elasmobranch species found in international trade in order to determine 
which species would most benefit from CITES listings.
    28. Amphibians: Proposal for a document for CoP16 requesting that 
range States initiate better monitoring and management of wild frog 
populations.

Request for Information and Comments

    We invite any information and comments concerning any of the 
possible CoP16 proposed resolutions, decisions, and agenda items 
discussed above. You must submit your information and comments to us no 
later than the date specified in DATES above to ensure that we consider 
them. Comments and materials received will be posted for public 
inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, and will be available by 
appointment, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the 
Division of Management Authority. Our practice is to post all comments, 
including names and addresses of respondents, and to make comments, 
including names and home addresses of respondents, available for public 
review during regular business hours. Individual respondents may 
request that we withhold their home addresses from public review, which 
we will honor to the extent allowable by law.
    There also may be circumstances in which we would withhold from 
public review a respondent's identity, as allowable by law. If you wish 
for us to withhold your name and/or address, you must state this 
prominently at the beginning of your comment. We will make all comments 
and materials submitted by organizations or businesses, and by 
individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of 
organizations or businesses, available for public inspection in their 
entirety.

Observers

    Article XI, paragraph 7 of CITES states the following:

    ``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 
non-governmental, and national governmental agencies and bodies; and
    (b) national non-governmental agencies or bodies which have been 
approved for this purpose by the State in which they are located.

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

    Persons wishing to be observers representing international non-
governmental organizations (which must have offices in more than one 
country) at CoP16 may request approval directly from the CITES 
Secretariat. Persons wishing to be observers representing U.S. national 
non-governmental organizations at CoP16 must receive prior approval 
from our Division of Management Authority. Once we grant our approval, 
a U.S. national non-governmental organization is eligible to register 
with the Secretariat and must do so at least 6 weeks prior to the 
opening of CoP16 to participate in CoP16 as an observer. Individuals 
who are not affiliated with an organization may not register as 
observers. An international non-governmental organization with at least 
one office in the United States may register as a U.S. non-governmental 
organization if it prefers.
    Any organization that submits a request to us for approval as an 
observer should include evidence of their technical qualifications in 
protection, conservation, or management of wild fauna or flora, for 
both the organization and the individual representative(s). The request 
should include copies of the organization's charter and any bylaws, and 
a list of representatives it intends to send to CoP16. Organizations 
seeking approval for the first time should detail their experience in 
the protection, conservation, or management of wild fauna or flora, as 
well as their purposes for wishing to participate in CoP16 as an 
observer. An organization that we have previously approved as an 
observer at a meeting of the Conference of the Parties within the past 
5 years must submit a request, but does not need to provide as much 
detailed information concerning its qualifications as an organization 
seeking approval for the first time. These requests should be sent to 
the Division of Management Authority at the address provided in the 
ADDRESSES section, or via email at: managementauthority@fws.gov, or via 
fax at: 703-358-2298.
    Once we approve an organization as an observer, we will inform them 
of the appropriate page on the CITES Web site where they may obtain 
instructions for registration with the CITES Secretariat in 
Switzerland, including a meeting registration form and travel and hotel 
information. A list of organizations approved for observer status at 
CoP16 will be available upon request from the Division of Management 
Authority just prior to the start of CoP16.

Future Actions

    We expect the CITES Secretariat to provide us with a provisional 
agenda for CoP16 within the next several months. Once we receive the 
provisional agenda, we will publish it in a Federal Register notice and 
provide the Secretariat's Web site URL. We will also provide the 
provisional agenda on our Web site at http://www.fws.gov/international/CITES/CoP16.html.
    The United States will submit any proposed resolutions, decisions, 
and agenda items, as well as any species proposals, for consideration 
at CoP16 to the CITES Secretariat 150 days prior to the start of the 
meeting (i.e., by October 4, 2012). We will consider all available 
information and comments received during the comment period for this 
notice as we decide which proposed resolutions, decisions, and agenda 
items warrant submission by the United States for consideration by the 
Parties. With respect to our notice published on April 11, 2012 (77 FR 
21798), we will consider all available information and comments 
received during the comment period for that notice as we decide which 
species proposals warrant submission by the United States for 
consideration by the Parties. Approximately 4 months prior to CoP16, we 
will post on our Web site an announcement of the species proposals and 
proposed resolutions, decisions, and agenda items submitted by the 
United States to the CITES Secretariat for consideration at CoP16.
    Through an additional notice and Web site posting in advance of 
CoP16, we will inform you about preliminary negotiating positions on 
resolutions, decisions, agenda items, and amendments to the Appendices 
proposed by other Parties for consideration at CoP16. We will also 
publish an announcement of a public meeting tentatively to be held 
approximately 2-3 months prior to CoP16, to receive public input on our 
positions regarding issues on the agenda for CoP16. The procedures for 
developing U.S. documents and negotiating positions for a meeting of 
the Conference of the Parties to CITES

[[Page 37438]]

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 meeting of the Conference of the Parties and of 
U.S. negotiating positions.
    Author: The primary author of this notice is Mark Albert, Division 
of Management Authority; under the authority of the U.S. Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Date: June 8, 2012.
Daniel M. Ashe,
Director.
[FR Doc. 2012-15121 Filed 6-20-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P