HL Deb 18 March 1981 vol 418 cc852-3WA
Lord Brockway

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What conclusions were reached at the conference on the 1973 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) at Delhi; what was the British attitude to the USA and Canadian proposal to amend the convention to allow species to be removed from the restricted list; which nations voted against or abstained on the banning of three species of whales; and how the British delegation voted.

The Earl of Avon

Among the more significant decisions reached at the New Delhi conference were the acceptance of United Kingdom proposals that black coral and the African blind barb fish (proposed on behalf of Zaire) should be listed on Appendix II; and that most parrots not on Appendix I should also be placed on Appendix II. Progress was made towards the more effective control of trade in ivory and acceptance was gained for the recognition under the convention of products from ranching, that is, permitting the controlled exploitation of species within a defined area where a conservation benefit can be achieved, but only with safeguards which are satisfactory to all parties to the convention.

In general, the United Kingdom achieved its main targets. As a result of the conference the practical working of the convention controls should be more effective and at the same time the convention began to come to terms with the need to reconcile conservation with the legitimate economic and social pressures in less developed countries, thus paving the way towards controlled exploitation rather than the banning of trade. We supported the USA and Canadian proposal, provided that the downgrading was in conformity with the criteria laid down at the Berne Conference in 1976 for the listing of species. Russia and Japan voted against the whale proposals, and three nations, the names of which were not recorded, abstained. The United Kingdom voted in favour.