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Minutes of the CITES Working Group Meeting Tirgu Mures, Romania, 25-27 August, 2003


Name Organization
Domuschiev, Dobromir Birds of Prey Society
Grebieniow, Anna Salamandra
Ivanov, Ivelin Green Balkans
Ivanyi, Anna CEEweb
Kelemen Marton Milvus Group
Kepel, Andrzej Salamandra
Klisurov, Ivailo Green Balkans
Lengyel Peter UNESCO Pro Natura
Papp Tamas Milvus Group
Paskova, Tana BROZ


Anna Iványi, CEEweb

26 August, 2003 – Workshop Day 1

Opening of the meeting
Introduction by Marton KelemenAfter welcoming the participants, Marton Kelemen briefly presented the current situation and the threats in the CEE countries regarding the illegal wildlife trade, and the significance of CITES (Convention on the Illegal Trade of Endangered Species) and the relevant EU regulations in managing this situation.
Presentation of the structure of CEEweb 
by Anna IvanyiThe presentation gave an overview on the structure of the CEEweb network, the position of the Working Groups within this structure and the documents regulating their operation, such as the by-laws and the Memorandum of Understanding. This latter is the document determining the conditions and circumstances under which the Working Group implements its activities, and it also covers the duties and obligations of both the Chair of the Working Group and the CEEweb Secretariat.
Presentation of the NGOs

All participating NGO had the opportunity to introduce their present and planned activities, with special regards to illegal wildlife trade. The scope of activity of the NGOs includes fieldwork, education, awareness raising and also the operation of rescue centers.

Evaluation of questionnaires
by Marton KelemenAll participating organizations had to fill in a questionnaire before the meeting. Marton Kelemen evaluated these questionnaires and presented the conclusions drawn.

  1. The composition of the Working Group is rather diverse with regards to their experience and knowledge level in the field of CITES related issues, but they are all active in a wide range of biodiversity and species protection, and they are strong, opinion-leader organizations.
  2. The expectations of the participants are the following:
    • experience and information exchange
    • transfer of know-how
    • capacity building in order to further train other stakeholders
    • creating a common awareness raising campaign
    • publishing instructive materials with a common message

The members of the Working Group find important to focus on the relevant EU legislation as well, as the CITES itself would change due to the more stringent EU regulations. Another important concern is that illegal trade is not only a problem of the border crossings, but also native species are threatened by the illegal internal trade. Some of these species are not listed in CITES, nevertheless the Working Group cannot neglect their protection. The participants also mentioned their intention to build up an online database about the implementation of CITES in the CEE countries. The collection of such information can provide a solid base to the improvement of law enforcement and effective implementation. The Working Group would like to act as an initiator and become the driving force of international cooperation with regards to implementing the provisions of relevant regulations on all levels.

The presentation also included the offer of the member organizations: they could contribute with their experiences and are willing to be an integrated part of an effective information sharing mechanism. They are also ready to take part in common projects, to prepare all publications in national languages, and to monitor the implementation of the relevant regulations on the national level.

The following conclusions could be drawn after the evaluation of the submitted questionnaires: the Working Group has a solid scientific ground and expertise to build upon, still the different level of experience on the field of wildlife crime and illegal trade makes an initial training necessary for the members of the Working Group.

At the end of the evaluation some designs of the Working Group logo were presented, and the group raised some ideas and plans concerning the logo. The participants agreed to ask their designers at home to come up with some designs and also Milvus Group would make some modifications of their proposed logo. The logos would be published on the web and an open call would be made to everyone who is interested or has any suggestions with regards to the logo of the Working Group.

Definition of the goal of the Working Group
Discussion about and the formulation of the objectives and tasks of the Working Group

The outcome of this lively and constructive discussion is the Work Programme.

Closing of the day

27 August, 2003 – Workshop Day 2

Finalization and approval of the Work Programme
Review of the Memorandum of Understanding

The participants reviewed the Memorandum of Understanding regulating the operation of the Working Group, defining the competencies and the obligations of the Chair and the CEEweb Secretariat. The Memorandum of Understanding with one minor modification was approved.

11:30 Election of the Chair

After collecting and reviewing the requirements that the members expect from the Chair of the Working Group to comply with, Marton Kelemen was elected unanimously.

12:00 Discussion on the internal rules

The participants agreed that the internal rules should regulate the reporting system of the Working Group, the sanctions in case a member organization or the Chair fails to comply with an appointed task. The conditions of these issues were discussed and some parts of the internal rules were adopted. The members agreed that the rest of the internal rules would be prepared by the Chair as a draft, circulated through the mailing list and then finalized. These unclosed issues included among others the prerequisites for the future members of the Working Group. All participants agreed that organizations applying for membership in the Working Group should fulfil certain requirements, and these requirements should be clarified soon, as the Working Group is willing to extend its geographical scope and would like to involve further NGOs in the near future to create an efficient network in the CEE region.

12:30 Discussion on the steps to be taken in the near future

The group decided to target interested and competent NGOs to join the activities of the Working Group. In this matter all members should actively look for and invite other NGOs who could contribute to the effective operation of the Working Group. A decision was also made on the necessity of a training for the members in order to ensure a common level of understanding among the members. So the very first task is to identify available funding possibilities and organize a “train the trainer” course for the – by that time already enlarged – Working Group, so that they can further train their members and partners. The direct tasks also included the preparation for the conference of Eurogroup Against Bird Crime (EABC) held in Budapest 1-3 September, as the representative of the Working Group was invited to present the Work Programme. As the Chair of the Working Group, Marton Kelemen would take part in the conference, and he was asked by other members of the Working Group to identify the possible ways of cooperation with EABC.

13:30 Closing of the meeting