Minor treaty actions are generally technical amendments to existing treaties which do not impact significantly on the national interest.
Minor treaty actions are presented to the Committee with a short explanatory statement and are listed on the Committee’s website. The Committee can choose to formally inquire into these treaty actions, or accept them without a formal inquiry and report. Once considered they are incorporated into a formal report of the Committee at the next opportunity.
The Committee has been asked to consider the following minor treaty actions:
Amendment to the International Tropical Timber Agreement, 2006;
Amendment to Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora as contained in Notification 2020/068; and
Amendment to Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora as contained in Notification 2021/026.
Amendment to the International Tropical Timber Agreement, 2006
The International Tropical Timber Agreement, 2006 (ITTA) came into force on 7 December 2011 and aims to promote the sustainable management and conservation of tropical forests and the expansion and diversification of the international trade in sustainable tropical timber.
Article 44 of the ITTA states the agreement will remain in force for 10 years after its entry into force. As a result, the ITTA is currently scheduled to expire on 7 December 2021. The proposed treaty action is an amendment to extend the term of the ITTA for a further five years.
The Explanatory Statement concluded that, as Australia has been a strong supporter of the ITTA, the extension of the term of the ITTA was in Australia’s interest.
Amendment to Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora as contained in Notification 2020/068
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is a multilateral treaty comprising mechanisms for regulating international trade in endangered species, and three Appendices listing the endangered species of animals or plants, whether dead or alive, and products derived from these animals or plants to which the regulations apply.
Appendix III of CITES, to which these amendments relate, include species which a CITES Party identifies as being subject to regulation within its jurisdiction to prevent or restrict exploitation, and needing the cooperation of other CITES Parties to control trade in that species. Exports or imports of specimens of species included in Appendix III can only take place with an export permit.
The amendments contained in Notification 2020/068 involve requests from Japan and Sri Lanka to list certain species in Appendix III of CITES. Japan requested that six species of gecko and one species of salamander be listed. Sri Lanka requested that seven species of iguanian lizards be listed.
According to the Explanatory Statement, the amendments have no practical impact for Australia. Australia is not a range state for any of the species listed (that is, they do not occur naturally in Australia), and the species cannot be legally imported to Australia.
These amendments had already entered into force before being referred to the Committee. They entered into for Australia and other CITES Parties who did not enter a reservation on 14 February 2021.
Amendment to Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora as contained in Notification 2021/026
The amendments contained in Notification 2021/026 involve a request from Ukraine to include 32 species of birds and turtle in Appendix III and a request from Seychelles to amend an existing listing in Appendix III for a species of palm tree.
According to the Explanatory Statement, four of the bird species requested for listing in Appendix III occur in Australia. However, only one bird species is exported from Australia by one exporter. The impact on this exporter will be minimal, requiring a single, fee-exempt annual export permit. None of the bird or turtle species can be legally imported into Australia.
These amendments automatically entered into force for Australia and other CITES Parties who did not enter a reservation on 22 June 2021.
The Committee supports these minor treaty actions and agreed that binding treaty action be taken in relation to the amendments to the ITTA and Appendix III of CITES as contained in Notification 2021/026.
As identified above, the amendments to Appendix III of CITES as contained in Notification 2020/068 had already entered into force. Consequently, it was not necessary for the Committee to consider whether binding treaty action be taken.
Mr Dave Sharma MP
30 August 2021