[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 233 (Friday, December 4, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 75873-75878]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-30593]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[Docket No. FWS-HQ-IA-2014-0018; 96300-1671-0000-R4]


Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International 
Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES); 
Seventeenth 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 seventeenth regular meeting of the Conference of the 
Parties to CITES (CoP17) is scheduled to be held in Johannesburg, South 
Africa, September 24 to October 5, 2016. With this notice, we describe 
proposed resolutions, decisions, and agenda items that the United 
States is considering submitting for consideration at CoP17; invite 
your comments and information on these proposals; and provide 
information on how non-governmental organizations based in the United 
States can attend CoP17 as observers.

DATES: We will consider all information and comments you submit 
concerning proposed resolutions, decisions, and agenda items that the 
United States is considering submitting for consideration at CoP17, if 
we receive them on or before February 2, 2016.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments pertaining to proposed resolutions, 
decisions, and agenda items for discussion at CoP17 by one of the 
following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS-HQ-
IA-2014-0018 (the docket number for this notice).
     U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, 
Attn: FWS-HQ-IA-2014-0018; Division of Policy, Performance, and 
Management Programs; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 5275 Leesburg 
Pike, MS BPHC; Falls Church, VA 22041.
    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, 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, 5275 Leesburg 
Pike, 2nd Floor, Falls Church, VA 22041; telephone 703-358-2095.
    Requests for approval to attend CoP17 as an observer should be sent 
to the Division of Management Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 5275 Leesburg Pike, MS: IA, Falls Church, VA

[[Page 75874]]

22041; or via email at: [email protected]; or via fax at: 
703-358-2298.
    For the latest news and information regarding U.S. preparations for 
CoP17, please visit our Web site at http://www.fws.gov/international/CITES/CoP17/index.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information pertaining to 
resolutions, decisions, and agenda items, contact: Craig Hoover, Chief, 
Division of Management Authority, at 703-358-2162 (phone); 703-358-2298 
(fax); [email protected] (email). For information pertaining 
to species proposals contact: Rosemarie Gnam, Chief, Division of 
Scientific Authority, at 703-358-1708 (phone); 703-358-2276 (fax); or 
[email protected] (email). 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 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/appendices.php. Currently, 180 
countries, including the United States, and one regional economic 
integration organization, the European Union, 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 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 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 (time and place to be 
announced), provide you with an opportunity to participate in the 
development of the U.S. submissions to, and negotiating positions for, 
the seventeenth regular meeting of the Conference of the Parties to 
CITES (CoP17). We published our first CoP17-related Federal Register 
notice on June 27, 2014 (79 FR 36550), in which we requested 
information and recommendations on species proposals for the United 
States to consider submitting for consideration at CoP17. In that 
notice, we also described the U.S. approach to preparations for CoP17. 
We published our second such Federal Register notice on May 11, 2015 
(80 FR 26948), in which we requested information and recommendations on 
proposed resolutions, decisions, and agenda items for the United States 
to consider submitting for consideration at CoP17, and provided 
preliminary information on how to request approved observer status for 
non-governmental organizations that wish to attend the meeting. In our 
third CoP17-related Federal Register notice, published on August 26, 
2015 (80 FR 51830), we requested public comments and information on 
species proposals that the United States is considering submitting for 
consideration at CoP17. 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 above in the ADDRESSES 
section; and for information on species proposals, contact the Division 
of Scientific Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 5275 Leesburg 
Pike, MS: IA, Falls Church, VA 22041. Our regulations governing this 
public process are found in title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations 
(CFR) at Sec.  23.87.

Recommendations for Resolutions, Decisions, and Agenda Items for the 
United States To Consider Submitting for CoP17

    In our Federal Register notice published on May 11, 2015 (80 FR 
26948), we requested information and recommendations on potential 
resolutions, decisions, and agenda items for the United States to 
submit for consideration at CoP17. We received information and 
recommendations from the following organizations: American Federation 
of Violin and Bow Makers; American Society of Mammalogists; Animal 
Welfare Institute; Campaign Against Canned Hunting; Center for 
International Environmental Law; Chamber Music America; Environmental 
Investigation Agency; Free Morgan Foundation; Friends of Animals; 
Global March for Elephants and Rhinos; International Environmental Law 
Project; League of American Orchestras; Maniago Safaris Ltd.; National 
Association of Music Merchants; Ornithological Council; Society for the 
Preservation of Natural History Collections; Species Survival Network; 
Sustainable Fisheries Association, Inc.; Wildlife Conservation Society; 
and World Wildlife Fund. We also received comments from one individual. 
In addition, we received comments from Global March for Elephants and 
Rhinos and Sustainable Fisheries Association, Inc. related to proposals 
to amend the CITES Appendices. Both of these comments were outside the 
scope of this Federal Register notice.
    We considered all of the recommendations of the above individuals 
and organizations, as well as the factors described in the U.S. 
approach for CoP17 discussed in our June 27, 2014, 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 CoP17. We also compiled lists of resolutions, decisions, 
and agenda items for consideration at CoP17 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 
identified 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, under 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 a supplementary document on our 
Web site at http://www.fws.gov/international/CITES/CoP17/index.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 supplementary document 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,

[[Page 75875]]

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 CoP17?

    Wildlife trafficking: Proposal for a document highlighting U.S. 
progress and leadership on efforts to combat wildlife trafficking.

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

    1. Trade in live elephants: Proposal for a decision at CoP17 to 
review trade in live elephants to ensure that such trade is legal and 
conducted in compliance with CITES.
    2. Trade in elephant ivory: Domestic ivory markets: Recommendation 
for the United States to work with key elephant range States and like-
minded CITES Party countries to advocate, support, and propose a 
resolution to ban domestic elephant ivory trade, and support other 
countries' independent efforts to ban domestic elephant ivory trade; 
recommendation for submission of a working document encouraging the 
closure of legal domestic elephant ivory markets; recommendation for an 
amendment to Resolution Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP16) or a new resolution 
recommending that Parties close their domestic elephant ivory markets; 
and three recommendations that the United States advocate for a 
complete ban on global elephant ivory trade.
    3. Trade in live rhinoceroses: Recommendation that live rhinoceros 
not be shipped outside of range countries.
    4. Trade in rhinoceros horn: Synthetic products: Recommendation to 
submit a discussion document outlining the potential problems raised by 
the introduction of synthetic wildlife products, such as synthetic 
rhino horn, and examining ways that CITES might address these problems.
    5. Trade in pangolins: Proposal for a resolution urging Parties to 
adopt and implement legislation and enforcement controls, including 
increased cooperation with other Parties, to reduce illegal trade in 
pangolins and to encourage the Secretariat and other appropriate bodies 
to assist those Parties lacking legislation.
    6. Trade in sport-hunted trophies: Proposal for: A draft decision 
directing Parties that undertake voluntary wildlife trade policy 
reviews examine the probable impacts of lawful sport hunting on the 
survivability of the hunted species in the wild and provide the 
Secretariat with the results so that these may be shared with the 
Parties; a draft decision directing the Animals Committee to form a 
working group to examine the probable impacts of lawful sport hunting 
on the survivability of the hunted species in the wild and submit its 
findings to the Secretariat; and a draft decision directing the 
Secretariat to compile information received on this issue on its Web 
site, assist interested Parties in examining the probable impacts of 
lawful sport hunting on the survivability of the hunted species in the 
wild, organize a conference to examine the findings of the Animals 
Committee on the probable impacts of lawful sport hunting on the 
survivability of the hunted species in the wild, and report at SC69 and 
CoP18.
    7. Marine species: Interpretation of CITES Article XIV, paragraphs 
4 and 5: Proposal for a draft resolution to clarify the ambiguities 
that exist in Article XIV, paragraphs 4 and 5, with respect to 
implementation of the treaty for marine species.
    8. Marine species: CITES National Legislation Project: 
Recommendation for a request to the Food and Agriculture Organization 
(FAO) to engage with the CITES National Legislation Project as it 
pertains to marine species.
    9. Marine species: Sharks and rays: Proposal for submission of an 
agenda item to ensure that the outcomes of the working groups on sharks 
and rays and the deliberations of the Animals Committee and Standing 
Committee on sharks and rays are discussed and to ensure a discussion 
on capacity-building needs in the issuance of non-detriment findings 
for CITES-listed sharks and rays.
    10. Marine species: Fish maw trade: Proposal for a decision at 
CoP17 to further explore the fish maw (swim bladder) trade to identify 
critical intervention points to ensure that this trade, which threatens 
two endangered species, can be stopped.
    11. Wildlife trafficking: Proposal to submit an agenda item on the 
issue of wildlife trafficking and the transport industry to facilitate 
reporting to the CoP on U.S. and other initiatives.
    12. Traveling with musical instruments: Recommendation that the 
United States: Support establishing more efficient and uniform 
procedures for issuing documents for international transport of musical 
instruments and inspecting and clearing such documents; and work with 
officials in other countries to ensure that concepts such as the 
musical instrument certificate and personal effects exemption for 
musical instruments containing CITES-listed species are adopted by all 
CITES Parties.
    13. National CITES legislation: Proposal for an amendment to 
Resolution Conf. 8.4 (Rev. CoP15), on National laws for implementation 
of the Convention, to provide clear guidelines as to the criteria for 
inclusion in Categories 1, 2, and 3 under the CITES National 
Legislation Project; proposal to ensure that Decisions 16.33-16.38, on 
National laws for implementation of the Convention, are updated to 
account for changing dates and reference to CoP17; proposal for an 
overhaul of the CITES National Legislation Project to ensure that 
Parties have adequate CITES legislation and regulatory systems in 
place; and proposal for a decision to encourage the flow of dedicated 
funds to the Secretariat to carry out its work relative to the Project.
    14. CoP Rules of Procedure: Secret ballots: Proposal to amend Rule 
25 (Methods of Voting) of the Rules of Procedure of the Conference of 
the Parties (CoP) to eliminate voting by secret ballots except with 
respect to the election of officers.
    15. CoP Rules of Procedure: Credentials and voting procedures for 
regional economic integration organizations: Proposal to amend the 
Rules of Procedure of the CoP so that they address two issues with 
respect to the participation of regional economic integration 
organizations at CoPs: Credentials and voting.
    16. Annual reporting on seized specimens: Recommendation that the 
United States support mandatory annual reporting on illegal CITES 
trade, with the penalty for failure to report such trade similar to the 
penalty for failure to submit annual report.
    17. Validated reference material: The United States is considering 
preparing discussion documents on the importance of providing validated 
reference material of newly listed species, especially timber species, 
so that appropriate labs and inspections authorities can develop 
forensic identification techniques.
    18. Trade in timber species utilized for hongmu: Recommendation 
that the United States prepare a discussion document on the legal and 
illegal trade in timber for the production of traditional Chinese 
furniture and the potential to address this issue in CITES.
    19. Nationally established Appendix-II export quotas: 
Recommendation that the United States consider submitting a document to 
CoP17 to examine the current implementation, enforcement, and benefits 
of the implementation of Resolution Conf. 14.7 (Rev. CoP15), management 
of nationally established export quotas.

[[Page 75876]]

    20. CITES specimens accompanied by court-ordered CITES documents: 
Proposing a revision to CITES Resolution Conf. 12.3 (Rev. CoP16) 
recommending that: Exporting Parties not export specimens of CITES-
listed species without evidence of legal origin of specimens of the 
species and without evidence of a non-detriment finding; and importing 
Parties reject shipments of specimens of CITES species accompanied by 
export permits issued under court order without the required CITES 
findings.
    21. Administrative hosting arrangements: The United States is 
currently chairing a working group of the Standing Committee that is 
reviewing the administrative hosting arrangements between the United 
Nations Environment Programme and the CITES Secretariat and is 
considering submitting a document to CoP17 on this subject.
    22. Youth participation: The United States is considering 
submitting a draft resolution exploring the opportunities and 
emphasizing the importance of youth participation in CITES fora.

C. What resolutions, decisions, and agenda items is the United States 
not likely to submit for consideration at CoP17, unless we receive 
significant additional information?

    1. Trade in elephant specimens: Resolution Conf. 10.10 (Rev. 
CoP16): Proposal for: A comprehensive review of Resolution Conf. 10.10 
(Rev. CoP16), on Trade in elephant specimens; a resolution or decision 
requiring Parties to report on their progress in implementing 
Resolution Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP16); and an amendment to Resolution 
Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP16) or a new resolution recommending that Parties 
close their domestic elephant ivory markets.
    2. Trade in elephant ivory: Decision-making mechanism: 
Recommendation that: The United States call for greater transparency 
and wider consultation on development of a decision-making mechanism 
(DMM) for authorizing ivory trade and request that the background 
study, the terms of reference for the study, and related documents be 
made available on the CITES Web site for public comment before being 
finalized at SC66; the United States, as a member of the DMM Working 
Group, call for a suspension of the discussion on the DMM and oppose 
any proposals for international trade in elephant ivory or downlisting 
of elephant populations; and the United States advocate that Decision 
16.55, concerning a decision-making mechanism for a process of trade in 
elephant ivory, not be renewed at CoP17.
    3. Trade in elephant ivory: National Ivory Action Plans: 
Recommendation that the United States call for the publication on the 
CITES Web site of the National Ivory Action Plans of the primary 
concern countries, and the implementation reports by the primary 
concern countries, secondary concern countries, and the importance to 
watch countries, along with the feedback by the Secretariat on the 
content and implementation of the Plans; recommendation that the United 
States call for revision of the National Ivory Action Plans where 
appropriate to include meaningful milestones with timeframes for 
implementation, and evidence to measure the impact through specific 
indicators; recommendation that the United States call for trade 
suspensions for Tanzania until they can demonstrate progress in 
effectively addressing illegal trade in ivory; recommendation that the 
United States call for adoption of a moratorium on domestic ivory trade 
in China, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Japan, where domestic ivory markets 
are perpetuating illegal trade in ivory or licensed trade in ivory has 
facilitated illegal trade and has been used as a laundering mechanism 
for the trade in illegal ivory; recommendation that the United States 
call for destruction of ivory stockpiles following independent 
inventory and audit and DNA analysis for investigations; recommendation 
that the United States urge China, Thailand, and Viet Nam to detect, 
investigate, and apprehend the criminal networks using Laos as a hub 
for trafficking ivory and other wildlife; and recommendation that the 
United States call for Japan to be moved higher up on the National 
Ivory Action Plans list to ``primary concern'' and for Japan to adopt a 
National Ivory Action Plan, including a commitment to implement a 
domestic ivory trade ban.
    4. Trade in elephant ivory: Stockpiles: Proposal for the United 
States to submit a document outlining the rationale for destruction of 
elephant ivory stockpiles, summarizing progress on the issue since 
CoP16, and encouraging all Parties to destroy their stockpiles.
    5. Trade in rhinoceros horn: Recommendation urging the United 
States to oppose any proposals to legalize trade in rhinoceros horn, 
both domestically and internationally; and a recommendation to ensure 
that Parties are held accountable to the reporting requirements adopted 
at CoP17 with regard to actions to combat the illegal killing of and 
trade in rhinoceros horn.
    6. Trade in cheetahs: Proposal for a document ensuring that the 
issue of illegal trade in cheetahs is on the agenda for CoP17.
    7. Trade in African lions: Lion farming and trade in lion trophies: 
Recommendation that the United States submit a document proposing to 
end the practice of lion farming in South Africa and a document on the 
issue of lion farming for trade in their body parts; and a document 
proposing an end to the export and import of lion trophies.
    8. Trade in African lions: Protections: Recommendation that the 
United States support any proposals for improving protection of African 
lions, including their up-listing.
    9. Trade in Asian big cats: Recommendation that the United States: 
Ensure that the issue of Asia big cats is on the agenda for CoP17, 
primarily to call for a number of actions in advance of the CoP related 
to the illegal killing and trade in tigers and other Asian big cats; 
and consider calling for compliance measures to be enacted against 
Parties that fail to fulfill the called-for measures.
    10. Trade in bears: Recommendation that the United States support 
proposals for improving protection for bears, including adopting 
measures to tackle the escalating trade in bear specimens.
    11. Great apes: Recommendation that the United States ensure that 
the issue of great apes is on the agenda for CoP17.
    12. Saiga antelope: Recommendation the United States ensure the 
issue of saiga antelope is on the agenda.
    13. Trade in sport-hunted trophies: Proposal for the United States 
to ban the import of trophies of CITES-listed species.
    14. Trade in hornbills and sandalwood: Recommendation that the 
United States urge source, transit, and consumer countries to 
demonstrate greater investment in proactive intelligence-led 
initiatives to target criminal networks and implement demand reduction 
strategies for red sandalwood (Pterocarpus santalinus) and helmeted 
hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil).
    15. Trade in freshwater turtles and tortoises: Recommendation that 
the United States ensure that the issue of trade in tortoises and 
freshwater turtles is on the agenda of CoP17.
    16. Marine species: Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) codes: Proposal 
for a draft resolution recommending that the Parties adopt a list of 
new 6-digit, 8-digit, and 10-digit HTS codes related to shark and 
cetacean species and commodities; and that the Parties adopt a CITES 
description code for `blubber'' to use on CITES permits and in annual 
reports.
    17. Marine species: Breeding cetaceans: Recommendation that the

[[Page 75877]]

United States support establishing a clear policy regarding the 
breeding of rescued, wild cetaceans with their captive-bred 
counterparts.
    18. Trade in rosewood and ebony: Recommendation that the United 
States support: Madagascar in its efforts to combat illegal harvest of 
and trade in rosewood (Dalbergia spp.) and ebony (Diospyros spp.); any 
proposal to improve the protection of Dalbergia cochinchinensis, 
Dalbergia oliveri, and Pterocarpus macrocarpus through proposals that 
may arise from regional discussions; and any proposal to strengthen 
existing CITES controls for Dalbergia cochinchinensis.
    19. Wildlife trafficking: Proposal that the United States encourage 
a report from the United Kingdom on the London Conference on the 
Illegal Wildlife Trade, and from Botswana on the Kasane Conference on 
the Illegal Trade.
    20. Traveling with musical instruments: Personal effects exemption: 
Recommendation that the United States support a personal effects 
exemption for musical instruments containing CITES-listed species and 
the implementation of an exemption for musical instruments containing 
CITES-listed species transported by cargo under a carnet.
    21. Traveling with musical instruments: Commercial travel and de 
minimis exemption: Recommendation that the United States support 
extending the use of the musical instrument certificate to commercial 
travel and advocate for the adoption of a general de minimis exemption 
from CITES requirements for instruments containing small amounts of 
CITES-listed species.
    22. CITES and livelihoods: Recommendation that the United States 
ensure that the issue of CITES and livelihoods is on the agenda for 
CoP17.
    23. Enforcement matters: Establishment of a CITES Enforcement 
Working Group: Recommendation that the United States call for a CITES 
Enforcement Expert Working Group to be convened on a regular basis.
    24. Enforcement matters: Adoption of indicators: Recommendation 
that the United States support the adoption of indicators of effective 
enforcement and call for Parties to fully implement such indicators.
    25. Enforcement matters: tackling illegal trade through social 
media channels: Recommendation that the United States call for measures 
to be adopted for Parties to tackle illegal trade in CITES species 
through social media channels.
    26. Enforcement matters: Amendment to Resolution Conf. 11.3 (Rev. 
CoP16), on Compliance and enforcement: Recommendation that the United 
States: Propose amendments to Resolution Conf. 11.3 (Rev. CoP16) to 
establish an enforcement working group to explore greater CITES 
emphasis on enforcement efforts; and recommend that Parties prohibit 
trade in animals and plants illegally taken, possessed, transported, or 
sold, similar to the U.S. Lacey Act.
    27. CITES trade data reporting: Proposal for a resolution that 
describes in detail the need to accurately describe in CITES annual 
reports both the type of specimen being traded and the quantity of 
specimens, and that recommends that Parties issue permits and report 
trade using two units of measurement.
    28. Purpose of Transaction codes on CITES permits: Proposal that 
the United States call for the consistent use of CITES Purpose of 
Transaction codes so that the same code is used on both import and 
export CITES documents.
    29. Legal owner information on CITES permits: Proposal that the 
United States call for the disclosure of the legal owner of a specimen 
on the face of a CITES document.
    30. Guidelines for making legal acquisition findings: 
Recommendation that the United States submit a document regarding the 
establishment of clear guidelines for Parties to use in making their 
CITES legal acquisition findings.
    31. CITES document validation for scientific research: 
Recommendation that the United States propose to revise, suspend, or 
revoke the CITES document validation requirement for the movement of 
CITES-listed species for scientific research.
    32. Primarily commercial purposes: Recommendation that the United 
States call for establishing clear criteria and guidelines to 
differentiate between ``primarily commercial'' purposes and ``bona fide 
scientific research'' purposes when making permit decisions.
    33. Bred in captivity: Recommendation that the United States 
propose revisions to Resolutions Conf. 5.10 (Rev. CoP15), Conf. 10.16 
(Rev.), and Conf. 12.10 (Rev. CoP15) to clarify the provisions of 
paragraphs 4 and 5 of CITES Article VII for specimens bred in 
captivity.
    34. Laundering of wild-caught specimens: Recommendation that the 
United States submit the issue of laundering of wild-caught animals as 
captive-bred as a separate agenda item at CoP17.
    35. Interval between CoPs: Proposal for an agenda item clarifying 
that CoPs should be 2 years apart, and that CoP18 should be held no 
later than October 2018.
    36. Unlisted species: Recommendation that the United States propose 
a process to facilitate the identification of unlisted species that may 
benefit from listing in the CITES Appendices.

Request for Information and Comments

    We invite information and comments concerning any of the proposed 
CoP17 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 a.m. 
to 4 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.
    There may be circumstances in which we would withhold from public 
review a respondent's name and/or address, 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, but we cannot guarantee 
that we will be able to do so. 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 CoP17 may request approval directly from the CITES 
Secretariat.

[[Page 75878]]

Persons wishing to be observers representing U.S. national non-
governmental organizations at CoP17 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 CoP17 to participate in CoP17 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 CoP17. 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 CoP17 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 
ADDRESSES above, or via email at: [email protected]; 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, including a 
meeting registration form and travel and hotel information. A list of 
organizations approved for observer status at CoP17 will be available 
upon request from the Division of Management Authority just prior to 
the start of CoP17.

Future Actions

    We expect the CITES Secretariat to provide us with a provisional 
agenda for CoP17 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 address. We will also provide the 
provisional agenda on our Web site at http://www.fws.gov/international/CITES/CoP17/index.html.
    The United States will submit any proposed resolutions, decisions, 
and agenda items, as well as any species proposals, for consideration 
at CoP17 to the CITES Secretariat 150 days prior to the start of the 
meeting (i.e., by April 27, 2016). We will consider all available 
information and comments we receive 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 August 26, 2015 (80 FR 
51830), we are considering all available information and comments we 
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 CoP17, 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 CoP17.
    Through an additional notice and Web site posting in advance of 
CoP17, 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 CoP17. We will also 
publish an announcement of a public meeting tentatively to be held 
approximately 2 to 3 months prior to CoP17, to receive public input on 
our positions regarding issues on the agenda for CoP17. The procedures 
for developing U.S. documents and negotiating positions for a meeting 
of the Conference of the Parties to CITES are outlined at 50 CFR 23.87. 
As noted at 50 CFR 23.87(c), 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 Bellis, Division 
of Management Authority.

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

    Dated: November 25, 2015.
Robert Dreher,
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-30593 Filed 12-3-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4333-15-P