Endangered Species Scientific Commission (ESSC)
The role of the Scientific Authority in China
The Scientific Authority (SA) to CITES in China is performed by the Endangered Species Scientific Commission (ESSC) affiliated to the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The SA China is able to advise the Management Authority (MA) on the export of CITES Appendix I and II specimens as well as on the import of Appendix I specimens. This advice is binding to decisions of the MA. For other species including nationally protected species, the SA provides advice when consulted by the MA. There are currently 34 members with different backgrounds such as botanist, ichthyologists, herpetologists, ornithologists, mammalogists, geneticists, administrators, ecologists, behaviorists, etc., who have expertise on species of different taxonomic groups of interest to CITES. ESSC also has a Consulting Specialist Pool of more than 120 members.
Structure of SA China (ESSC)
Main tasks of SA China (ESSC)
(1)Scientific Consulting Species status consulting;
- Species identification;
- Case study;
- NDF of Trade;
(2) Administration of scientific issues Translation of CITES documents;
- Editing Chinese CITES Scientific Newsletters;
- Maintenance of the website of ESSC;
- CITES SA China Office issues;
(3)Meetings; International CITES meetings;
- Domestic meetings;
- Proposals to CoP.
Non-detriment findings in China
For the export of Appendix I and II specimens and the import of Appendix I specimens, non-detriment findings are normally made by SA members appointed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Non-detrimental findings of importation and exportation were conducted under de facto procedure and standard in different categories. Processes of NDF conducted the SA China is classified into three Categories.
- Category A: including the importing or exporting of captive propagated Appendix species and specimens harvested before the CITES came into effort in the country, such a NDF normally takes one day;
- Category B: the background and source of exportation and importation of CITES Appendix species are not clear, ESSC member, other biologists and competent authorities are also consulted by the ESSC Office, when it is necessary site inspection is organized by ESSC Office, a NDF reported will be written. Such a NDF will be finished within 10 days.
- Category C: normally involves of periodic review of significant trade and task specific NDF, such a NDF normally takes three weeks.
All NDF are signed by the Executive Director of ESSC then pass to MA China. The National Forestry Bureau is responsible for conservation and management of most CITES listed species and some specialized issues such as trophy hunting. Their comments on the status of species in trade are very helpful to the SA in making non-detriment findings.
In the year 2011, ESSC had fulfilled a review of the status and significant trade of oriental rat snake (Ptyas mucosus) in China, and findings of captive breeding Amur sturgeon (Acipenser schrenckii) and caviar exportation.
ESSC has launched a scientific project in assessing resources status and studying threatened mechanism of significant species listed in CITES Appendices in China since latter half of 2011.
Besides the regular activities mentioned above, SA China organzied
1. In November, 2011, ESSC convoked a workshop discussion the role of climate change on CITES provision and listed species. Ideas and suggestions were summarized and questionnaire were responded to the CITES Joint Intersessional Workgroup on Climate Change (CC WG).
2. Feb. 20-21,2012, NDF Workshop in China, organized by SA China and MA China, participated by 26 specialists. The CITES NDF Workshop of China selected case studies in emblematic species, and reviewed the status, conservation policy, sustainable use and trading in ornamental orchids, Cistanche spp., agarwoods, sturgeons, sharks, Yangtze alligator, turtle and tortoise, and musk deer. Discussion topics particularly concern on artificial propagation of orchids, Cistanche and agarwood, fishery and regulatory policy of sharks, captive breeding of sturgeon and alligator, inventories registration of musk, threatened status of Chinese turtles and methodology of CITES NDF in China.
3. A joint meeting of SA China and MA China was held in February.
4. The 12th Annual Meeting of ESSC was held on 22nd of February.
5. ESSC maintains a website and publishes quarterly newsletter to establish the Chinese scientific information platform for conserving endangered species, enhancing consciousness of sustainable use of wildlife resources, strengthening the linkages between the various agencies involved in executing CITES, and providing suggestions and advice in implementation of CITES.
6. The Endangered Species Scientific Newsletter introduces the Chinese scientific and conservation status of endangered species, CITES implementation of the Convention, as well as work of relevant agencies. Newsletter becomes an important scientific information platform increasingly, by sending free printings to the government officials involved in species conservation, relevant researchers, institutions and enterprises. It is also have more impact on the public who is interested in the area of protection of endangered species, with its electronic files sending through e-mail, webpage updates, etc.