Wider Caribbean Region Hawksbill Turtle Dialogue

15 May 2001 | News story

Communiqué: A first meeting of the Wider Caribbean Hawksbill Turtle Range State Dialogue was convened on 15-17 May 2001 in Mexico City. This meeting was attended by 34 States and Territories (see Annex) and focussed on issues relating to conservation and trade in hawksbill turtles in the Wider Caribbean region. The status of the species has generated extensive discussion at recent meetings of the Conference of the Parties to CITES. The meeting was convened in response to a consensus amongst the range States to provide an opportunity to make progress towards strengthening dialogue and co-operation in the region on issues of common concern. Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the World Wildlife Fund US provided the necessary finances. IUCN - The World Conservation Union and the CITES Secretariat served as facilitators for this meeting. Ms. Diana Ponce Nava, of Mexico, served as chairperson of the meeting.

The meeting reviewed the conservation status of hawksbill turtles, the biological aspects of hawksbill populations, status of trade in hawksbill turtle products, multilateral agreements for conservation of hawksbill turtles and the role of ranching and captive breeding. Countries reported on national legislation, recovery plans, conservation programmes, problems encountered and results of their scientific research.

The meeting agreed that:
- Critical knowledge gaps should be identified and standardised monitoring protocols developed for key parameters to monitor population trends and status.
- Monitoring of harvest and trade (legal and illegal, domestic and international) and their impacts on hawksbill populations should be improved in the wider Caribbean region.
- Different existing hawksbill turtle management programmes and policies in the wider Caribbean should be reviewed to assess their conservation impacts and relative benefits for hawksbill turtle population recovery.
- An effective hawksbill turtle conservation strategy and management plan should be established at a regional level taking into account the full range of national conservation objectives and development needs in the wider Caribbean.

A draft Resolution will be proposed for adoption at the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES in 2002, to facilitate government commitment to implement these conservation management recommendations.

The range States recognised that considerable and commendable progress had been achieved in resolving issues of common interest during this meeting. Appreciation was expressed for the cordial and friendly atmosphere maintained throughout this Dialogue meeting that should provide a strong basis for further deliberation and co-operation. The delegates agreed that further Dialogues should be held and the Government of the United Kingdom offered to host the next meeting in April or May 2002 in one of its Territories in the region.

Delegates concluded the meeting by thanking the convenors, the donors and the Government of Mexico for the facilities and support, which contributed to the success of the meeting. Delegates also expressed their appreciation to France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States for facilitating the attendance of their dependent territories at the Dialogue.

Annex
Participating countries and territories

Anguilla
Bahamas
Barbados
Belize
Bermuda
British Virgin Islands
Colombia
Costa Rica
Cuba
Dominican Republic
France
Grand Cayman
Guadeloupe
Guatemala
Haiti
Honduras
Jamaica
Japan
Martinique
Mexico
Netherlands
Netherlands Antilles
Nicaragua
Panama
Puerto Rico
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
Turks and Caicos Islands
United Kingdom
United States of America
US Virgin Islands
Venezuela