Final decision on Pernambuco at CITES CoP19

24th November 2022
Parties at the CITES Conference of the Parties (CoP19) in Panama have accepted a revised proposal on Paubrasilia echinata (Prop. 49). The revised proposal was accepted by Committee I yesterday where the proponent Brazil accepted the new Annotation and all speakers were in favour, including Australia.

The wood from this species, commonly known as Pernambuco, has been used to make stringed instrument bows for centuries. It continues to be used by musicians around the world and is still the preferred material for professional bows. Many of these bows are decades or even centuries old, so regulation of these products raises issues around travel for the purpose of repair by specialist bow makers, the impact on musicians’ substantial investments if trade is restricted, and certification.

The music industry is a willing partner in efforts to protect endangered species, and has developed a constructive approach to engaging with CITES processes. Bow makers are involved in an international conservation effort to establish plantations in Brazil.

On Thursday 17th November a number of parties including Brazil, US, EU, Australia and others agreed to form a working group to discuss revisions to the proposal, which was chaired by Argentina. Following this discussion, a revised proposal was taken to Committee I with a new Annotation under Appendix II. This is more restrictive than the current (pre-CoP19) Annotation #10, but less restrictive than the original proposal:

Maintain Paubrasilia echinata in Appendix II with the following annotation which would replace current Annotation #10:

All parts, derivatives and finished products, except re-export of finished musical instruments, finished musical instrument accessories and finished musical instrument parts.

At the Committee I meeting on 23rd November, Australia supported the revised proposal, saying it “balances the important need for protection with a workable and commensurate regulatory burden” and noted the important work that can be continued in the intersessional period.

This is the national tree of Brazil and its survival is very important so the industry can expect further efforts to conserve the species, including the specific recommendations of this proposal. This includes better monitoring of trade and stockpiles, exploring a mechanism to certify bows, efforts to stop illegal trade, not to mention the possibility of further changes to the CITES listing of Paubrasilia echinata in future.

The Australian Music Association appreciates the efforts of members, Australia’s delegates to CoP19, the Australian CITES Management Authority, and our colleagues from NAMM, Symphony Services Australia, Australian Violin Makers Association, other music stakeholder organisations, and in particular the League of American Orchestras.

Update: The final revised proposal was accepted at the plenary session on Friday 25th November.