Analysis February 2023: Problems with pernambuco


The CITES CoP19 conference brought the pernambuco situation into sharp focus. How can the music community take the issue forward into the future?

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The plight of pernambuco wood was brought into sharp focus in November at the 19th Conference of the Parties (CoP) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Panama City. Representatives from Brazil, where illegal trafficking and the destruction of the Atlantic rainforest continue to threaten the species, had proposed lifting pernambuco from its existing CITES Appendix II listing into the much more restrictive Appendix I. The international music sector, while strongly supporting Brazil’s concerns, advocated against this nuclear option, which would have brought severe repercussions for trade and travel, requiring musicians to obtain CITES permits to take their bows across borders. After intense discussions at CoP19, Brazil modified its proposal and a revised Appendix II listing means that any finished bow coming out of Brazil – and no longer just raw wood and bow blanks – will need CITES documentation for its initial shipment; after that, it is free to cross borders and be traded without permits. The strings trade now has three years before the next CoP to work with Brazilian authorities, CITES, international partners and governments on starting to make progress on a number of fronts…

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