Belize Rosewood Listed On CITES

And moving unto another matter with regional implications, last night we told you about the CITES (Site-ease) meeting in Thailand - that's The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. News from the meeting says that Siam rosewood, Brazilian rosewood, and other rosewood species native to Central America were granted protection at the meeting.

But it wasn't clear if that includes Belize. Today, we had the opportunity to ask the Minister of Forestry - as she was receiving a donation of equipment. She said that Belize's Rosewood is now included under CITES regulations:

Hon. Lisell Alamilla - Minister of Forestry, Fisheries, and Sustainable Development
"Yes, it includes the rosewood found in Belize, Guatemala and Mexico. It is something that is important for the region, because what has been happening in regards to rosewood is happening in Nicaragua. It's happening in Mexico; Guatemala faced it a few years ago, and we, as you know, have been facing it in the past few years. This is an issue that is happening globally. That is why all the rose wood species; really across the world have been listed on appendix 2, because the demands especially from China for this valuable resources is contributing to high deforestation rates."

Jules Vasquez
"Explain, if you can, what it means to be listed in appendix 2 and how it changes business as usual."

Hon. Lisel Alamilla
"Well, what it really does is that it puts more focus on international trades - about international trades. Locally, we can do whatever we want, there's no penalty for us, but once we want to be involved in the international trade of rose wood, there's certain criteria or demands that are placed on us, and what is really required is mostly that we issue a sites certificate to say that we have sustainably harvested the rosewood. It doesn't impact at all the craft market; we can still sell rose wood bowls. People can still take them as gifts and they don't need a sites certificate, but any trade beyond that will require a permit from the forest department. It's no different than the way we manage mahogany, so it's not going to in anyway impact the sector or the trade of rosewood."

Rosewood exported from a country with a CITES requirement - will have to be accompanied by extensive documentation from authorities certifying that the timber was sustainably harvested.

In Belize, Rosewood Exports over the past few years have amounted to an estimated 12 million dollars in sales for the exporters and only $200,000 dollars in royalties for Government - this from 112 containers of Rosewood exported to China.

Channel 7