Magazine article International Musician

Permit Requirements Eased for Musical Instruments Made from Endangered Species Materials

Magazine article International Musician

Permit Requirements Eased for Musical Instruments Made from Endangered Species Materials

Article excerpt

A consortium of nearly 200 organizations agreed recently to ease restrictions on the buying, selling, or transportation of musical instruments made from endangered species materials across international borders. The actions, approved at the gathering of 183 parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) at the Conference of the Parties (C0PI8) in Geneva, will improve the mobility of performing artists, redirect enforcement resources to support conservation, and facilitate international cultural activity.

For orchestras and individual musicians seeking to buy and sell instruments across borders, or to travel internationally for performances, CITES sets some limitations and requires permits for instruments containing material from species under protected status, such as rosewood, lizards, sea turtles, and elephants. At C0PI8, treaty negotiators considered new rules related to items containing rosewood, cedrela, and mammoth ivory, and improvements to the Musical Instrument Certificate in use by touring orchestras.

Delegates from the US, Canada, the European Union, the CITES Secretariat, World Resources Institute, and the World Wildlife Fund International all spoke in support of policy changes during the August 28 vote.

The following improvements were adopted:

Rosewood: A proposal was adopted to allow all commercial and non-commercial movement of finished musical instruments, parts, and accessories that contain rosewood (the dalbergia genus) to be exempt from CITES permit requirements, aside from Brazilian rosewood (dalbergia nigra), which has been under tighter restrictions since 1992, and will remain subject to permit requirements. The exemption will take effect 90 days after adoption, in late November 2019.

This represents a significant relief for musicians that buy and sell instruments containing rosewood internationally. This also adds certainty for musicians and orchestras traveling with instruments that contain rosewood. These instruments will be fully exempt from permit requirements.

In the course of discussions among a variety of stakeholders, a consensus emerged confirming that conservation goals are not furthered by requiring finished musical instruments, parts, and accessories to repeatedly undergo permit processes. However, the rosewood material used in making musical instruments will remain subject to permit requirements; this conservation effort was supported by stakeholders.

Cedrela: A proposal related to newly listing Cedrela (a tree species used in making some classical guitars) was amended to exclude finished musical instruments containing the wood from new CITES permit requirements. The exemption will take effect 12 months after adoption, in late August 2020. …

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