Public Consultation on Proposed Amendments to the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act
As part of the review of the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act (ESA), the Ministry of National Development (MND) and NParks held a public consultation between 12 November and 12 December 2021.
Major stakeholders such as traders, shipping companies, the Singapore Logistics Association, academic experts, and non-governmental organisations, were also consulted. Two engagement workshops were also conducted with members from the nature community, including youths.
What is the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act?
The ESA regulates the trade in Singapore of animal and plant species that are listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) agreement. You can find out more about our approach on CITES and Centre for Wildlife Forensics.
Findings from Public Consultation
More than 100 respondents participated in the month-long public consultation. There was strong public support on the proposed amendments to the ESA. The key findings are as follows:
A. Stronger enforcement powers to tackle illegal wildlife trade
Many respondents are supportive of the proposed amendments to strengthen enforcement powers. 87% of the respondents strongly agree or agree with the proposed amendments to enhance forfeiture provisions, such that items used to conceal and/or convey CITES species can be forfeited. This will serve as a strong deterrent and enforcement against illegal wildlife trade. There were suggestions to make buying of illegal wildlife products an offence as well.
There was also strong support for the proposed amendment to provide greater protection for informers, and suggestions to provide incentives as well to encourage more individuals to come forward and provide information regarding illegal wildlife trade.
B. Stiffer penalties for illegal trade in species protected under CITES
Respondents were supportive of stiffer penalties, with 73% of respondents strongly agreeing or agreeing with the proposed enhanced penalties of doubling fines and imprisonment term, and pegging the maximum aggregate fine to the market value of the CITES species. There were also suggestions for even stiffer penalties such as a longer imprisonment term.
C. Greater clarity for stakeholders on the scope of Singapore’s wildlife trade regulations
More than 80% of the respondents strongly agree or agree with the proposed amendments to provide greater clarity on the documentary requirements for CITES species in transit in Singapore. This amendment is to provide greater clarity for all stakeholders on what is allowed or not allowed under the ESA, and align the ESA more closely with CITES Resolutions.
On providing greater clarity on the regulation of waste products of animals, 63% of the respondents agree with the proposal. The proposal to exclude specific waste products from regulation is aligned with the CITES recommendation in CITES Resolution 9.6 (Trade in readily recognisable parts and derivatives), and only narrowly excludes urine, faeces or ambergris of CITES species, and not all waste products of animals. This means all other waste products of CITES species, excluding urine, faeces and ambergris, will still need to meet CITES requirements.
MND and NParks have reviewed the feedback, and consulted stakeholders on including relevant suggestions as part of the proposed amendments to the ESA. The Endangered Species (Import and Export) (Amendment) Bill was introduced in Parliament for First Reading on 9 May 2022.