Brazil recently put forward a proposal to move its indigenous tree that produces the only wood in the world used for string instrument bow manufacture to a CITES Appendix I listing.
This would have meant trade and movement of bows made from Pernambuco would have been subject to restrictions and Musical Instrument Certificates (MIC’s) affecting thousands of musicians in the UK and millions across the globe. It would also have seen the decimation of the bow making industry.
The MU, alongside the ISM and ABO – surveyed its members and lobbied the Government and UK authorities to oppose this proposal. At the meeting of the CITES parties in Panama in November 2022, the UK together with strong representation from other global partners such as International Federation of Musicians (FIM) and the American League of Orchestras, alongside numerous other countries and musical stakeholders, spoke against the proposal.
The MU was informed late last week that the original proposal had been rejected and that Pernambuco remains on an Appendix II listing – which means commercial and non-commercial movement of Pernambuco bows can continue to take place without the need for stricter controls.
The issue of the ongoing need to conserve the stocks in Brazil also formed an important part of the new proposal and work will be undertaken to ensure the illegal trade in Pernambuco is halted and stocks and trees are managed properly. All Pernambuco products, namely bows, logs, and unfinished timber (blanks) leaving Brazil for the first time, will be subject to controls. We will continue to monitor the situation.
The MU is delighted at this outcome which is a demonstration of effective collaboration between UK stakeholders and those further afield.
Dave Webster, Head of International for the MU says:
"This is a significant victory for musicians right across the globe. My thanks go to MU members who responded to our survey. This outcome provides real peace of mind for our members and all musicians with Pernambuco bows. Thanks to the ABO, ISM and UK Music and international colleagues, DEFRA and APHA. All of whom who fought hard to protect musicians and their instruments."