CITES COP 19 And It's Top 13 Interesting Facts- 13angle.com

United Nations Climate Change Conference CITES COP 19

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United Nations Climate Change Conference CITES COP 19- 13angle.com


  • The convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) is an international agreement between governments. CITES is one of the oldest and largest conservation and sustainable use agreements in existence. It helps to fight the extension crisis through wildlife trade regulations. The policy advocates for the sustainable use of wildlife and the conservation of wild species. CITES also known as Washington Convention, is a multilateral treaty to protect endangered plants and animals from the threats of international trade. It was drafted because of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The convention was opened for signature in 1973 and CITES entered into force on 1 July 1975. The CITES aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of plants and animals included under CITES, does not threaten the survival of the species in the wild. This is archived via a system of permits and certificates.

Mission Of CITES

  • CITES has 184 signatories called parties who collectively meet to renew the progress of species conservation, amend CITES regulations and review the challenges and success of implementing the legislation. A CITES COP is usually held every three years and is a critical meeting for wildlife conservation. The agenda covers a wide range of topics from policy-related topics to more specific species issues. The Parties of CITES are called a Conference of the Parties. The conference of the parties meets to review the implementation of the convention. The meeting is held every two to three years. These meetings last about two weeks and are usually hosted by one of the parties. The meetings are often referred to as Cops.

  • Objectives of CITES include;

  1. Recommend measures to improve the effectiveness of the convention
  2. Make provisions necessary to allow the secretariat to function effectively.
  3. Consider proposals to amend the lists of species in appendices I and II.
  4. Review progress in the conservation of species included in the Appendices.
  5. Consider discussion documents and reports from the parties, the permanent committees, the secretariat, and working groups.
  • The meetings give an opportunity for participants to make or renew relationships and to discuss problems and successes. Meetings of the conference are attended not only by delegations representing CITES parties but also by observers. These include representatives of the states that are not a party to CITES, of United Nations agencies, and of other international conventions. Observers from non-governmental organizations involved in conservations or trade can participate at the discretion of the parties. There are around 38,700 species protected by CITES, including roughly 5,950 species of animals and 32,800 species of plants. Plants and their products are regulated in international trade for uses such as health care, timber, ornament use, furniture, food, and cosmetics. Species are listed on one of three appendices (I, II, and III), with trade in those listed in Appendix I the most tightly regulated.

How CITES Works

How CITES works - 13angle.com
  • CITES works by questioning international trade in specimens of selected species to certain controls. All import, export, re-export, and introduction from the sea of species covered by the convention must be authorized through a licensing system. Each party to the convention must designate one or more management authorities in charge of administrating that licensing system and one or more scientific authorities to advise them on the effects of trade on the status of the species. According to the protection they need, the species covered by CITES are covered in appendices I, II, and III.  Appendix I includes species threatened with extension. Trade of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances. Appendix II includes species not necessarily threatened with extension, but in which trade must be controlled to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival. Being the superior decision-making body of the Convention and comprising all its parties, The Conference of the Parties (COP) has agreed in resolution on a stage of biological and trade criteria to help determine whether a species should be included in appendices I and II. At each consistent meeting of the CoP, Parties submit proposals based on those criteria to amend these two Appendices. Those amendment proposals are then submitted for a vote after discussion. Appendix III contains species that are protected in at least one country. A specimen of a CITES-listed species may be imported into or exported (or re-exported) from a State party to the Convention only if the appropriate document has been obtained and presented for clearance at the port of entry or exit. Appendix III is a list of species included at the request of a Party that already regulates trade in the species and that needs the cooperation of other countries to prevent unsustainable or illegal exploitation.

The CITES Appendices

  • Appendices I, II, and III to the Convention are lists of species afforded different levels or types of protection from over-exploitation.

 Appendix-I specimens

  1. An import permit issued by the Management Authority of the State of import is required. This may be issued only if the specimen is not to be used for primarily commercial purposes and if the import will be for purposes that are not detrimental to the survival of the species. In the case of a live animal or plant, the Scientific Authority must be satisfied that the proposed recipient is suitably equipped to house and care for it. 

  2. An export permit or re-export certificate issued by the Management Authority of the State of export or re-export is also required. An export permit may be issued only if the specimen was legally obtained; the trade will not be detrimental to the survival of the species, and an import permit has already been issued.

    A re-export certificate may be issued only if the specimen was imported in accordance with the provisions of the Convention and, in the case of a live animal or plant if an import permit has been issued.
    In the case of a live animal or plant, it must be prepared and shipped to minimize any risk of injury, damage to health or cruel treatment.

Appendix-II specimens

  1. An export permit or re-export certificate issued by the Management Authority of the State of export or re-export is required.
  2. An export permit may be issued only if the specimen was legally obtained and if the export will not be detrimental to the survival of the species.
  3. A re-export certificate may be issued only if the specimen was imported in accordance with the Convention. 
  4. In the case of a live animal or plant, it must be prepared and shipped to minimize any risk of injury, damage to health or cruel treatment. 
  5. No import permit is needed unless required by national law.

In the case of specimens introduced from the sea, a certificate has to be issued by the Management Authority of the State into which the specimens are being brought, for species listed in Appendix I or II.

Appendix-III specimens

  1. In the case of the trade from a State that included the species in Appendix III, an export permit issued by the Management Authority of that State is required. This may be issued only if the specimen was legally obtained and, in the case of a live animal or plant if it will be prepared and shipped to minimize any risk of injury, damage to health or cruel treatment. 
  2. In the case of export from any other State, a certificate of origin issued by its Management Authority is required. 
  3. In the case of re-export, a re-export certificate issued by the State of re-export is required

Exemptions And Special Procedure

  • In its Article VIII, the Convention allows or requires Parties to make certain exceptions to the general principles described above, notably in the following cases:
  1. for specimens in transit or being transshipped;
  2. for specimens that were acquired before CITES provisions applied to them known as pre-Convention specimens;
  3. for specimens that are personal or household effects
  4. for animals that were ‘bred in captivity
  5. for plants that were ‘artificially propagated’;
  6. for specimens that are destined for scientific research
  7. for animals or plants forming part of a traveling collection or exhibition, such as a circus
  • There are special rules in these cases and a permit or certificate will generally still be required. Anyone planning to import or export/re-export specimens of a CITES species should contact the national CITES Management Authorities of the countries of import and export/re-export for information on the rules that apply.

  • When a specimen of a CITES-listed species is transferred between a country that is a Party to CITES and a country that is not, the country that is a Party may accept documentation equivalent to the permits and certificates described above.

Amendments And Reservations

  • Amendments to the Convention must be supported by a two-thirds majority who are “present and voting” and can be made during an extraordinary meeting of the COP if one-third of the Parties are interested in such a meeting. The Gaborone Amendment (1983) allows regional economic blocs to accede to the treaty. Trade with non-Party states is allowed, although permits and certificates are recommended to be issued by exporters and sought by importers.

  • Species in the Appendices may be proposed for addition, change of Appendix, or de-listing (i.e., deletion) by any Party, whether it is a range State, and changes may be made despite objections by range States if there is enough (2/3 majority) support for the listing. Species listings are made at the Conference of Parties.

  • Upon acceding to the Convention or within 90 days of a species listing being amended, Parties may make reservations. In these cases, the party is treated as being a state that is not a Party to CITES with respect to trade in the species concerned. Notable reservations include those by Iceland, Japan, and Norway on various baleen whale species and those on Falconiformes by Saudi Arabia.

  • As of 2002, 50% of Parties lacked one or more of the four major CITES requirements – designation of Management and Scientific Authorities; laws prohibiting the trade in violation of CITES; penalties for such trade, and laws providing for the confiscation of specimens. Though the Convention itself does not provide arbitration or dispute in the case of non-compliance, 36 years of CITES in practice has resulted in several strategies to deal with infractions by Parties. The Secretariat, when informed of an infraction by a Party, will notify all other parties. The Secretariat will give the Party time to respond to the allegations and may provide technical assistance to prevent further infractions. Other actions the Convention itself does not provide for but that derive from subsequent COP resolutions may be taken against the offending Party. These include:

  1. Mandatory confirmation of all permits by the Secretariat
  2. Suspension of cooperation from the Secretariat
  3. A formal warning
  4. A visit by the Secretariat to verify the capacity
  5. Recommendations to all Parties to suspend CITES-related trade with the offending party
  6. Dictation of corrective measures to be taken by the offending Party before the Secretariat will resume cooperation or recommend resumption of trade
  • Bilateral sanctions have been imposed based on national legislation Infractions may include negligence with respect to permit issuing, excessive trade, tax enforcement, and failure to produce annual reports.

Biodiversity Conservation

  • General limitations about the structure and philosophy of CITES include: by design and intent it focuses on trade at the species level and does not address habitat loss, ecosystem approaches conservation, or poverty; it seeks to prevent unsustainable use rather than promote sustainable use, although this has been changing. It does not explicitly address market demand. In fact, CITES listings have been demonstrated to increase financial speculation in certain markets for high-value species. Funding does not provide for increased on-the-ground enforcement.

  • There has been increasing willingness within the Parties to allow for trade in products from well-managed populations. For instance, South African white rhino sales have generated revenues that helped pay for protection. Listing the species in Appendix I increased the price of rhino horn, but the species survived wherever there was adequate on-the-ground protection. Thus, field protection may be the primary mechanism that saved the population, but it is likely that field protection would not have been increased without CITES protection. In another instance, the United States initially stopped exports of bobcat and lynx hides in 1977 when it first implemented CITES for lack of data to support no detriment findings. However, in this Federal Register notice, issued by William Yancey Brown, the U.S. Endangered Species Scientific Authority (ESSA) established a framework of no detriment findings for each state and the Navajo nation and indicated that approval would be forthcoming if the states and Navajo nation provided evidence that their furbearer management programs assured the species would be conserved. Management programs for these species expanded rapidly, including tagging for export, and are currently recognized in program approvals under regulations of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

  • By design, CITES regulates and monitors trade in the manner of a “negative list” such that trade in all species is permitted and unregulated unless the species in question appears on the Appendices or looks very much like one of those taxa. Then and only then, trade is regulated or constrained. Because the remit of the Convention covers millions of species of plants and animals, and tens of thousands of these taxa are the potential of economic value, in practice this negative list approach effectively forces CITES signatories to expend limited resources on just a select few, leaving many species to be traded with neither constraint nor review. For example, recently several birds classified as threatened with extinction appeared in the legal wild bird trade because the CITES process never considered their status. If a “positive list” approach were taken, only species evaluated and approved for the positive list would be permitted in trade, thus lightening the review burden for member states and the Secretariat and preventing inadvertent legal trade threats to poorly known species. During the coronavirus Pandemic in 2020, CEO Ivonne Higuero noted that illegal wildlife trade not only helps to destroy habitats, but these habitats create a safety barrier for humans that can prevent pathogens from animals from passing themselves on to people. Specific weaknesses in the text include: it does not stipulate guidelines for the ‘non-detriment’ finding required of national Scientific Authorities; non-detriment findings require copious amounts of information; the ‘household effects’ clause is often not rigid enough/specific enough to prevent CITES violations by means of this Article (VII); non-reporting from Parties means Secretariat monitoring is incomplete, and it has no capacity to address domestic trade in listed species. To ensure that the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was not violated, the Secretariat of GATT was consulted during the drafting process.


  • The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) is held every three years. The 19th meeting of the CITES took place in Panama City from November 14 to November 25th of the year 2022. Panama submitted its peer-reviewed paper in 2022. The paper concluded that; the need for a precautionary approach, as enshrined in the CITES Convention text. Two of these species (the lost and Pondicherry sharks) are possibly already extinct because of overfishing, in part driven by trade. A current lack of trade evidence should not have precluded analysis of their declines, given that any remaining trade could only continue at extremely low levels but might still threaten the survival of any remaining populations. the need for a precautionary approach, as enshrined in the CITES Convention text. Two of these species (the lost and Pondicherry sharks) are possibly already extinct because of overfishing, in part driven by trade. A current lack of trade evidence should not have precluded analysis of their declines, given that any remaining trade could only continue at extremely low levels but might still threaten the survival of any remaining populations. Panama firmly believes that if any shark species is thought to be in the international trade in high-value products (such as shark fin) and is an Endangered or Critically Endangered species (the status of all 19-lead species in this proposal), then the CITES listing criteria in Annex 2 are met. At that level of population depletion, even small amounts of trade could be detrimental to these species’ survival.

  • Most of the limited number of studies of the fin trade is from one location, Hong Kong SAR, which is the largest but not the only global fin trade hub. We know fins from all 19-lead species in proposal 37 are valuable, and therefore likely to also be present in fin markets elsewhere, even if they are not currently observed in Hong Kong-based surveys. Furthermore, it is inevitable that only small quantities of the more threatened species could possibly be present in trade, due to stock depletion from overfishing and inadequate management. Species that have suffered declines to a level where they are Critically Endangered may also still occur in trade, but at levels, that may not be detected by limited studies. Panama notes that the data collected in this study represent the best, and the most up-to-date, analysis of the global trade in shark fins at its hub. The researchers found that over 100 species are present in the shark fin trade, that requiem sharks make up the core of this trade, and they suggested that CITES Appendix II listings may well aid in their conservation and prevent the extinction of range-limited coastal species.

IUCN/TRAFFIC Summary Of The Analyses Of The Proposals To Amend The Cites Appendices At The 19th Meeting Of The Conference Of The Parties

  • Production of the 2022 IUCN/TRAFFIC Analyses of the Proposals to Amend the CITES Appendices was made possible through the support of the following parties;
  1. The European Union
  2. Canada – Environment and Climate Change Canada
  3. Finland – Ministry of the Environment
  4. France – Ministry of the Ecological and Inclusive Transition
  5. Foundation Franklinia
  6. Germany – Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety
  7. Monaco – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation
  8. Netherlands – Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality
  9. Spain – Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism
  10. Sweden – Scientific Authority of CITES– Swedish Environmental Protection Agency
  11. Switzerland – Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office, Federal Department of Home Affairs
  12. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – Department for Environment, Food and
  13. The United States of America – S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  14. WWF International

1. IUCN – International Union for Conservation of Nature is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it. IUCN is a membership Union composed of both government and civil society organizations. It harnesses the experience, resources and reaches of its more than 1,400 Member organizations and the input of more than 15,000 experts.

2. The IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC), the largest of IUCN’s six commissions, has over 10,500 species experts recruited through its network of 168 groups (Specialist Groups, Task Forces, and groups focusing solely on Red List assessments). Biodiversity loss is one of the world’s most pressing crises, with many species’ populations declining to critical levels. SSC is dedicated to halting this decline in biodiversity and providing an unmatched source of information and advice to influence conservation outcomes, as well as contribute to international conventions and agreements dealing with biodiversity conservation.

3. TRAFFIC is a non-governmental organization working globally on trade in wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. TRAFFIC plays a unique and leading role as a global wildlife trade specialist, with a team of over 170 staff working on five continents carrying out research, investigations, and analysis to compile the evidence needed to catalyze action by governments, businesses, and individuals, in collaboration with a wide range of partners, towards the shared goal of reducing the pressure of unsustainable trade on wild species.

4. CITATION: IUCN and TRAFFIC (2022). IUCN/TRAFFIC Analyses of the Proposals to Amend the CITES Appendices. Prepared by IUCN Global Species Programme and TRAFFIC for the Nineteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES. IUCN – International Union for Conservation of Nature, Gland, Switzerland.

  • Under the IUCN/TRAFFIC, there are a total of 28 proposals for COP 19. These include; the transfer of the Hippopotamus, the transfer of southern white rhino, different varieties of turtles and lizards, Thai crocodiles, and the transfer of the population of broad-snouted Caiman Latirostris of Brazil.  

  • Knowledge and understanding of the socio-economic drivers of wildlife exploitation are fundamental for maintaining CITES as an effective regulatory system. Unless this knowledge is robust, impartial, and comprehensive, implementation of measures aimed at eliminating (or at least controlling) wildlife over-exploitation will not be effective. A key element to consider in CITES implementation is the role of wildlife trade in CITES-listed species in the livelihoods of people living close to wildlife.

  • Parties to CITES have recognized the need to consider the potential impacts of CITES-listing decisions on the livelihoods of indigenous peoples and rural communities (IPLCs) and acknowledged that effective implementation of CITES listing decisions can form a part of a strategy to promote sustainable livelihoods for rural communities. In furtherance of this recognition, at CoP18 decisions were adopted inviting Parties to conduct new case studies that demonstrate how sustainable use of CITES-listed species might contribute to the livelihoods of indigenous peoples and local communities (Dec. 18.33), and directing the Standing Committee (Dec. 18.34) to establish an inter-sessional working group on CITES and livelihoods to monitor progress and review the report of the Secretariat on progress with its implementation of Dec. 18.35. Decision 18.35 directed the Secretariat to, inter alia, support the collation or conduct of new case studies, commission an independent review of relevant case studies on CITES and livelihoods and prepare guidance on how to maximize the benefits to IPLCs of CITES implementation and trade in CITES-listed species.

  • The studies on benefits to IPLCs from trade in CITES-listed species include twelve published case studies (hereafter referred to as the Case Studies). Out of these, nine are summarized reviews of previous case studies and reports, shortened and edited in a biased.

  • In ten cases, the studies provide information on activities based on the consumptive use fashion of wildlife and two cases consider non-lethal exploitation (Vicuña fibre and the harvest of aloe leaves). Another 27 unpublished CITES and livelihoods case studies are referred to and discussed in the draft Guidance but are not made available. In general, the Case Studies concentrate and summarize very useful information on cases of exploitation of CITES-listed wild species by IPLCs in a diversity of contexts and countries. However, the quality and format of reporting are highly heterogeneous. The way in which the information was collected (based on a standard template) and processed has biases and problems derived mostly from the design of the standard format and the orientation of editors while summarizing previous studies.

Some Key Events Of CITES COP 19

  1. Saving plants that save lives: risks and opportunities of trade in medicinal and aromatic plants
  2. 9-step guidance for Plant Non-detriment Findings (NDFs)
  3. Edible Orchids
  4. Agarwood
  5. Sharks and Seagulls.
  6. Rhinos and Hippos, etc.

Dates And Venues Of The Meetings Of The Conference Of The Parties


Panama City (Panama), 14 – 25 November 2022


Geneva (Switzerland), 17-28 August 2019


Johannesburg (South Africa), 24 September – 4 October 2016


Bangkok (Thailand), 3-14 March 2013


Doha (Qatar), 13-25 March 2010


The Hague (the Netherlands), 3-15 June 2007


Bangkok (Thailand), 2-14 October 2004


Santiago (Chile), 3-15 November 2002


Gigiri (Kenya), 10-20 April 2000


Harare (Zimbabwe), 9-20 June 1997


Fort Lauderdale (United States of America), 7-18 November 1994


Kyoto (Japan), 2-13 March 1992


Lausanne (Switzerland), 9-20 October 1989


Ottawa (Canada), 12-24 July 1987


Buenos Aires (Argentina), 22 April – 3 May 1985


Gaborone (Botswana), 19-30 April 1983


New Delhi (India), 25 February – 8 March 1981


San José (Costa Rica), 19-30 March 1979


Bern (Switzerland), 2-6 November 1976

From 2005 to 2009 the legal trade corresponded with these numbers

  1. 317,000 live birds
  2. More than 2 million live reptiles
  3. 5 million crocodile skins
  4. 1 million snake skins
  5. 73 tons of caviar
  6. 1 million beaver skins
  7. Millions of pieces of coral
  8. 20,000 mammalian hunting trophies
  • In the 1990s the annual trade of legal animal products was $160 billion annually. In 2009 the estimated value almost doubled to $300 billion.

Top 13 Interesting Facts About CITES

  1. CITES is an international agreement to which States and regional economic integration organizations adhere voluntarily.

  2. The convention was opened for signature in 1973 and CITES entered into force on 1 July 1975.

  3. Its aim is to ensure that international trade (import/export) in specimens of animals and plants included under CITES, does not threaten the survival of the species in the wild.

  4. States that have agreed to be bound by the Convention are known as Parties.

  5. CITES has been among the conservation agreements with the largest membership for many years

  6. CITES was drafted because of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of the IUCN

  7. The text of the Convention was finally agreed upon at a meeting of representatives of 80 countries in Washington, D.C., United States of America, on 3 March 1973, and on 1 July 1975 CITES entered into force

  8. The origin of the Convention was deposited with the Depositary Government in the English, French, and Spanish languages, each version being equally authentic.

  9. CITES Parties first adopted a Strategic Vision in 2005 and an accompanying Action Plan at the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties

  10. The Conference of the Parties, at its 14th meeting (The Hague, 2007), adopted a new CITES Strategic Vision: 2008-2013 through Resolution Conf. 14.2.

  11. This Resolution was replaced at the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (Bangkok, 2013) by Resolution Conf. 16.3 which extended it to 2020 and added some amendments to reference the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

  12. The CITES Convention includes provisions and rules for trade with non-Parties. All member states of the United Nations are party to the treaty, except for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Federated States of Micronesia, Haiti, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, South Sudan, East Timor, Turkmenistan, and Tuvalu.

  13. The CITES Committees (Animals Committee, Plants Committee, and Standing Committee) hold meetings during each year that do not have a CoP, while the Standing committee meets also in years with a CoP.

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