Wednesday, January 17, 2018

img_2252The Seventeenth meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP17), to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) convened in Johannesburg, South Africa from Saturday 24 September and ended on Tuesday 4th October 2016.

COP 17 was the largest CITES meeting to date with more than 3,500 participants representing 152 governments, International organizations, non-governmental organizations and the media. Delegates considered 90 agenda items and 62 species-listing proposals submitted by 64 countries.

HISTORY OF CITES

CITES was formed as a response to growing concerns that over exploitation of wildlife through international trade was contributing to rapid decline of many species of plants and animals around the world. The convention was signed by representatives from 80 countries in Washington DC on 3rd March 1973, and entered into force on 1st July 1975. There are currently 183 parties to the convention.

The aim of CITES therefore is to ensure that international trade of wild animals and plant species does not threaten their survival. CITES parties regulate wildlife trade through controls and regulations on species listed in three appendices.

Appendix ILists species endangered due to International trade, permitting such trade only in exceptional circumstances.

Appendix IIspecies are those that may become endangered if their trade is not regulated, thus require controls aimed at preventive unsustainable use in maintaining ecosystems and preventing species from entering appendix I.

Appendix IIIspecies are those subject to domestic regulation by a partyrequesting the cooperation of other parties to control international trade in that species.

There are approximately 5600 fauna species and 30,000 flora species protected under the CITES appendices.

Parties regulate International trade of CITES species through a system of permits and certificates that are required before specimens listed in its appendices are imported, exported or introduced from the sea.

Each party is required to adopt national legislation and to designate two national Authorities, namely management Authorities, responsible for issuing these permits and certificates and a scientific Authority, responsible for providing advice. The two Authorities also assist with CITES enforcement through cooperation with customs police and other appropriate Agencies.

The operational bodies of CITES include the Standing Committee (SC) and two scientific committees; the Plants Committee (PC) and the Animals Committee (AC).

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