CITES CoP 2019: What is CITES, what does it do?

  1. A proposal by India, Nepal, and Bangladesh to move the smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) from CITES Appendix II to CITES Appendix I was approved. The other proposal made by India that was passed was to include the Tokay gecko (Gekko gecko) in CITES Appendix II.
  2. The decision was taken at the ongoing CoP 18 of CITES being held in Geneva, Switzerland.
  3. CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. It aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
  4. CITES was drafted after a resolution was adopted at a meeting of the members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 1963. The text of the Convention was agreed at a meeting in Washington, DC in 1973; the Convention. The Convention is therefore sometimes referred to as the Washington Convention. CITES entered into force in 1975. At present it has 183 countries.
  5. The Convention is legally binding on the Parties in the sense that they are committed to implementing it. It provides a framework for Parties to make domestic legislation to ensure that the Convention is implemented effectively in their national jurisdictions.
  6. Appendix I includes species threatened with extinction. Trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.
  7. Appendix II includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival.
  8. Appendix III contains species that are protected in at least one country, which has asked other CITES Parties for assistance in controlling the trade.