TIR attends meeting of CITES Standing Committee in Sochi, Russia
The CITES Standing Committee held its meeting in Sochi, Russia, from October 1 to October 5, 2018. More than 600 representatives of governments and organizations (IGOs and NGOs) discussed the regulation of international trade in endangered animal and plant species. Many animal species are either endangered or at risk of extinction as a result of the growing international trade in live animals and animal products.
October 9, 2018
The Standing Committee provides guidance to the CITES Secretariat on the implementation of the Convention and monitors the development and implementation of the Secretariat's budget. CITES is funded by the CITES Trust Fund and member states are encouraged to make further financial contributions. For the period 2019-2022, Switzerland pledged a financial contribution of one million Swiss francs per year to support CITES.
At the 70th meeting of the Standing Committee in Sochi, issues such as compliance with and enforcement of the convention, trade in ivory, and Japan's trade in strictly protected sei whales - among many other issues - were on the agenda. The entire conference programme can be viewed here.
The Standing Committee discussed a number of issues relating to ivory trade, including the closure of national ivory markets. Legal markets allow illegal ivory to be smuggled and traded through these channels. The Standing Committee also suggested the importance of identifying ivory range and consumer countries through forensic investigations and other instruments, so that effective action can be taken in the problem countries identified.
Japan was already criticized last year at the 69th meeting of the Standing Committee for its commercial trade in strictly protected sei whales, which is why the situation regarding Japan's sei whaling was discussed again at this year's conference. The Standing Committee concluded that the country had not taken any remedial action since then. Nevertheless, the Standing Committee again refrained from imposing sanctions against Japan as Japan promised to delay the departure of its research vessels (the sei whales are hunted and killed under the objection of research) until the 71st meeting of the Standing Committee and to refrain from issuing IFS certificates by the competent Japanese authority. The Standing Committee requested that Japan report to the CITES Secretariat on remedial actions taken by February 1, 2019 so that the Standing Committee can discuss them at its next meeting.
TIR has been dealing with the issues of poaching and trade in live animals, hunting trophies and illegally purchased animal products such as ivory and rhino horn since 2015. Tackling the immense animal welfare and species conservation problem requires not only legal know-how but also good networking and a constant exchange of information. This is TIR's third time at the Standing Committee meeting as an observer (see news releases of January 21, 2016, and of December 15, 2017) and it intends to continue following the work of the CITES bodies closely. With the help of CITES, the worldwide trade in endangered species and products thereof can be reduced significantly. This can only be achieved if the CITES provisions are applied and enforced effectively.
- TIR Information Flyer Nr. 41 (currently only available in German)
- News Release of February 23, 2018: Stop trade with wildlife and wildlife products (currently only available in German)
- News Release of December 7, 2016: Illegal trade with endangered species – For harsher penalties (currently only available in German)