TIR attends 18th CITES Conference of the Parties in Geneva
From August 17 to August 28, 2019, the 18th CITES Conference of the Parties was held in Geneva. For twelve days the Parties discussed the implementation and amendment of the Convention. Overall, TIR offers a positive summary of the conference: for many species already listed in CITES the protection has been increased, other species - such as giraffes - have been added to the CITES Appendices.
September 2, 2019
The CITES Conference of the Parties (CoP) is held every two to three years to review the implementation of the Convention. The Parties may review progress in the conservation of the species listed in the Appendices, evaluate (and, where appropriate, adopt) proposals to amend the lists of species in Appendices I and II, consider working documents and reports from the Parties, the Standing Committee, the Secretariat and working groups, and make recommendations for action to improve the effectiveness of the Convention. In addition, the Parties may make provisions that are necessary for the Secretariat to function effectively.
At this year's conference, around 101 working documents and 56 proposals to amend Appendices I and II were on the agenda (the full program of the conference can be found here). Many proposals to include animal species in the CITES Appendices or to strengthen the protective status of species were accepted, some even by consensus (i.e. without the need for a vote). From an animal and species protection point of view, this is a great success. For example, the signatory states decided to add giraffes to Appendix II and thus place the animals under the provisions of CITES for the first time. This means that it is now possible to monitor trade in giraffes more closely. The following species are now also covered by the CITES scope of
application or have had their protection status strengthened: Asian
small-clawed and smooth-coated otters, mako sharks, guitar- and
wedgefish, as well as three species of teatfish. Unfortunately, Costa
Rica's proposal to include glass frogs in Appendix II failed to achieve
the necessary two-thirds majority.
Moreover, various proposals concerning the protection status of African elephants were dealt with. Two proposals called for an easing and one proposal called for a strengthening of the protection of certain populations of African elephants.
Other proposals were adopted directly by consensus without the need for a vote; for example, the proposals on the Reeve's pheasant, the Black crowned-crane and many different reptile species (such as various lizards, turtles, newts, one species of snake and one species of iguana) for listing in CITES Appendix I or II. The protection of some invertebrates such as ornamental spiders and two species of butterflies was also accepted by consensus. Many of these species are threatened by the international pet trade. Their new or more stringent protection status is therefore of great importance. For species that are newly protected under CITES, reliable trade data in the countries of origin can now be collected and the necessary measures proposed. For species that have been upgraded to Appendix I, all trade for commercial purposes is henceforth banned.
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 first time at the CITES Conference of the Parties 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 effectively applied and consistently enforced.
- TIR Information Flyer No. 46 (currently only available in German)
- TIR Information Flyer No. 41 (currently only available in German)
- News Release of October 9, 2018: TIR attends meeting of CITES Standing Committee in Sochi, Russia
- News Release of February 23, 2018: Stop trade with wildlife and wildlife products (currently only available in German)