Enhancement of the CITES Virtual College Information Centre into a research centre

The CITES Virtual College collects information on CITES through its Information Centre to support online courses and provide general and better disseminate information on the Convention.  In addition, it uses the Centre to compile identification materials on CITES species submitted by Parties. A variety of other materials  are also available in the Information Centre, including CITES publications, research articles,  case studies and graduate theses completed under the masters Master's course on Management, Access and Conservation of Species in Trade: the International Framework at the International University of Andalusia in Baeza, Spain.

The Secretariat is expanding the scope of the Information Centre to better serve Parties and the research community. Among steps to enhance the Centre is the inclusion of studies and reports made possible thought different projects and initiatives.  Spearheading this initiative are publications made possible through the project Strengthening CITES implementation capacity of developing countries to ensure sustainable wildlife management and non-detrimental trade which was generously supported by the European Union.

Currently, five publications covering a wide array of topics are available. Additional reports and studies will be added to the collection in the next few weeks.

“This small but well defined initiative will improve on the dissemination CITES-related information and provide the CITES community with up-to-date research materials to better inform and support CITES-related activities” stated CITES Secretary-General, John E. Scanlon.

Plans are underway to develop a section hosting materials on non-detriment findings and also on new technologies relevant to CITES.  An online catalogue of materials will complement the collection by allowing users to more easily search, locate and retrieve information.

The Secretariat also notes that an Enforcement Information Centre was developed to support the Training course for enforcement officers and information module for prosecutors and the judiciary. Due to the subject matter of the course and accompanying reading materials in the Enforcement Centre, enrolment is restricted to CITES Authorities, enforcement and Customs officials, and other officials involved in the enforcement of wildlife laws and regulations.

The Secretariat encourages Parties to submit CITES-related studies and other materials for inclusion in the Information Centre.