At each of its meetings, the Conference of the Parties to CITES considers problems of implementation of the Convention and its effectiveness. The results of its deliberations are in the form of recommendations (Article XI, paragraph 3) that are recorded either in Resolutions or in Decisions of the Conference of the Parties.
The Resolutions are generally intended to provide long-standing guidance. The Decisions, however are of a different nature. Typically they contain instructions to a specific committee or to the Secretariat. This means that they are to be implemented, often by a specified time, and then become out of date.
The Decisions of the Conference of the Parties did not exist as a separate series of recommendations until the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (Fort Lauderdale, 1994). The first list of Decisions, presented for adoption at that meeting, was compiled from all of the recommendations that had previously been adopted but had not been recorded in Resolutions, and from instructions that had been included in Resolutions but had not yet been implemented. The aim was to make these texts more accessible by compiling them in a single document.
A document containing all valid Decisions is compiled by the Secretariat after each meeting of the Conference of the Parties [see Resolution Conf. 4.6 (Rev. CoP16), second DIRECTS, paragraph b), and the list of Decisions in effect]. Decisions that have been implemented or that have become redundant are deleted by the Secretariat.
In 2003, the Secretariat introduced a system of numbering for Decisions equivalent to that used for Resolutions. Thus all Decisions adopted at the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (Bangkok, 2013) begin with the number 16. Decisions that were adopted at previous meetings and that remain in effect have been included in the list of Decisions in effect with the number that was originally given to them. Decisions that were revised at the 16th meeting of the Conference have retained their original number but with the addition of "(Rev. CoP16)".
Decisions that are in effect after the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties are also available here in Word and PDF format.