Review of international trade in wild and captive-bred animals, future zoonotic disease emergence among discussion topics for upcoming CITES meeting

Updated on 12 July 2023


Geneva, 15 June 2023 – In the early years of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) (1975-1989), a staggering 96 per cent of internationally traded animals were taken from the wild. Now, 50 years after the signing of the Convention, the majority of international trade in animals is in specimens from captive-produced sources (e.g., reptiles for skins, and birds and ornamental fish for pets).

Oophaga histrionica - Harlequin Poison Frog_Quimbaya via FlickrTrade in captive-bred animals is one of the many issues up for discussion at the upcoming 32nd Meeting of the CITES Animals Committee to take place 19 – 23 June 2023 in Geneva, Switzerland. This is the first meeting of the Animals Committee following the 19th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP19) held in Panama City, Panama, in November 2022 and follows the 26th Meeting of the CITES Plants Committee held two weeks earlier (5 – 9 June 2023).

At the time of writing, 65 Governments and 73 observer organizations have registered for this week-long meeting, with a total of 347 individuals expected to participate in the meeting’s discussions. There is perceptible enthusiasm as this is the first in-person Animals Committee meeting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero said: “Presented with considerable mandates from our recent meeting of the Conference of the Parties, this meeting promises to feature fruitful discussions not only on a broad range of fauna species-specific issues, but also opportunity areas for synergy with last year’s historic biodiversity conservation achievements. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of CITES this year, the Secretariat looks forward to welcoming, in person again, the Animals Committee members and observer participants to Geneva from around the world to provide their highly specialized scientific and technical insight on sustainable international trade in wild fauna.”

For the first time since 2017, the Committee will select new cases for review under both the Review of Significant Trade (RST) Resolution (for the review of wild species which may be subject to unsustainable levels of international trade and recommendations) and the Captive Breeding Resolution (for the review of trade in animal specimens reported as produced in captivity).

Whale shark_Aimee Nicholson-Jack

Terrestrial and aquatic species to be discussed are inter alia: sharks and rays (Elasmobranchii spp.), West African vultures (Accipitridae spp.), Pangolins (Manis spp.) and Saiga antelopes (Saiga tatarica). Experts will also consider the outcomes from the 2nd Meeting of the Joint CITES-CMS African Carnivores Initiative (ACI) held in Entebbe, Uganda (1 – 4 May 2023), which include recommendations adopted by ACI range States that link to decisions on African lions (Panthera leo) and Leopards (Panthera pardus).

At both the Animals and Plants Committee meetings being held this year in June, Members and observers are reviewing emerging operational matters of the committees, alignment between the CITES Strategic Vision 2021-2030 and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, sustainability criteria, known as non-detriment findings (NDFs), and the scientific aspects of the IPBES report on the Assessment of the Sustainable Use of Wild Species. Several overlapping issues discussed at the Plants Committee meeting will also be on the agenda; for example, species at risk of extinction, higher taxon listings in the Appendices and specimens produced through biotechnology.

First established in 1987 at the 6th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP6) in Ottawa, Canada, the Animals Committee is tasked with providing technical and scientific guidance to the Parties, the Standing Committee and the extended CITES community, in support of the Convention’s contributions to the long-term conservation and sustainable use of the more than 6,610 animal species and sub-species whose international trade is currently regulated by CITES.


For more information on the 32nd Meeting of the Animals Committee

Agenda and Documents

Media Accreditation

Previous Animals Committee Meetings



The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was signed on 3 March 1973 and entered into force on 1 July 1975. With 184 Parties (183 countries + the European Union), it remains one of the world's most powerful tools for wildlife conservation through the regulation of international trade in over 40,900 species of wild animals and plants. CITES-listed species are used by people around the world in their daily lives for food, health care, furniture, housing, tourist souvenirs, cosmetics or fashion. CITES seeks to ensure that international trade in such species is sustainable, legal and traceable and contributes to both the livelihoods of the communities that live closest to them and to national economies for a healthy planet and the prosperity of the people in support of UN Sustainable Development Goals.