CITES Secretariat and UNCTAD join forces to assist Customs authorities to regulate trade in wildlife

Updated on 28 October 2022
The Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) have agreed to work together in providing Customs authorities with better tools to regulate the import and export of CITES-listed species. Among these will be a module for international trade in CITES-listed species, called ACITES, which will be fully integrated into UNCTAD’s Automated SYstem for CUstoms DAta (ASYCUDA). 
ASYCUDA is a computerized Customs management system currently used by over 90 countries which covers most foreign trade procedures. The ACITES ASYCUDA module will be able to link with computerized Customs systems and will be based on the CITES Appendices, which contain over 35,000 listed species of wild animals and plants.
CITES Secretary-General John E. Scanlon and
UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi
Commenting on the partnership, UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said “the main purpose of the cooperation between CITES Secretariat and UNCTAD is to ensure that international trade does not harm the conservation of CITES-listed species enhance the livelihoods of the poor and promote opportunities for entrepreneurs that comply with CITES requirements and national legislation. In this regard, the harmonization of CITES electronic documentation standards with the ASYCUDA automated system is timely and opportune".
The harmonization of CITES electronic permit standards (e-permitting) with ASYCUDA will also help CITES parties to trace traded species throughout their business chain. This will contribute to ensuring the sustainable use of species that are legally traded, and improving the livelihoods of the poor.
“The provision of enhanced tools for Customs authorities enables better control of international trade in CITES-listed species" CITES Secretary-General John E. Scanlon said during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the CITES Secretariat and UNCTAD. 
"The use of these tools will contribute towards ensuring the sustainable use of species legally in trade and to preventing illegal trade by reducing the opportunities for fraud. CITES parties developing e-permitting systems will be able to access technologies that provide new solutions by utilizing cutting-edge efficient information and communication technologies” he added.
Information on CITES e-permitting systems is available on the CITES website at: /eng/prog/e/e-permitting-toolkit.php. Information on the ASYCUDA automated system is available at: