Honiara, 26 September 2023 — The Government of the Solomon Islands has renewed its commitment to the implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
The commitment was made by Dr Melchior Mataki, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment Climate Change, Disaster and Meteorology (MECDM), following a week-long technical mission by the Secretariat of the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the CITES Secretariat to provide compliance support in the implementation of CITES on key species.
“The Solomon Islands government renews its commitment in the implementation of the Convention and hopes to find a solution towards removing trade suspensions from birdwing butterflies, giant clams and the monkey tailed skink to enable trade to resume in the future,” said Dr Mataki.
The technical mission comprised of Ms Karen Baird, SPREP’s Threatened and Migratory Species Adviser, Haruko Okusu and Hyeon Jeong Kim from the CITES Secretariat in Geneva, who met various stakeholders in the Solomon including Ministry officials, representatives of NGOs and wildlife traders.
The meetings provided the stakeholders in the Solomon Islands with an overview of the Convention, roles and responsibilities of each of the CITES authorities – Management Authorities and Scientific Authorities, as well as the enforcement agencies.
The long-term trade suspensions on some CITES-listed species in the Solomon Islands, coming from the Review of Significant Trade process, were discussed. There were also sessions with traders to discuss their needs and challenges and with The Nature Conservancy.
The mission constitutes the preliminary step of the CITES Compliance Assistance Programme, to assess compliance needs and challenges and to develop a comprehensive work plan. Funding to support this mission and SPREP’s engagement was made possible through Phase 3 Project on Capacity Building related to Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) in Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) Countries (ACP MEA Phase 3 Project).
At the end of the week, the joint SPREP-CITES team worked with MECDM, which is the National CITES Management Authority, to develop a work plan to assist the Solomon Islands CITES authorities over the coming year, realised through the financial support from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
Mr Josef Hurutarau, Acting Director of the Environment and Conservation Division of MECDM, welcomed the work of the technical mission, noting that “sustainable trade in wildlife is an important source of income for the Solomon Islands.”
CITES Secretariat Outreach and Projects Unit Chief, Haruko Okusu, said: “Recognizing the implementation challenges that the Solomon Islands is facing, we hope that this mission will allow the Secretariat to better understand the challenges, needs and aspirations of the various officials and stakeholders, and to co-design the activities of the Compliance Assistance Programme so that we can work together towards enhancing the legality, sustainability and traceability of trade in CITES-listed species of importance for the country.”
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Honiara city and port © gshakwon / Adobe Stock
Giant clam (Tridacna gigas), Solomon Islands © ead72 / Adobe Stock
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.
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