Cooperation and partnerships

The CITES Strategic Vision: 2008 – 2020 outlines the Convention’s direction in the new millennium and takes into account, within the context of its mandate, issues such as:

  • contributing to the UN Millennium Development Goals relevant to CITES;
  • contributing to the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the implementation of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets adopted by the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, to the extent that they are relevant to CITES;
  • contributing to the implementation of relevant outcomes to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (2012);
  • contributing to the conservation of wildlife as an integral part of the global ecosystem on which all life depends;
  • cultural, social and economic factors at play in producer and consumer countries;
  • promoting transparency and wider involvement of civil society in the development of conservation policies and practices; and
  • ensuring that a coherent and internationally agreed approach based on scientific evidence is taken to address any species of wild fauna and flora subject to unsustainable international trade.

Goal 3 of the  CITES Strategic Vision: 2008 – 2020 is to “contribute to significantly reducing the rate of biodiversity loss by ensuring that CITES and other multilateral instruments and processes are coherent and mutually supportive”. Such coherence and mutual supportiveness are needed at both the national and international levels.

The strategic positioning of the Convention with other organizations, instruments and processes is critical to the successful implementation of the Convention, as reflected in Goal 3. Cooperation efforts undertaken to implement Goal 3 fall into several clusters, namely:
 - biodiversity-related and other conventions;
 - international environment organizations;  
 - international organizations and agreements dealing with natural resources;  
 - international trade and development organizations;
 - international organizations dealing with law enforcement; and
 - international financial mechanisms and other related institutions.

(See document CoP16 Doc. 13: Cooperation with other organizations and multilateral environmental agreements)

Specific efforts include the adoption of relevant resolutions and decision by the Conference of the Parties, the establishment memoranda of understanding with above mentioned organizations and agreements, participation in cooperative groups. etc. More detailed information can be found below.

For more information, see also: CITES’ Contribution to the New Strategic Biodiversity Plan 2011-2020 and Aichi Biodiversity Targets

Relevant Resolutions and Decisions


Resolution Conf. 16.3 – CITES Strategic Vision: 2008-2020

Resolution Conf. 16.4 – Cooperation of CITES with other biodiversity-related conventions

Resolution Conf. 16.5 – Cooperation with the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation of the Convention on Biological Diversity

Resolution Conf. 14.4 – Cooperation between CITES and ITTO regarding trade in tropical timber

Resolution Conf. 13.11 – Bushmeat

Resolution Conf. 13.10 (Rev. CoP14) – Trade in alien invasive species

Resolution Conf. 13.4 (Rev. CoP16) – Conservation of and trade in great apes

Resolution Conf. 13.3 – Cooperation and synergy with the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS)

Resolution Conf. 13.2 (Rev. CoP14) – Sustainable use of biodiversity: Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines

Resolution Conf. 12.5 (Rev. CoP14) – Conservation of and trade in tigers and other Appendix-I Asian big cat species

Resolution Conf. 12.4 – Cooperation between CITES and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources regarding trade in toothfish

Resolution Conf. 11.4 (Rev. CoP12) – Conservation of cetaceans, trade in cetacean specimens and the relationship with the International Whaling Commission

Resolution Conf. 11.3 (Rev. CoP16) – Compliance and enforcement

Resolution Conf. 10.21 (Rev. CoP16) – Transport of live specimens

Resolution Conf. 10.4 (Rev. CoP14) – Cooperation and synergy with the Convention on Biological Diversity


Decisions 16.89 – Rhinoceroses (Rhinocerotidae spp.)

Decision 16.78-16.83 – Monitoring of illegal trade in ivory and other elephant specimens (Elephantidae spp.)

Decision 16.70 – Asian big cats (Felidae spp.)

Decision 16.67 – Great apes

Decision 16.62 – E-commerce of specimens of CITES-listed species

Decision 16.56-16.57 – Use of taxonomic serial numbers

Decision 16.54 – Electronic permitting

Decision 16.52 – Introduction from the sea: capacity building and special requirements of developping states

Decisions 16.48-16.52 –Introduction from the sea

Decision 16.39-16.40 – Enforcement matters

Decision 16.28-16.29 – Capacity building

Decision 16.13-16.16 – Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem

Decision 16.11-16.12 – Cooperation of CITES with other biodiversity-related conventions

Decision 16.2 – Access to Global Environment Facility funding

Decision 15.57 – E-commerce of specimens of CITES-listed species

Memoranda of Understanding

Memorandum of Understanding between the Standing Committee of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme concerning Secretariat Services to and Support of the Convention (see also the Delegation of Authority Policy and Framework for the management and administration of Multilateral Environmental Agreement Secretariats)

In an effort to realize Goal 3 of the CITES Strategic Vision: 2008-2013 – as well as the Strategic Vision adopted in 2000 and earlier strategic aims (e.g. cooperation with CBD after its adoption), the Secretariat has entered into a number of general cooperation agreements with other organizations. These Memoranda of Understanding are as follows:

Multi-lateral environmental agreements (MEAs)

International governmental organizations


Non-governmental organizations

Universities, research centers and others

Biodiversity Liaison Group

The Liaison Group of Biodiversity-related Conventions was established in 2002 pursuant to CBD Decision VII/26. It currently comprises the heads of the secretariats of the seven  biodiversity-related conventions (CBD, CITES, CMS, IPCC, ITPGR, Ramsar and WHC). The Group’s aims are to explore opportunities for collaboration and increased coordination, and to exchange information.

On the occasion of the second high-level retreat of the members of the Liaison Group of the Biodiversity-related Conventions (BLG), held in Bogis-Bossey, Switzerland, on 4 September 2011, the members of the BLG adopted and signed the Modus Operandi which will be sent to the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the respective members.


More information on the BLG is available here.

Chairs of the Scientific Advisory Bodies of Biodiversity-related Conventions (CSAB)

Following a suggestion made by the CITES Secretariat at the fourth meeting of the Biodiversity Liaison Group (BLG) (Bonn, October 2005), the BLG agreed to propose a meeting of the chairs of the scientific advisory bodies of biodiversity-related conventions. The purpose was for the chairmen of these bodies together with representatives of the secretariats to enhance scientific cooperation, share information about their conventions' scientific activities and processes and collectively support progress towards global biodiversity targets. Convened by the Convention on Biological Diversity and with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme, the first meeting of the CSAB took place on 1 july 2007.


Report of the fifth meeting of chairs of the scientific advisory bodies of biodiversity-related conventions (Dublin, 25 March 2012)

Report of the fourth meeting of chairs of the scientific advisory bodies of biodiversity-related conventions (Gland, 13 February 2011)

Report of the third meeting of chairs of the scientific advisory bodies of biodiversity-related conventions (Nairobi, 4 October 2009)

Report of the second meeting of chairs of the scientific advisory bodies of biodiversity-related conventions (Bonn, 25 May 2008)

Report of the first meeting of chairs of the scientific advisory bodies of biodiversity-related conventions (Paris, 1 July 2007)

Environment Management Group

The Environment Management Group (EMG) is a United Nations (UN) System-wide coordination body. Its Membership consists of the specialized agencies, programmes and organs of the United Nations including the secretariats of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements. It is chaired by the Executive Director of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and supported by a secretariat provided by UNEP.

The EMG furthers inter-agency cooperation in support of the implementation of the international environmental and human settlement agenda. It identifies issues on the agenda that warrant joint efforts, and finds ways of engaging its collective capacity in coherent management responses to those issues. The current issues under consideration by the group include:

  • IMG on Biodiversity
  • IMG on Green Economy
  • IMG on Sustainability Management
  • IMG on Land
  • EMG Consultative Process on Environmental and Social Safeguards
  • Inputs for International and Environment Governance (IEG)

More information is available at:

Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)

IPBES stands for ‘Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services’. IPBES will be an interface between the scientific community and policy makers that aims to build capacity for and strengthen the use of science in policy making.


The International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC)

ICCWC is the collaborative effort by five inter-governmental organizations working to bring coordinated support to the national wildlife law enforcement agencies and to the sub-regional and regional networks that, on a daily basis, act in defence of natural resources. ICCWC is comprised of the CITES Secretariat, INTERPOL, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Bank and the World Customs Organization (WCO). The CITES Secretariat chairs the alliance.

Click here for more information on ICCWC.

Click here for the Letter of Understanding between ICCWC and the CITES Secretariat.

Documents and reports

Report of the FAO/CITES workshop to review the application and effectiveness of international regulatory measures for the conservation and sustainable use of elasmobranchs

Expert Workshop Promoting CITES-CBD Cooperation And Synergy, International Academy for Nature Conservation, Isle of Vilm, Germany, 20-24 April 2004 (Workshop Report)

Document of the 61st meeting of the Standing Committee on cooperation with other organizations (SC61 Doc. 15.1)

Knowledge Management

The MEA Information and Knowledge Management Initiative

The MEA Information and Knowledge Management (IKM) Initiative develops knowledge and information tools for MEA Parties and the environmental community. It currently includes 25 international legally binding instruments on environment from 14 MEA Secretariats hosted by three UN organizations and IUCN. The Initiative welcomes the participation of observers with expertise in knowledge and information management from MEAs.

The MEA IKM Steering Committee is the main driver of the MEA IKM initiative. It consists of representatives from the participating MEA Secretariats and relevant observers. The Steering Committee meets once a year and is co-chaired by UNEP and the CITES Secretariat. The Terms of Reference of the Steering Committee were agreed to at the 1st MEA IKM SC Meeting. Working Groups try to meet every two months using video-conferencing to work on the implementation of projects as directed by the Steering Committee. The MEA IKM Initiative is facilitated and supported by a small UNEP-DELC team based in Geneva.

The first achievement of the IKM Initiative was the conceptualization and development of the InforMEA Portal ( The Portal compiles and presents COP/MOP decisions and resolutions, news and events, MEA membership, national focal points, and soon national reports and implementation plans. The project was designed to ensure long-term sustainability of the project by harvesting information directly from databases hosted at MEA Secretariats.  In this manner, new data is registered in InforMEA whenever an MEA Secretariat updates its databases thereby ensuring that information is always accurate and up-to-date.