The preamble to the Convention recognizes that international cooperation is essential for the protection of certain species of wild fauna and flora against over-exploitation through international trade, and recognizes also the urgency of taking appropriate measures to this end. However, the point at which such over-exploitation starts has never been defined by the Parties.
Terms used in the text of the Convention such as “threatened with extinction” (Article II, paragraph 1) and “utilization incompatible with their survival” [Article II, paragraph 2. (a)] in relation to inclusion of species in the Appendices have been largely defined through the adoption of Resolution Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP16) on Criteria for amendment of Appendices I and II. However, related concepts linked with the issuance of permits, such as “…detrimental to the survival of that species” [Article III, paragraphs 2. (a), 3. (a) and 5. (a); and, Article IV, paragraphs 2. (a) and 6. (a)] and “maintain that species throughout its range at a level consistent with its role in the ecosystems in which it occurs” [Article IV, paragraph 3], have been little clarified by the Parties. These have become collectively known as the “non-detriment findings” (NDFs).