Resolution Conf. 16.6

CITES and livelihoods

RECALLING Resolution Conf. 8.3 (Rev. CoP13), adopted at the 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (Bangkok, 2004), where the Conference recognized that implementation of CITES-listing decisions should take into account potential impacts on the livelihoods of the poor;

RECALLING ALSO Decision 15.5 requesting the Standing Committee to continue the operation of its Working Group on CITES and Livelihoods and to finalize the toolkit for the rapid assessment at the national level of the positive and negative impacts of implementing CITES-listing decisions on the livelihoods of the poor, as well as voluntary guidelines for Parties to address the negative impacts;

NOTING that these two documents were prepared by the Working Group on CITES and Livelihoods (information document CoP16 Inf. 21);

RECOGNIZING that CITES-listing decisions are neither the sole cause of nor the sole solution to the livelihood problems of the rural communities1 , but that the effective implementation of such decisions can form part of a strategy to provide sustainable livelihoods for rural communities, consistent with paragraph 203 of the outcome document of the Rio+20 Conference The Future We Want;

RECOGNIZING that poor rural communities may attach economic, social, cultural and ceremonial importance to some CITES-listed species;

RECOGNIZING that the implementation of CITES is better achieved with the engagement of rural communities, especially those which are traditionally dependent on CITES-listed species for their livelihoods;

RECOGNIZING that the implementation of CITES listings may enhance livelihoods by delivering long-term species conservation and reducing unsustainable and illegal trade;

RECOGNIZING ALSO that implementation of some listings (particularly Appendix-I listings) may impact livelihoods of rural communities by restricting access to income, employment and other resources, such as food, materials and medicines, but that it need not always do so if appropriate implementation strategies are adopted;

RECOGNIZING that livelihoods issues and the present Resolution do not pertain to the criteria for the amendment of the Appendices or the requirement to make non-detriment findings;


RECOMMENDS the following to be considered when Parties address livelihood issues:

Regarding empowerment of rural communities

ENCOURAGES Parties to work with key stakeholder groups to design, implement and monitor effective strategies with regard to the implementation of CITES listings, recognizing that:

a)    solutions are likely to be case- and situation-specific;

b)    although amendments to the CITES Appendices must, unless indicated otherwise in an annotation, come into effect 90 days after their adoption by the Conference of the Parties, developing appropriate solutions to mitigate negative impacts on the livelihoods of rural communities may require more time to implement relevant policy changes;

c)    developing guidelines is an ongoing process as more knowledge is gained about specific impacts, and successful as well as unsuccessful experiences, which means that the monitoring and evaluation of strategies will be priority aspects in the development of appropriate implementation strategies and policies; and

d)    community and traditional knowledge should be considered, as appropriate and in accordance with the provisions of the Convention and national laws, regulations and policies; and


a)    empowerment of rural communities should be encouraged through measures that include, as appropriate:

i)     promoting transparency and participation of rural communities in the development and implementation of national CITES-related policies;

ii)    maximizing the benefits for rural communities of CITES implementation and trade concerned, in particular to support poverty eradication;

iii)   promoting associations of primary users of wildlife, however they are defined; and

iv)   recognizing resource tenure and ownership, and traditional knowledge of or in rural communities associated with CITES-listed species, subject to any applicable national or international law;

b)    support for the implementation of CITES listings should be enhanced by public awareness and education, including programmes for rural communities, to ensure that:

i)     the positive aspects of CITES and related legislation are understood;

ii)    CITES-listed species are conserved, and potential benefits to rural communities realized; and

iii)   communities support policies and activities designed to reduce or eliminate illegal trade in specimens of CITES-listed species; and

c)    as implementation of some listings may have short-term negative impacts on rural communities, mitigation strategies should be adopted as appropriate. These strategies may include:

i)     providing assistance, including short-term financial support, to rural communities most severely affected by the implementation of the CITES-listing decisions; and

ii)    promoting alternatives to rural communities to enhance the effective implementation of CITES-listing decisions, for instance:

A.    income-generation approaches, such as payment for ecosystem services, sustainable tourism, employment in eco-tourism or as game wardens; and

B.    licences or concessions for tourism, hunting, fishing and harvesting; and the development of alternative products;

Regarding enabling policies

INVITES Parties to initiate or strengthen collaborative partnerships among local, regional, national and international development and conservation agencies to enhance:

a)    financial support for wildlife conservation and rural communities; and

b)    the complementarity of their work and CITES implementation;

INVITES Parties to explore the use of registered marks of certification and origin consistent with CITES provisions; and

INVITES international financial institutions and cooperation agencies to assist Parties in the development of supportive policies and institutions at the regional, national and local levels to address impacts of the implementation of listings on rural communities;

Regarding the potential shift from in situ to ex situ production


a)    ex situ production may lead to loss of revenues for rural communities;

b)    positive incentives to promote in situ production systems may encourage benefits for these communities; and

c)    cooperation between exporting and importing countries may include:

       i)     working with in situ and ex situ producers and trade associations; and

       ii)    conservation and development projects;

RECOMMENDS that Parties adopt mitigation strategies for human-wildlife conflict with respect to CITES-listed species; and

RECOMMENDS ALSO that mitigation activities take into account not only CITES-listed species but also the whole ecosystem that contains them.


 1. For the purpose of this Resolution, rural communities include indigenous and local communities.

Number / Code: 
Conf. 16.6
COP meeting: 
Sixteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties