CITES en CITES Secretariat publishes provisional assessment of 52 proposals to CoP19 <p>CITES Secretariat has today published its provisiona<img alt="Sample of species to be considered at CoP19" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="b130ff34-f8f5-4998-ae61-7370cd66a8da" height="410" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/ProvAss_0.jpg" width="652" class="align-right" loading="lazy" />l assessment of the 52 proposals that will be considered at CoP19 in November. This assessment – and the recommendations that will follow later - are designed to help all Parties to CITES as they consider their positions with regard to the proposals ahead of November’s World Wildlife Conference in Panama.</p> <p>The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild animals and plants has 184 signatory Parties and any of them is entitled to bring a proposal to the Conference. The meeting of the Conference of the Parties is CITES’ ultimate decision-making body. The decisions it takes in November will shape the future of international wildlife trade and conservation.</p> <p>The 52 proposals that have been submitted are being evaluated by experts from the Secretariat, who are also seeking comments from interested bodies.</p> <p>The proposals cover specific species and their inclusion on, or movement between, Appendix I and Appendix II of CITES. Listings on these Appendices bring different levels of regulation and are designed to help ensure the viability of species whose existence may be threatened by their international trade. Any species that appears on Appendix I is effectively banned from commercial international trade. Appendix II species can be traded but that trade is strictly regulated and subject to tight controls from both the exporting and importing Parties.</p> <p>The species under consideration at CoP19 include <em>inter alia</em> marine species such as sharks and rays, more than 200 tree species, reptiles such as crocodiles, caiman and lizards, iconic species of rhino, elephant and hippos… turtles, frogs and several species of fish and all species of orchids.</p> <p>This provisional assessment, published today, will be followed in early October by the Secretariat’s final assessment of the proposals. The final assessment will consider comments from Parties and from other bodies, which are being consulted as they have a particular interest or expertise in the subject of the proposal.</p> <p>To access the provisional assessment of the Secretariat to the proposals: <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>To access the 52 proposals: <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>For more information on CITES CoP19 – including the impending deadline for registrations: <a href="" title=""></a></p> Fri, 09 Sep 2022 10:58:14 +0200 davidw 133455 Southern Africa reaffirms commitment to combatting elephant poaching <p><img alt="Celmira da Silva" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="e9a19074-0593-428b-a709-57ce605731fe" height="240" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/CITES%20MIKE-29.jpg" width="360" class="align-right" loading="lazy" />Seven of the southern African elephant range States have strongly reaffirmed their commitment to combatting elephant poaching ahead of this year’s World Wildlife Conference or CITES CoP19. Representatives from the seven countries were meeting in Maputo, Mozambique for the Sub-Regional Steering Committee meeting of the CITES programme that monitors the illegal killing of elephants (MIKE).</p> <p><br /> The meeting was hosted by Mozambique’s National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC) and chaired by its Director General, Ms Celmira da Silva, who highlighted the crucial conservation role southern Africa plays as home to the majority of the African elephant population.</p> <p><br /><img alt="Representatives Group shot" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="a88e8d3c-c93d-4478-9973-da906ab2a674" height="244" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/CITES%20MIKE-62.jpg" width="510" class="align-left" loading="lazy" />The range State representatives were joined by the southern African representative of the MIKE and ETIS (Elephant Trade Information System) Technical Advisory Group, and the Senior Analyst on Elephant and Rhino Trade for the Wildlife Trade NGO, TRAFFIC, as well as members of the MIKE Central Coordination Unit. Due to the pandemic, this was the first in-person MIKE meeting held in southern Africa in three years.</p> <p><img alt="African Elephant" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="b7877f72-2757-4f19-a7a3-5ca24515fd6d" height="262" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/04%265.Loxodonta_africana_Gr%C3%A9goire-Dubois.jpg" width="374" class="align-right" loading="lazy" />The MIKE programme covers 45 countries across Africa and Asia, monitoring nearly 100 sites with elephant populations. It was established to monitor elephant poaching on the ground and each of the sites covered, feeds back information to the programme. This essential information informs conservation efforts for elephants under CITES. The work has been made possible, in large part, due to the generous financial support of the European Union, MIKE’s primary donor.<br /> Representatives shared experiences of their day-to-day work with the MIKE programme at different MIKE focal sites, which included increasing law enforcement capacity to further combat poaching. They highlighted the importance of initiatives that cross national borders, to coordinate the management of elephant populations, and the opportunities available for training rangers through the programme, including the upcoming training to be held in September at the Southern African Wildlife College, for rangers from MIKE sites across southern Africa.</p> <p><br /> The benefits of the new, online database for collating the monitoring data collected under MIKE were also discussed. Data can now be entered in real time and used by protected area and national authorities to plan management approaches.</p> <p><br /> Range State representatives also noted the increased incidences of human-elephant conflicts in and around many of the protected areas. Elephants seeking food on land occupied by local communities has led to clashes which have resulted in people being injured, or in some cases, killed. One of the recommendations for follow-up action that emerged from the meeting was for range States, with the support of the MIKE Central Coordination Unit, to identify funding opportunities to look at ways of addressing such conflicts.</p> <p><img alt="Sonja Meintjes" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="7b0d6938-6a28-47d8-bfb4-fdd60b8f323f" height="197" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/%C2%A9MZ%20Bio%20Sonja.png" width="180" class="align-right" loading="lazy" /><br /> A total of 16 recommendations were identified for further action by southern African range States and the MIKE programme. These included sharing best practices and lessons learned from implementation in focal sites of the MIKE programme, as well as to engage with range States on possible collaboration with ranger training institutions in their respective countries, among other actions. Sonja Meintjes, the Sub-Regional Steering Committee member from South Africa, noted that the work of the programme is 'going from strength to strength' and that it would be a busy period between now and the next meeting. The next meeting is scheduled to be in South Africa in 2024.</p> <p> </p> <p><img alt="Tanya McGregor" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="5290a125-859d-4081-ac4a-6e3724d36812" height="190" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/%C2%A9MZ%20Bio%20Tanya.png" width="174" class="align-left" loading="lazy" />A meeting of the Sub-Regional Steering Committee for Central Africa is being planned for mid-October 2022, following this, says Tanya McGregor, Acting Coordinator of the MIKE Central Coordination Unit, “Representatives from range states from across Africa will be attending the 19th meeting of the Conference of the Parties of CITES, which will discuss developments under the MIKE programme. The CITES-MIKE programme looks forward to supporting range States and others in these discussions.”</p> <p class="text-align-right"> </p> <p class="text-align-right"><img alt="Flag of the European Union" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="4002faad-f5fe-4027-950d-730835c926b2" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/EU-flag.jpg" class="align-right" width="170" height="113" loading="lazy" /></p> <p class="text-align-right"> </p> <p class="text-align-right"> </p> <p class="text-align-right"> </p> <p class="text-align-right"><br /> Funded by the European Union</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 02 Sep 2022 12:34:18 +0200 davidw 133436 What’s coming to the World Wildlife Conference – A guide to the species proposals <p>This is a CoP year! The ultimate decision-making body of CITES is meeting in November, in Panama to take decisions that will influence and shape global conservation. The 19th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties will see more than two thousand experts debate and decide on changes to how the world’s trade in wildlife will be regulated.<br /> Since CoP18 in 2019, Parties to CITES have been considering which issues they want to raise at this CoP19 and which species they believe may need changes to the regulations governing its international trade. They have made these decisions by consulting their Scientific Authorities and national experts. They have listened to those expert groups that believe that a different level of CITES regulation would help in the conservation of that particular species and they have submitted a total of 52 proposals that will be debated and decided upon in Panama.<img alt="Turtle" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="63efec7f-8aea-4b0e-bb52-2212f31b67e9" height="225" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Hari%20arcw2_1.png" width="342" class="align-right" loading="lazy" /></p> <p>CITES already regulates international trade in more than 38,000 different species of animals and plants. Each of these species appears on one of three appendices, I, II and III. Trade in Appendix I species is normally prohibited. These species are most at risk of extinction and a trade ban is in place to try to allow recovery. The majority (97%) of listed species are included in Appendix II. They can be traded but regulations are in place to make sure that trade is sustainable and doesn’t affect the viability of the species. Appendix III is used by a country, unilaterally, when they want to monitor the trade in a specific species and ask other Parties to help them.<br /> The 52 proposals, put forward to the CoP, are for those species that Parties think urgently need consideration and where they believe there are compelling reasons for changes to the way they are conserved under CITES. Below is a sample of the species that have been put forward. </p> <p>Recent studies have shown that one in five reptile species is facing extinction. The global concern over this fact is reflected in CoP proposals that come from Brazil, the European Union, India, Australia, Viet Nam, the United States and others. Within reptiles, the situation is even worse for turtles. More than 60% of turtle species are threatened with extinction or are already extinct – they are among the most threatened of the major groups of vertebrates. <img alt="Frog" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="d0500865-5cee-4164-9bd8-66fc46866517" height="219" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Frogmana3.png" width="319" class="align-left" loading="lazy" />They are facing habitat destruction and the impact of climate change – with environmental conditions having an impact on sex determination in many turtles – but international overexploitation for pets and food is also having a significant impact on populations. Some turtle species are no longer found in their native habitats and exist only in captivity. Twelve CoP proposals covering 19 species of turtle are seeking either tougher regulations (inclusion in App. II) or a ban on the international trade (inclusion in App. I) in these species.</p> <p>Amphibians face similar threats and their predicament is almost as serious. Two in five amphibian species are at risk of extinction and countries across South and Central America and a host of west African States and the United States, are all calling for increased measures to conserve species of frogs and newts.</p> <p><br /> The set of proposals that is already receiving, perhaps, the most attention is for multiple species of sharks and rays. A study from a UK university reported that shark numbers have declined more than 70% in the past 50 years. Both sharks and rays are targeted for their meat, fins and liver oil but they are also caught as bycatch – when other species are being fished for – and sport fishing also contributes to the reduction in numbers. Sharks are key<img alt="Shark" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="f06c661c-d178-4315-9568-a87e99a0a353" height="248" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Shark.jpg" width="396" class="align-right" loading="lazy" /> species in marine ecosystems and a threat to them is a threat to the balance in the oceans and in human terms brings closer the dangers of food insecurity for some of the world’s poorest countries. At the same time, data on some of these species is sometimes scarce – both in terms of conservation status, decline of the population over time, threats and the presence of the species in international trade, which are some of the criteria that are taken into consideration in the decision-making. Bangladesh, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Gabon, Maldives, Panama, Senegal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and the Syrian Arab Republic, as well as the EU, Israel and UK are all sponsoring a proposal for all Requiem shark species to be listed in Appendix II and Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, European Union and Panama also want the same listing for Hammerhead sharks.</p> <p><br /> What do you know about sea cucumbers? They are one of the lesser-known species being suggested for regulation through listing on Appendix II. The meat of these species can cost more than $3,000 per kilo. They are nutritious and high in protein and some people also believe they have medicinal properties and can be used to treat arthritis and blood clots. In Asia, they are sometimes dried, put in ornate boxes and given as gifts – with the stranger-<img alt="Sea Cucumber" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="67c8c8ad-c1c3-49e0-a3f8-82fbabdbf288" height="144" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Seacuke3.png" width="219" class="align-left" loading="lazy" />looking specimens commanding the highest prices. The proposal suggests that the explosion in demand is threatening the viability of the species and is asking for the regulation in international trade that comes with an Appendix II listing.</p> <p>The vast majority of species listed by CITES come from the plant kingdom and the proposals to CoP19 cover more than 200 tree species and all species of orchids. Countries putting forward these proposals include Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, European Union, Liberia and Senegal for some of the mahoganies an<img alt="Tree" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="ac26ef3f-aea1-432e-92d9-2dd9ce5801b2" height="307" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Andreas%20Philipp.png" width="274" class="align-right" loading="lazy" />d China, Ukraine, UK, EU and the United States of America for the Rhodiola species that are heavily used in herbal medicine. Brazil wants additional measures for its national tree, the Pernambuco wood, or Brazil Wood, which is now nearly gone from most of its original range - and is of particular concern to musical instrument makers as the Pernambuco wood has traditionally been used to make bows for stringed instruments. Brazil is looking for a total ban in commercial trade. All the other proposals for tree species are looking for listing in Appendix II to allow for the sustainable regulation of the international trade.</p> <p><br /> CoP19 or the World Wildlife Conference is happening from 14 to 25 November in Panama. All of the 52 proposals that have been submitted will be considered, debated and, if necessary, voted upon by all 184 Parties to CITES. Their decisions will come into force 90 days later. The ultimate objective of the Convention is that all international trade in all CITES listed species is legal, traceable and sustainable and that CITES plays its part in the global conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems, for the future of the planet and of our own species. You’ll be able to watch all the decisions of CoP19, steamed live from Panama, via our YouTube channel - <a href=""></a>. For a more detailed look at the species proposals to CoP19 - <a href=""></a></p> Sun, 21 Aug 2022 12:01:41 +0200 davidw 133372 International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples <p><img alt="Indigenous Woman Ecuador" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="0bf45ea6-4542-4199-aa9d-081b5f441e72" height="478" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Photo%20by%20Azzedine%20Rouichi%20on%20Unsplash.png" width="637" class="align-right" loading="lazy" /><strong><em>The Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Traditional Knowledge</em></strong></p> <p>It is estimated that about 6% of the people of the world are indigenous. That’s around 400 million people. A major study, published last year, showed that ‘<em>91% of lands managed by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) are considered to be in good or fair ecological condition and at least 36% of the global land area covered by currently identified Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) lie within Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities’ lands.</em>’ This figure shows that any global goals for conservation of habitats, ecosystems and species cannot be achieved without the inclusion and commitment of Indigenous Peoples. Traditional knowledge is at the core of this successful relationship between Indigenous Peoples and nature, and Indigenous women have an essential role in ensuring the passing down of the traditional ancestral wisdom supportive of biodiversity and wildlife conservation to future generations.</p> <p>A large majority of wild animals and plants are present in indigenous lands. More and more, those leading conservation initiatives are recognizing that the empowerment of Indigenous women will lead to successful outcomes for our Earth’s wildlife. The voices of these women must be heard and amplified as there is so much to learn from them. CITES is certainly a platform where this can happen. In the context of her new upcoming role as Chair of the Collaborative Partnership on Sustainable Wildlife Management, the CITES Secretary-General, Ivonne Higuero, said, “I hope to use the influence of the CPW’s partners organizations to push for greater inclusion of Indigenous Peoples, in particular Indigenous women, in the promotion of the conservation and sustainable use of wildlife, given its importance for food security, livelihoods and human well-being. The survival of our wildlife for future generations requires their involvement and knowledge as Peoples who for so long have looked after so much of the world’s wildlife resources.”</p> <p>In November this year, the World Wildlife Conference will meet in Panama. It is the nineteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP19) and the decisions that are taken there will shape the global approach to conservation and sustainable use of wildlife over the next years. One of the issues that has been both recognized and promoted is the involvement of Indigenous People and Local Communities in the conservation of our endangered wildlife.</p> <p>Holding CoP19 in Latin America is also of special significance as there is a greater possibility for Indigenous women from the region to participate in the discussions. They will have the opportunity to showcase how with traditional knowledge they are able to manage the wildlife and habitats on their lands despite challenges such as overexploitation of wild plants and animals, unsustainable logging and illegal trade. Hopefully more initiatives involving Indigenous women and traditional knowledge for wildlife conservation will emerge from these discussions in Panama.</p> <p>With great hope for progress for Indigenous women all over the world to be recognized for their role in preserving and transmitting traditional knowledge, especially in the area of wildlife and biodiversity conservation, the CITES Secretary-General, Ivonne Higuero, sends warm wishes for a Happy International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.</p> Tue, 09 Aug 2022 07:35:20 +0200 davidw 133254 On course to Master CITES <p>40 students from 32 countries are into the final phase of the world’s most specialized un<img alt="Baeza Students" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="cda42724-bb9e-41ae-bb7f-a9d19e28c01b" height="344" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/group.jpeg" width="365" class="align-right" loading="lazy" />iversity course in international wildlife trade. The students are all part of a Master’s course on The Management and Conservation of Species in Trade, run by the International University of Andalucía (UNIA) in Spain. The course provides training on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and is aimed at those who are or will be responsible for implementing or working with the Convention.</p> <p>184 countries have agreed to be bound by CITES and the course helps those who work with the national Management and Scientific Authorities or for Environmental Organizations, Non-governmental Organizations or academic institutions to better understand and better implement the Convention.</p> <p>CITES regulates the international trade in more than 38 thousand species of animals and plants to make sure that their use is sustainable and doesn’t threaten the health of the species. The Masters course covers the fundamentals of the Convention and how it contributes to the conservation of biodiversity.</p> <p>It’s based in the historic southern Spanish city of Baeza and this is the 14<sup>th</sup> edition that it’s run. 390 people from 106 countries have so far qualified and gone on to play their part in the global conservation of endangered wildlife species.</p> <p><img alt="Sofie H. Flensborg" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="2ea3f470-afff-4a3e-a250-d5b5394094ae" height="228" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/DSC00872.JPG" width="342" class="align-left" loading="lazy" />The CITES Secretariat provides guest lecturers who give the students expert insights into the day-to-day application of one of the oldest and most successful biodiversity conventions. Sofie H. Flensborg is the Head of the Outreach and Projects Unit of the CITES Secretariat, “<em>The students are always enthusiastic and it’s very rewarding to work with them. It’s also fantastic knowing that the talented people you have in front of you will be going back to their home countries to make a difference to one of the biggest challenges we face, the conservation of nature and biodiversity.</em>”</p> <p>Dr Margarita Africa Clemente launched this Master’s course in 1997 and has directed all 14 editions. In the 14<sup>th</sup> edition she shared responsibility with Dr Mercedes Nuñez and Dr Rocio Hernandez. <em>"Since the beginning, the CITES Secretariat has been involved in the Master's programme through its active support and collaboration, and many Parties and international programmes have provided staff participation as lecturers and/or funding to participants. This Master’s course has transformed the implementation of CITES throughout the world. One of the most significant results is that the alumni form an important network for the exchange of knowledge and experience and the fight against illegal trade, which undoubtedly strengthens and facilitates the implementation of CITES". </em></p> <p>Among this year’s intake of students are those from CITES management authorities, conservation officers or land or forest <img alt="Richard Muvunyi" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="f049913d-ff5b-4643-b2b6-f6fbc2f321c7" height="254" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Richard2_0.jpg" width="180" class="align-right" loading="lazy" />management specialists. Dr Richard Muvunyi is Head of Rwanda’s Wildlife Veterinary Unit, responsible for the health of the wildlife in his country’s national parks and other areas. “<em>It has been a privilege to go through this course. I have learnt a lot in Baeza, through this Master’s. It has broadened my mind about CITES and when I go back, I will try to change things towards what I have learnt here.</em>”</p> <p>Although their time on the Baeza campus is over, in order to pass and be awarded their advanced degree, the students will need to carry out research and then prepare and submit a thesis on one the subjects included in the course. Only once they have passed this final part, will they be awarded the coveted Master’s Degree.</p> <p>Some of the Baeza students will, this year, have the chance to see the ultimate CITES decision-making body in action. Every three years, the meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP) brings together specialists and experts to make the decisions that will shape the future of international trade in endangered species. This year the CoP is in Panama from November the 14<sup>th</sup> to the 25<sup>th</sup> and those students who are part of their country’s management authorities or who have been chosen to be delegates to the Conference will join nearly 4 thousand others at the event.</p> <p>The International University of Andalucía is already looking at the fifteenth edition of the UNIA Master’s Degree for 2024 and the CITES Secretariat has confirmed its commitment to supplying lecturers who will help to bring on a new generation of experts in conservation and international trade in wild species.</p> Fri, 15 Jul 2022 18:13:43 +0200 davidw 132294 CITES SG commends IPBES on behalf of 5 MEAs <p><strong>Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Plenary, 3 July 2022, Bonn</strong></p> <p><strong>Biodiversity related MEAs statement - Ivonne Higuero, Secretary-General of CITES</strong></p> <p>I am speaking on behalf of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the <img alt="CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="f3433bf1-deac-437d-98b7-1875c4fe664c" height="365" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/IPBES_ivonne.png" width="540" class="align-right" loading="lazy" />Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, the International Whaling Commission and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.</p> <p>Previous assessments conducted by IPBES, notably the 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, have contributed to the scientific and stewardship roles of these Conventions. This assessment, for example, provided the main scientific basis for the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework which is currently under negotiation in the CBD and Parties to CITES and Ramsar have recognized the importance of the findings of this assessment to the work of the Convention.</p> <p>The Assessments to be discussed during this ninth plenary session – the methodological assessment of the multiple values of nature and its benefits, and the assessment on the sustainable use of wild species, are also relevant to the work of each of the Conventions and will help to inform the development and implementation of the post 2020 global biodiversity framework. </p> <p>Parties to several of these Conventions have recognized in their decisions that the implementation of these Conventions may also benefit and draw strength from efforts being undertaken in other fora, and the linkages between them and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and the findings of the IPBES 2019 Global Assessment Report have been highlighted in this regard.</p> <p>Later this year the International Treaty holds the meeting of its Governing Body, the International Whaling Commission holds the meeting of its Commission, while CBD, CITES and Ramsar will hold the meetings of their respective Conference of the Parties. These reports are therefore timely and will strengthen the scientific basis of decision-making by the Parties.</p> <p>We wish to warmly thank the experts who have contributed their time and expertise to these assessments. It is evident that bringing these experts together in one place to prepare these assessments is a monumental task and we thank IPBES for making it possible. </p> <p>We look forward to the discussions during this meeting, the official launch of these important assessments and future engagements with IPBES.</p> Sun, 03 Jul 2022 12:43:03 +0200 davidw 131833 Towards sustainability for one of the world’s most valuable essential oils <p>A meeting of experts in Malaysia has been looking at ways <img alt="Agarwood Workshop" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="73ea51eb-0efe-444c-878c-20f7b36b5ad5" height="337" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/AgarwoodGroup%20photo.jpg" width="610" class="align-right" loading="lazy" />to make the trade in one of the world’s most precious essential oils more sustainable. Agarwood and the essential [Agar] oil that comes from it are used for medicine, cosmetics, incense, art and interior design. It was mentioned in the Sanskrit Vedas from 1,400 BCE as a product of ‘wealth and luxury’ and is supposed to have been used to anoint the body of Christ and in the cremation ceremony of the Buddha. One liter of oil can sell for as much as US$50,000 and the value of the Agarwood industry is estimated to be at least USD 30 billion annually.</p> <p>The workshop, that’s just concluded in Malaysia, brought together governments and experts to look at the methods of conserving trees in the wild and also the promotion of artificially propagated Agarwood to help with the overall sustainability of the species.</p> <p>The<em> Aquilaria </em>species of trees is native to southeast Asia. The sweet-smelling wood and oils that it produces only occur as a result of a fungal infection in the heartwood of the tree. As a defense again the fungus, the tree produces a resin that infuses the heartwood, producing the highly prized agarwood. It’s thought that this process only occurs in around 2 percent of trees in the wild. The high price that agarwood and the oils can command has led to unsustainable harvesting and illegal logging, so much so that the global wild population of Aquilaria trees has dropped around 80% in little more than a century. Many species of Aquilaria are now critically endangered and listed in CITES Appendix II, which strictly regulates their international trade.</p> <p>This year, the meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, or the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, is being held in Panama in November. It will look at the sustainability of the <em>Aquilaria</em> trees and consider how better to conserve the species. The CITES Tree Species Project (CTSP) in partnership with the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), has also been heavily involved in looking at and advising on how best to manage <em>Aquilaria</em> trees across southeast Asia. A comprehensive study and the report from the Malaysian workshop will feed into this process.</p> <p>In Kuala Lumpur there were 50 representatives (including 10 virtual participants) from range and importing States with experiences of agarwood management in the wild or in plantations.</p> <p><img alt="Inoculating Aquilaria" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="c4553615-88ac-4a05-922e-fe9492dd1afb" height="263" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/20220622_102121.jpg" width="197" class="align-left" loading="lazy" />They discussed how injecting trees with the necessary fungus can increase the percentage that produce agarwood from around 2% to nearly 100%. This means that fewer trees need to be cut down to produce the same amount of agarwood and avoids the huge waste of trees, harvested but found to be without any oil and therefore virtually worthless. </p> <p>Other conservation options could include trying to better understand and use traditional techniques for harvesting trees. There is evidence that local and indigenous communities may be able to detect which trees contain agarwood oils using the different sounds made by ‘knocking’ on the trunks of the trees. Another technique could be to try to cut out the oil-bearing, valuable part of the tree, without cutting the whole tree down.</p> <p>The global agarwood industry is estimated to be worth up to US$30 billion, however there are continued concerns for the sustainability of the species and the continued illegal wild harvesting and for these reasons, the CITES World Wildlife Conference in November will be looking at ways in which international trade regulations can contribute to the continued viability of the <em>Aquilaria</em> species.</p> <p>The final agarwood report produced by ITTO, along with presentations of range States and the workshop report will be available at <a href=""></a> as soon as it’s completed.</p> Wed, 29 Jun 2022 11:19:53 +0200 davidw 131823 World Wildlife Conference to rule on stricter trade regulations for 600 CITES species <p>This year’s World Wildlife Conference is being asked to consider stricter trade regulati<img alt="Shark" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="151c8e9c-e408-4928-9b32-6387324c8ab0" height="257" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/shutterstock_1269812905.jpg" width="386" class="align-right" loading="lazy" />ons for nearly six hundred species of animals and plants believed to be under increased threat of extinction from international trade. In what’s being seen as a barometer for the state of the world’s wildlife, just 9 species are being recommended for less restrictive trade regulations.</p> <p>The proposals have been put forward by Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to be reviewed at the 19th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP19), which will take place in Panama from the 14<sup>th</sup> to the 25<sup>th</sup> of November. Before each CoP, the Parties - or countries that have agreed to be bound by CITES - put forward proposals to review or change the regulations that govern international trade in specific species, based on whether they believe that trade needs to be controlled to ‘avoid utilization incompatible with their survival’.</p> <p>The Parties to the Convention will send representatives to this year’s meeting, which is being seen as make or break for some species. Proposals have been put forward to review the regulations on rhinos, elephants, rosewoods and other timber species, sharks, orchids, turtles and rhodiola or golden root. A total of 52 proposals will be up for decision, with countries already working together behind the scenes to bring the focus onto species of common interest. Forty-seven Parties have proposed or are co-proposing these proposals. </p> <p><img alt="Rosewood" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="aec0d9a0-22da-43ff-b545-a6e26e71aefd" height="305" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/shutterstock_2047044491.jpg" width="407" class="align-left" loading="lazy" />Biodiversity is one of the main indicators of the planet’s health and the fact that so many species are thought to be at increased risk is a worrying trend. CITES has three Appendices, listing species according to the degree of protection they need in terms of regulation of international trade. Listing on Appendix I means that all international commercial trade in specimens of the species concerned is prohibited. Trade in species in Appendix II is regulated by a permitting system and needs evidence that the international trade is sustainable and not detrimental to the survival of the species in the wild. Parties can unilaterally ask for species to be listed on Appendix III, when they want to track their international trade and be able to monitor the effects on the species.</p> <p>Each of the proposals will be considered at the CoP in November, and for those that are agreed, the changes to the regulation of international trade will come into force 90 days later.</p> <p>There are 184 Parties to CITES (including the European Union) which means the Convention has near universal acceptance and authority over the international trade in those threatened species included in its Appendices. CITES overall goal is that trade in CITES-listed species should be legal, traceable and sustainable.</p> <p>Nearly 4,000 government officials, experts, representatives of trade organizations, NGOs and local, national and international organizations that work on conservation, biodiversity and the environment are expected to attend the meeting in Panama in November. They will spend two weeks considering and debating, with the Parties making decisions on, the most pressing issues in wildlife trade and conservation.</p> <p>CITES Secretary-General, Ivonne Higuero, welcomed the strong interest from the Parties, “Trade in wildlife products is enormously important. There is almost no area of our lives that is not dependent on nature and this is why the international trade in wild fauna and flora must be sustainable. Our survival depends upon it and the decisions that the CITES Parties will take in November will contribute to the conservation of species, of biodiversity and to the health of our planet.”</p> <p>Note to editors:</p> <p>For further information or interview requests, contact: David Whitbourn at <a href=""></a> or on +41 79 477 0806</p> <p>To see the proposals, as put forward by the Parties to CITES:</p> <p><a href=""></a></p> <p>To apply for Media Accreditation for the 19<sup>th</sup> World Wildlife Conference (CITES CoP19) in Panama City from November 14 to 25:</p> <p><a href=""></a></p> <p>The main web page for the 19<sup>th</sup> World Wildlife Conference (CITES CoP19) is:</p> <p></p> <p>About CITES</p> <p>With 184 Parties, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) remains one of the world's most powerful tools for wildlife conservation through the regulation of trade. Thousands of species are internationally traded and used by people in their daily lives for food, health care, housing, tourist souvenirs, cosmetics or fashion.</p> <p>CITES regulates international trade in over 38,000 species of plants and animals, including their products and derivatives, to ensure their survival in the wild with benefits for the livelihoods of local people and the global environment. The CITES permit system seeks to ensure that international trade in listed 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.</p> <p>CITES was signed in Washington D.C. on 3 March 1973 and entered into force on 1 July 1975.</p> <p>Learn more about CITES by visiting</p> Fri, 24 Jun 2022 10:00:15 +0200 davidw 131815 CITES’ Virtual College reopens <p>The CITES Virtual College has been updated and relaunched.<img alt="Virtual College Homepage" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="5d3c5145-fc8d-442c-abf9-21da2dcc9b0a" height="288" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/CITES_Virtual_College_cover.png" width="528" class="align-right" loading="lazy" /></p> <p>This web-based library and learning resource (<a href=""></a><a href="">/eng/virtual-college</a>) offers the opportunity to get easy access to a wealth of information and to learn about, and better understand, the workings of the Convention and how it regulates the international trade in endangered species of Fauna and Flora.</p> <p>The Virtual College originally came into being in 2011 and was developed with the financial support of the European Union, with expert contributions from Spain and the International University of Andalusia (UNIA). This update gives it new functionality, easier navigation and makes it more mobile-friendly.</p> <p>It includes identification guides, reference materials and a comprehensive look at one of CITES’ unique tools, the Non-Detriment Finding (NDF) – where authorities carry out studies to ensure that a potential trade does not adversely impact the conservation of the species. Over the next months, additional training materials will be added designed to help CITES Management and Scientific Authorities run workshops and courses that give both an introduction to the Convention and a more in-depth view of how it works. .</p> <p>This updated version is available in the three official languages of the Convention, (Spanish, French and English). All materials are organized and categorized for easy reference, to make the sure it’s user-friendly for both expert and non-experts and all materials are easily searchable through either keywords or advanced searches. As it’s web-based, it can be used by anyone who has an internet connection on computer or mobile phone, as individual users or groups. It’s also open to those who have no formal connection to CITES or its implementation but who are interested in the workings of one of the world’s most successful multilateral agreements.</p> <p><img alt="Virtual College web page" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="dbe7f217-51fe-40a3-bef0-e582d8971cf3" height="319" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/CITES_Virtual_College_IDMaterials.png" width="563" class="align-left" loading="lazy" />The upgrades to the course material are still on-going and new materials will be added as they become available. More online courses are under development and they will be fitted in to the new design in the coming months. Once complete, the Virtual College will be the most complete guide to CITES and its implementation that exists and it will contribute significantly to ensuring that international trade in endangered species of animals and plants is legal, sustainable and traceable.</p> <p>CITES Secretary-General, Ivonne Higuero, believes this updated resource will attract widespread use, “CITES has been effective at regulating the World’s Wildlife Trade for nearly fifty years thanks to the knowledge and expertise of those who implement it. This updated Virtual College provides the tools for that effective implementation and will continue to help develop the expertise of those who take us forward into our next fifty years.” </p> <p>This latest upgrade to the Virtual College is being made possible through a financial contribution from the Swiss government.</p> <p>CITES is one of the multilateral environmental agreements that is working to conserve species and biodiversity. It has been nearly universally accepted by the countries of the world with 184 signatory Parties (including the European Union).</p> Fri, 24 Jun 2022 08:56:57 +0200 davidw 131705 1+1+1+1= more than 4 <p><img alt="Environment Minister" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="2d64f643-b7d6-4bd8-8236-edf2cb8de73d" height="323" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Goldsmith.jpg" width="520" class="align-right" loading="lazy" /></p> <p>The recently concluded Stockholm+50 Conference marked not only 50 years since the crucial conference on the Human Environment but also the origins, fifty years ago of four Conventions that have since shaped cultural and wildlife conservation.</p> <p>In Stockholm, Environment Ministers from around the world paid tribute to the past and present contributions of the four Conventions: Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the World Heritage Convention, CITES – the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS).</p> <p>At a specially arranged side event, the Swiss Secretary of State for the Environment, praised not only the individual contributions to conservation but also highlighted the impact of shared work and collaboration between the four. Katrin Schneeberger said, “In this case, one plus one plus one plus one equals more than four.”</p> <p>The International Environment Minister from the United Kingdom, Lord Goldsmith recognized that “These extraordinary organizations have delivered real, proper, measurable benefits across the world,” but the work must continue as “Nothing is more important than” […] “the existential challenge we face in relation to the natural world.”</p> <p>The Environment Ministers of Uzbekistan and Venezuela, spoke of their countries’ natural richness and the contribution that being a party to the conventions makes to their conservation efforts.</p> <p>Philda Kereng, Environment Minister from Botswana, spoke of how the country values its wildlife and how local communities are core to the conservation efforts, “Our lead story is in conservation that is based in the communities and this is what the world should learn from.”</p> <p>The Presidency of the European Union passes to the Czech Republic in July of this year and Deputy Environment Minister Jan Dusik, said that the priorities for conservation and biodiversity preservation that the Conventions have will also be his country’s priorities during the time they hold the presidency. He noted the three crucial meetings taking place in the second half of this year, namely the meetings of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, Ramsar and the Convention on Biological Diversity.</p> <p><img alt="Head of Conventions" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="53225efa-aad5-4451-8451-b774ac86e55e" height="327" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/IMG_7576.jpg" width="436" class="align-left" loading="lazy" />For Ramsar, Secretary General, Martha Rojas Urrego pointed out that, “Even though these Conventions were signed fifty years ago, they are as relevant as ever because they are focusing on key issues on the environmental agenda.”</p> <p>Guy Debonnet, from the World Heritage Centre which lists the world’s most important natural and cultural sites, said, “These conventions are concrete. They deal with sites, they deal with species, so they produce tangible benefits very quickly.”</p> <p>Amy Fraenkel, the Executive Secretary of CMS, talked of the importance of understanding how vital nature is, “My greatest hope for the future is that the value of nature would be appreciated by all decision-makers, governments, private sector and others. Investing in nature brings benefits for everything.”</p> <p>Finally, for CITES, Secretary-General, Ivonne Higuero, struck a note of optimism, “The environmental challenges we’re facing are great, but we are equipped for them and this Stockholm Conference must give us a renewed impetus to work together to reverse the loss of biodiversity we’ve seen and ensure we reach a balance with nature.”</p> Sat, 11 Jun 2022 00:19:48 +0200 davidw 131691 AI helps to fight the illegal trade in shark and ray fins <p>A mobile app that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help customs officers in Asia identify illegally traded species of<img alt="Fin Finder App" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="5c0af7ff-32ae-4a2e-bd27-c0f416f4f4e4" height="452" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/FinFinder.png" width="218" class="align-right" loading="lazy" /> sharks and rays has just been released. Fin Finder is a collaboration between Microsoft, Conservation International and the Singapore National Parks Board (NParks) and has included data and advice from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).</p> <p>It can accurately identify 35 species of sharks and rays from the shape of their fins. 14 of these species are on CITES Appendix II – which means that their international trade is strictly regulated and subject to certain conditions.</p> <p>There are approximately 1,000 species of sharks and rays in the world, of which over 30 species are listed under CITES Appendix II for regulated trade. In Singapore, more than 160,000 kilograms of fins from CITES-listed sharks and rays have entered the borders between 2012 and 2020<a href="#_ftn1" name="_ftnref1" id="_ftnref1">[1]</a>. The current process requires officers to collect the fins from each shipment for DNA testing to determine its species. This takes up to one week on average.</p> <p>The new app, Fin Finder, optimizes this process by allowing officers to take photos of fins that will be matched against a database of over 15,000 shark and ray fin images via an AI-driven algorithm in the app. In a matter of seconds, the AI-powered app will quickly and accurately provide a visual identification of shark and ray species onsite and give officers the chance to quickly flag suspicious fin shipments for further DNA testing.</p> <p>The new app will allow customs officers to quickly identify the species and allow them to know whether a particular specimen needs to have the appropriate CITES permits to allow its international trade. This ability will contribute significantly to the efforts to stop the widespread illegal trade of shark and ray fins. It's expected the app will be made available to customs officers worldwide in the coming months.</p> <p>Ivonne Higuero, Secretary-General of CITES, said: “The first step in ensuring international trade complies with CITES regulations comes with the, sometimes difficult, process of identifying the species being traded. Fin Finder is a welcome and innovative addition in the identification of fins and will complement other tools such as iSharkFin. It will give customs and enforcement officers an easy-to-use tool that will contribute to ensure that international trade in CITES-listed species remains legal, traceable, and sustainable.”</p> <p>Beyond identification of illegally traded shark and ray fins, officers from the Singapore NParks will also use Fin Finder as a single-platform directory of relevant shark and ray species. The app also offers onsite access to reference materials that can be used for validation of CITES-approved permits or shipping documents. This feature is expected to reduce the time and effort spent on shipment validation, enabling officers to help put a stop to illegal wildlife trade more quickly.</p> <p>Dr Adrian Loo, Group Director of Wildlife Management, NParks, said: “When wildlife species are traded illegally, the consequences are far-reaching to ecosystems, economies and communities around the world. By using advanced technology in the creation of Fin Finder, we can strengthen the enforcement against the illegal trade of sharks and ray species following CITES regulation, and boost Singapore’s capabilities in conserving precious biodiversity. The collaboration with Microsoft and Conservation International also reinforces the importance of collective efforts among the public and private sector in combating illegal wildlife trade.”</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref1" name="_ftn1" id="_ftn1">[1]</a> CITES Trade Database (<a href=""></a>)</p> Sat, 11 Jun 2022 00:00:16 +0200 davidw 131689 A move to more sustainable fishing in the Caribbean <p class="text-align-justify">80 representatives from Caribbean countries and the US have received <img alt="Conch Shell" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="f90f96f2-93c4-4cad-8124-c6f536154902" height="295" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/%C2%A9Rudra%20Badree%20%282021%29.jpg" width="524" class="align-right" loading="lazy" />training to better ensure the long-term sustainability of local marine species that are crucial for the livelihoods of communities in the region. The waters of the Caribbean are home to species that are heavily commercially traded, notably queen conch and sharks, which are included in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (<a href="">CITES</a>). The Convention, if properly implemented and enforced, will ensure the sustainability of the species.</p> <p>To support Caribbean countries in meeting their commitments under the Convention, particularly with respect to CITES-listed species, the <a href="">CITES Secretariat</a> and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)’s <a href="">Development Law Service (LEGN)</a> jointly organized this workshop in early June. The objective of the workshop was to train representatives of national fisheries administrations, CITES Management and Scientific Authorities and other relevant institutions and strengthening cooperation between fisheries and CITES authorities for the effective implementation of CITES in the fisheries sector.</p> <p>Queen conch fishing <a href="">contributes significantly</a> to the livelihoods of communities in the region, and brings economic opportunities through international trade. The <a href="">sustainable use, management and monitoring</a> of these species, as well as the <a href="">regulation of their trade</a> is of paramount importance for their conservation.</p> <p>The 80 participants came from 12 Parties to CITES: Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States of America. Representatives from the European Union, the Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission (WECAFC) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) also took part in the meeting.</p> <p>During the four days of the workshop, each country shared their knowledge and practical experience of CITES implementation, outlining the relevant institutional and regulatory framework, the importance of CITES-listed species, the remaining challenges and current initiatives. The WECAFC also gave a presentation that looked at how its members were implementing the <a href="">Regional Queen Conch Fisheries Management and Conservation Plan</a>.</p> <p>During the workshop, the participants used the <a href="">FAO-CITES Legal Study and Guide</a>, which contains options for enhancing national fisheries legislation for better implementation of the Convention.</p> <p>Mr Mauro Gongora, Fisheries Officer at Belize Fisheries Department, Mr Romeo Lala, Chief Permit Section at Suriname Nature Conservation Division, and Ms Laura Cimo, International Policy Advisor at the US National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA) shared their next steps: Belize and Suriname intend to create working groups to enhance the cooperation between CITES authorities and fisheries authorities, particularly on the creation of non-detriment findings (NDFs) and LAFs for CITES-listed species, and the ongoing process within the countries regarding the development of a new CITES Act, which will allow for further implementation of the Convention and strengthening the related work. In the US, the sharing of information and strengthening of enforcement through higher penalties to deter illegal activities were also emphasized.</p> <p>In her remarks during the closing of the Workshop, Ms Rachel Gaughan, Legal Officer of the CITES Secretariat emphasized that <em>“working together on CITES and fisheries matters can lead to more constructive results on cross-cutting issues, avoid</em><em> working in silos and [rather] be mutually supportive</em>”. Ms Gaughan also encouraged the participation of States parties at the upcoming <a href="">19<sup>th</sup> Conference of the Parties</a> of CITES, which will happen in Panama from 14-25 November 2022, noting the importance of their contributions to ongoing discussions on matters such as LAF and introduction from the sea.</p> <p>The workshop had the assistance and support of the FAO Subregional Office for the Caribbean, FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, and FAO Offices in the concerned countries. This was the second workshop delivered by FAO and the CITES Secretariat under the project on implementing CITES through national fisheries legal frameworks. The <a href="">first workshop with Pacific Island Countries</a> was held in November 2021.</p> Fri, 10 Jun 2022 23:34:49 +0200 davidw 131687 Countdown to World Wildlife Conference <p>The countdown has begun to the 19<sup>th</sup> World Wildlife Confere<img alt="CoP19 Logo" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="e545d94d-a0d8-4e2a-bec3-f38329b292dd" height="567" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/latestCoPLogo_1.png" width="556" class="align-right" loading="lazy" />nce which is taking place in Panama… and the event’s logo has been unveiled.</p> <p>Known more officially as the meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, CoP19 will take place from the 14<sup>th</sup> to the 25<sup>th</sup> of November in the central American capital of Panama City. The logo was designed by the host country and reflects the crucial role of the Isthmus of Panama, since its formation millions of years ago, in enabling wildlife to spread throughout the Americas.</p> <p>The event will bring together nearly four thousand people, all experts in conservation and international trade and will include representatives of the European Union and the 183 signatory countries to CITES.</p> <p>CITES Secretary-General, Ivonne Higuero said, ‘I am very grateful to the Government of Panama for its generous offer to host this meeting of the Conference of the Parties. This is a crucial meeting, and the decisions taken will be vital to our efforts to safeguard the future of the Earth’s wildlife. I look forward to working with the expert delegates to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of CITES-listed species."</p> <p>Shirley Binder, is a Representative of Panama’s Environment Ministry, ‘"The Panamanian government is honored to host this gathering of such distinguished personalities from the world of wildlife conservation. With this great event, Panama will have the opportunity to show the world the richness of its biodiversity and its organizational capabilities. The logo we have prepared shows that American continent in its context as a transit area for wildlife, both terrestrial, marine and aquatic"</p> <p>In the image, flora is represented by a branch and flower from an almendro tree (<em>Dipteryx panamensis)</em>. It’s a species that Panama would like to see uplisted; it is currently listed in Appendix III for Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and its transfer to Appendix II is intended to make its listing binding on all other countries.</p> <p>Several species represent fauna. The jaguar, a species listed in Appendix I, which prohibits international trade, represents regional conservation because, by protecting jaguars and their ecosystems, all species in the jaguar’s range are conserved.</p> <p>The frog represents the proposed listings of amphibians in Appendix II that will be considered in November, to foster conservation of those species threatened with extinction.</p> <p>Marine species are represented by a shark. Shark populations have declined as a result of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and activities that are not conducive to conservation.</p> <p>Lastly, birds are represented by the majestic quetzal, a species found in Central America that symbolizes the entire group of birds that are currently highly threatened by illegal trade.</p> Wed, 01 Jun 2022 01:01:27 +0200 davidw 131648 What’s an NDF and why is it important? <p>One of the most important tools in conservation is being reviewed and overhauled thanks to funds from</p> <p><img alt="Botanist studying tree" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="4ed526bf-ad33-466a-af4b-ca43e26789c2" height="277" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/shutterstock_2088866434.jpg" width="415" class="align-right" loading="lazy" /></p> <p>Germany, Switzerland and the European Union.</p> <p>The tool is called a Non-Detriment Finding and it plays a vital part in the trade and conservation of endangered species.</p> <p>CITES regulates international trade in threatened and endangered species and before any permit for trade can be issued, a Non-Detriment Finding (NDF) must be carried out. This is a science-based study that assesses whether any trade will have a negative (or detrimental) effect on the survival of that species. More than that, it looks at whether or not a trade would allow populations of the specific species to be maintained, throughout its range and at a level ‘consistent with its role in the ecosystems in which it occurs’.</p> <p>The 184 Parties to the CITES Convention have agreed that trade in species that are listed in its Annexes can only be allowed ‘in accordance with the provisions of the Convention’. The way the convention works is with every single Party (country) having a Management Authority and a Scientific Authority. Before any export of specimens removed from the wild is authorized by the Management Authority, the Scientific Authority must have confirmed that the export will not be detrimental to the survival of that species (NDF).</p> <p>This review will look closely at every aspect of how NDFs can be carried out in practice. Over the past fifty years of CITES existence, the process has been worked on and refined. In 2019, at the last meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, it was decided that the current guidance on carrying out an NDF needed reviewing and where necessary, updating.</p> <p>The European Union, Germany and Switzerland (all Parties to CITES), have provided funding for this review. It will be run by the CITES Secretariat with the advice of the CITES Animals and Plants Committees and involve the expertise of CITES Parties, range States and specialist institutions.</p> <p>The project will strengthen the capacity of CITES Parties, and particularly of range States of CITES-listed species to make NDFs that draw on the best available science while also being open to the inclusion of all sources of knowledge, including local, traditional and stakeholder knowledge. The NDF guidance will be rigorously field-tested to ensure it is applicable by Parties with limited capacity. It will address the general process of making NDFs as well as species-specific aspects related to shared marine stocks, migratory species, birds, invertebrates, timber producing trees, and non-timber plant species.</p> <p>As a contribution to the UN decade on ecosystem restoration, CITES Parties and interested stakeholders will, from 2024 onwards, have access to a comprehensive and updated set of tools and materials to ensure that international trade in wild species is not detrimental to their survival, and consistent with their role in their ecosystems.</p> Mon, 23 May 2022 18:45:21 +0200 davidw 131124 Blue BioTrade in the Caribbean <p>A new packet of measures designed to promote legal and sustainable trade, and bring economic benefits to<img alt="Queen Conch shell in the Caribbean Sea" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="04dfd156-3a61-4246-a7e3-a51ed3ced6c9" height="265" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/shutterstock_1832814697.jpg" width="398" class="align-right" loading="lazy" /></p> <p>local communities in the East Caribbean fishing industry, under the Blue BioTrade Project is being discussed this week. The 2 day meeting, which is being held on the island country of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, is reviewing the results of an 18 month project designed to examine the business potential of trade in Blue BioTrade products from three Eastern Caribbean countries (Grenada, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) and the sustainable fishing of queen conch, an iconic local species.</p> <p><br /> The Queen Conch is a seafood delicacy, which also has important non-food therapeutic and handicraft uses. For a number of years, its harvesting and trade was improperly regulated, leading to a sharp decline in numbers throughout its range.The Blue BioTrade Project has been helping fishers work more sustainably and within the existing trade rules to improve their livelihoods and the local economy. The project has been a collaboration between the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora (CITES) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). In partnership, they launched the Blue Bio Trade Project that aims to give small-scale producers from the target countries improved incomes, access to new markets, while at the same time ensuring that the queen conch species (Strombus gigas) is being more sustainably managed.</p> <p><br /> The project was launched just over eighteen months ago and funded through the European Union and the OECS. It has involved research and the drawing-up of evidence-based policy solutions and now has a plan of action to help local industry and help protect local biodiversity.<br /> The queen conch is a CITES Appendix II-listed species, which means that its trade should be subject to regulations compatible with legal, traceable and sustainable use. The global market of this sea mollusc or shellfish was estimated at USD74 million in 2017 and continues to grow.</p> <p><br /> While its global demand is booming, the Project believes that small-scale coastal producers in the eastern Caribbean are not fully seizing the breadth of opportunities offered by sustainable queen conch markets.<br /> CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero said that, in the wake of mounting and global concerns about people’s relationship with nature, the project would “promote long-term sustainability of the use of and trade in queen conch, and the well-being of local communities that rely on fisheries for their livelihoods.”</p> <p><br /> In many locations, early, uncontrolled harvesting of queen conch has resulted in overfishing, illegal landings and a rapid deterioration of stocks. This is why it has been listed in CITES Appendix II since 1992. That Appendix includes species that are not necessarily threatened with extinction, but for which international trade must be controlled to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival.</p> <p><br /> Key supply-side concerns in the queen conch value chain include the absence of traceability systems and limited landing and trade data. Equally of concern is the limited understanding and use of CITES requirements and processes, such as the issuing of trade permits, as well as the lack of common handling practices and sanitary standards and no official organizations to represent the fishers’ interests.</p> <p><br /> UNCTAD, OECS and CITES have joined forces to map and prioritize these concerns and seek to address them. The meeting in St Vincent and the Grenadines this week will involve all interested parties and will hope to agree the plans to move forward with sustainable trade under the Blue Bio Trade Project banner.</p> Mon, 23 May 2022 18:28:15 +0200 davidw 131122 Email invitations purporting to come from the CITES Secretariat <p><strong>Geneva, 17 May 2022</strong> - The CITES Secretariat has been made aware that fake email invitations to accept an award letter have recently been sent using the name of the CITES Secretary-General as the original sender. A sample of such an invitation is shown below:</p> <img alt="cites message email" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="843190df-9875-4a65-b4f0-00e7d6060381" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/17052022_cites_message_email.jpg" class="align-center" width="198" height="329" loading="lazy" /><p>The Secretariat wishes to inform all CITES Parties and other relevant stakeholders, including the Committee members of the Standing Committee, as well as the representatives of the Permanent Missions to the United Nations Office at Geneva, that such emails are not sent from the CITES Secretariat or any of its staff. The Secretariat recommends not to open or reply to such emails, open attachments, or follow any hyperlinks contained therein.</p> <p>Parties and other relevant stakeholders are advised to check closely for any irregular communication purporting to originate from the Secretariat. If in doubt, you may wish to contact the Secretariat through a separate email to <a href=""></a>, or by other means of communication, such as telephone.</p> Tue, 17 May 2022 16:50:30 +0200 shashika 131093 Happy Earth Day - Happy Mother Earth Day <p>Mother Earth Day message - April 2022<br /> From CITES Secretary-General, Ivonne Higuero</p> <p>Happy Mother Earth Day to you.<img alt="CITES Secretary-General" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="a4485676-0143-41b5-8985-60fadc81e4dd" height="183" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/CITES-SG-Ivonne-Higuero_S.jpg" width="173" class="align-right" loading="lazy" /><br /> For many thousands of years, there have been peoples and cultures that have recognized the importance of Mother Earth and looked to it as a nurturing and sustaining force and one that needs and deserves our respect.<br /> Over the past few years, we have come to reach a scientific consensus that this view of the earth is the only one that will ensure our long-term future. We must protect our biodiversity and our ecosystems and when we use the resources nature gives us, it must be in a sustainable way.<br /> The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development sets out a vision for a world in which humanity lives in harmony with nature, and in which wildlife and other living species are conserved.<br /> Mother Earth Day reminds us that we are in a partnership with our planet and that comes with obligations. We thank the Plurinational State of Bolivia for taking the lead in creating this International Day that reminds us to safeguard our shared natural environment, our shared home.</p> Fri, 22 Apr 2022 22:59:28 +0200 davidw 130871 Viet Nam considers conservation plan for two of its most valuable tree species <p>Vietnamese Authorities are considering a management and conservation plan for two of their most valuable native tree species. The plans, which have been proposed by the Center for Nature Conservation and Development (CCD) Viet Nam, are for the two species of rosewood (<em>Dalbergia cochinchinensis</em> and <em>Dalbergia oliveri). </em>They are among the most sought-after trees in international trade for high-end furniture and decorative products. The wood has a high commercial value and is well-known for durability, corrosion and termite resistance and has been extensively used in construction and furniture making. As a result, both tree species have been the most heavily exploited and traded species in Viet Nam and many other countries. The wild populations are now small and fragmented and without proper conservation and restoration measures, are at high risk of extinction in many parts of the country.<img alt="Dalbergia" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="e6a49aa6-2168-475b-90b2-2635f0ac1fa8" height="323" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/VN2_0.jpg" width="323" class="align-right" loading="lazy" /></p> <p>Over the past 20 years, international trade and demand for precious timbers in the genus <em>Dalbergia</em> have increased dramatically in the East Asian markets, leading to over-exploitation and illegal trade in all areas of their distribution, not only in Viet Nam and Southeast Asian countries but also in Africa and South America.</p> <p>In Viet Nam, there is currently no conservation programme for this group of species and no concentrated planting area to create an alternative supply of these species from the wild. At present, <em>D. cochinchinensis</em> and <em>D. oliveri </em>have been exhaustedly exploited in their natural distribution areas and only a few small populations remain, which are being strictly protected in national parks and nature reserves. Even so, they are still facing risks of illegal logging and land-use conversion which cannot be restored. The species have a slow growth rate, so they are rarely selected as plant species for main afforestation and restoration programs. Only in a few places have <em>D. cochinchinensis</em> and <em>D. oliveri </em>been piloted for plantation and forest enrichment and only in small areas for research or experimentation purposes.</p> <p>The proposed management and conservation plan will take in urgent, medium-term and long-term activities that will run until 2035. It will involve an initial stocktaking and measuring of all the wild populations, mapping where they are and developing a digital database for effective sharing and use of all the information that will be gathered. From there additional programmes will be developed to produce seeds for new forests and reforestation. The proposed plan have set out targets to pilot the planting of at least ten hectares of both the species, enriching 100 hectares of natural forests, and zoning 200 hectares with assisted natural regeneration.</p> <p><img alt="Dalbergia" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="2e034f70-d16d-4973-844e-cf029f961db0" height="259" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/VN1_0.jpg" width="259" class="align-left" loading="lazy" />All the proposed conservation efforts in the various parts of the country will also be monitored, using high-tech equipment.</p> <p>The plan has been designed to work heavily with local populations and the Vietnamese public to stress the importance of the rosewood tree species, of using them sustainably and the importance of combatting the illegal trade, using community conservation teams and community forest protection teams.</p> <p>Viet Nam is one of the top 25 countries in the world in terms of biodiversity, with about 20,000 species of plants, 3,000 species of fish, more than 1,000 species of birds, and over 300 species of mammals. However, it has been facing serious biodiversity loss due to deforestation and forest degradation as well as illegal hunting, logging, and international trade in wild plants and animals.</p> Mon, 18 Apr 2022 10:28:44 +0200 davidw 130853 Secretary-General&#039;s opening remarks at the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development 2022 - Geneva, Switzerland <p>On the occasion of the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Region – Coordinated by UNECE and The International Telecommunication Union</p> <p>CITES Secretary-General, Ivonne Higuero, on ‘Building Digital Ecosystems’. Delivered in Geneva on 6 April 2022.</p> <p>It is an honor for me to speak on this very important topic - thanks to UNECE and ITU for the invitation.</p> <p>Excellencies, dear delegates, before I speak about the topic of the session, allow me to provide some background on CITES.<strong> </strong>The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora or CITES is a legally binding, multilateral environmental agreement with 184 Parties.</p> <p>The overall objective of the Convention is to ensure that international trade in these species is sustainable, legal and traceable to ensure their survival in the wild, providing opportunities for sustainable trade and economic development, particularly in developing countries and benefitting local communities.</p> <p>It may surprise you that CITES regulates the international trade of more than 38,000 species. This regulation of international trade in CITES specimens is through a permitting system – trade in Appendix I species (about 3 percent of CITES listed species) is very restricted and trade in Appendix II species (about 97 percent of CITES listed species) is allowed only if certain conditions are met.</p> <p>I believe that innovation in digitalization can play an important role to accelerate efforts to achieve the CITES objective. Greater uptake of digital solutions and advanced technologies like blockchain will create tremendous value to bolster transparency and traceability; as well as decrease the possibility of corruption throughout the process of authorized trade of specimens in CITES-listed species.</p> <p>Now, let me share some food for thought about moving towards greater digitalization of CITES trade processes.</p> <ul><li>First, we must recognize the contexts and the inherent challenges and needs of many of our Parties; each Party must designate national Management and Scientific Authorities but there may be lack of ICT-readiness within these Authorities or their peer agencies, especially in developing countries and in countries with economies in transition. The need for investments and building digital skills should be addressed, too.</li> <li>Second, we need to continue building on the appetite for digital solutions and must engage more with various stakeholders including the CITES Management and Scientific Authorities, customs, border agencies, enforcement authorities or other related bodies.</li> <li>Third, we must continue to innovate. Innovation is essential in consolidating and strengthening existing solutions. This is where advanced technologies like blockchain can play an important role. I am happy to share that a few Parties are already exploring the use of blockchain in their e-permitting systems.</li> <li>Fourth, we need to have more Parties exchanging permit data. This means we need to develop inter-operable digital systems based on international standards. I should mention that pilot exchanges have been taking place since 2017, first launched by Switzerland and France. And the European Commission is at the final stages of developing a system for EU member states. I am happy to note the collaboration between UNECE, ESCAP and UNCTAD for supporting a few other countries. Continued partnerships of international organizations to CITES Parties based on their expertise is more than welcome.</li> <li>Last but not least, we need to develop functioning partnerships nationally, regionally and internationally.</li> </ul><p>Digital solutions work best when trade processes are coordinated and harmonized among national agencies. A case in point for CITES is cooperation between the national customs agencies and their regulatory requirements vis-à-vis the CITES Management Authorities and their requirements for control.</p> <p>With the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen the appetite to move towards digitalization or virtual means of trade. There is no denial that the transition to a digital process also means less exposure to risks and increased resilience to future pandemics or other shocks. For CITES, expanding into a full-fledged electronic CITES agenda will take us steps closer to achieving the objective of making trade legal, sustainable, and traceable.</p> <p>Thank you again.</p> Wed, 06 Apr 2022 17:22:19 +0200 shashika 130832 Trade ban proposed to conserve one of Africa&#039;s most exploited tree species <p><img alt="Pterocarpus erinaceus" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="81aca294-1b55-4c58-a328-f2449ce1a7d7" height="306" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/21.%20Pterocarpus%20erinaceus%20%C2%A9Ji-Elle%20CC%20BY-SA%204.0%20via%20Wikimedia%20Commons.jpg" width="204" class="align-right" loading="lazy" /></p> <p>One of west Africa’s most exploited tree species could be given additional emergency protection to reduce the threat of extinction. <em>Pterocarpus erinaceus</em>, also known as kosso or barwood, is found in west and central Africa. It’s used for woodworking, medicine, fuel and animal feed and is protected under CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. The 16 member states of CITES where the tree species is known to grow, have one month to respond before the emergency measures come into force preventing all international trade.</p> <p><br /><em>Pterocarpus erinaceus</em> is listed in Appendix II of CITES, which means its international trade is strictly controlled to prevent it becoming a threat to its survival. Recent studies have shown that illegal harvesting and trade have further reduced numbers of the trees in the wild and this triggered the extra measures.</p> <p><br /> Unless there are any objections, a complete trade suspension will come into force on the 27th of April to ensure the sustainability and viability of the remaining trees. In the meantime, all states that import <em>Pterocarpus erinaceus</em> are being urged to reject any export permits for shipments arriving at their borders and stop any further trade in this species.</p> Mon, 28 Mar 2022 17:45:00 +0200 davidw 130803