IUCN/SSC and TRAFFIC launch project to review CITES proposals

12 May 2004 | News story

Gland, Switzerland, 12 May 2004 (IUCN) - This week marks the start of an intensive three months for IUCN's Wildlife Trade Programme and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, as a major project begins to provide technical reviews of proposals to change the listing of plant and animal species on the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) Appendices.

A species may be listed on one of three Appendices which offer varying degrees of trade regulation. These proposals are to be considered by the CITES member countries when they meet for the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP) in Bangkok, Thailand 2-14 October this year.

The CITES Secretariat has received over 50 proposals which cover a broad range of species including the great white shark, African lion, the humphead wrasse, various tropical birds, trees and orchids, numerous freshwater turtle species, the southern white rhinoceros, two crocodile species, the bald eagle, several medicinal plants, the African elephant and minke whale.

IUCN and TRAFFIC prepare the Analyses of Proposals to Amend the CITES Appendices in the run-up to every COP (which take place every two and a half years). IUCN's Species Survival Commission (SSC) collects information on the status and biology of species from its Specialist Group network and the broader scientific community, while TRAFFIC collects data on the trade and use of species, using its own sources as well as the CITES trade database.

As well as core staff, the project will involve a team of consultants and a large number of specialists from the IUCN/SSC and TRAFFIC networks. The entire Analyses will be posted on the IUCN website in English by 29 July (French and Spanish versions will be posted soon after) so that the Parties have time to consult them before the Conference. From that date, the Analyses can also be accessed from the online TRAFFIC COP 13 Conference Room (www.traffic.org). The document, also available on CD, will be circulated at the COP.

The Analyses aim to ensure that the decisions made at the COP are based on the best available scientific information. They provide as objective and factual an assessment as possible of the amendment proposal against the requirements of the Convention as laid out in the CITES listing criteria and other resolutions.

Compiling the Analyses in such a short time frame is a challenging task but one that is essential in helping CITES remain a credible and effective instrument for conserving species affected by trade. Surveys carried out at the 11th and 12th COPs found them to be highly valued by the CITES Parties.

TRAFFIC also prepares its Recommendations on Proposals to Amend the Appendices which will be published in English, French and Spanish and made available from the COP 13 Conference Room.

The IUCN/SSC Wildlife Trade Programme has updated CITES: A Conservation Tool, a guide to amending the Appendices to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. This publication guides the CITES Parties through the Convention's articles and resolutions. It covers the process for the submission, presentation, and adoption of proposals to amend the Appendices for the 13th COP.

For more information:

IUCN/SSC Wildlife Trade Programme, E-mail: tradeprog@ssc-uk.org
TRAFFIC, Email: traffic@trafficint.org