CITES Conference of the Parties

For the past 40 years, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has sponsored a Conference of the Parties (CoP), a global gathering held every 3 years to discuss a wide range of issues that have a significant impact on endangered animals and plants.

CITES is an international agreement among governments to ensure that the international commercial trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. CITES has 177 members, also known as Parties.

As it has done since 1997, IFAW is sending a team of delegates to the 16th CoP, which takes place this year from March 3 to 14 in Bangkok, Thailand.

As observers to the CoP, IFAW reviews and analyzes the proposals under consideration by the CoP, takes positions and makes recommendations.

IFAW supports initiatives under consideration by CITES that would in part:

  • Establish a panel of experts who would evaluate proposals to transfer the African elephant from Appendix I to Appendix II. Parties would be required to consider the panel’s recommendations. IFAW’s position in: (English)  (Español)  (French)  (Russian)  (Arabic)  
  • Ensure that that any decision to allow stockpile ivory sales in no way stimulates, encourages, causes or provokes elephant poaching or illegal ivory trade. IFAW’s position in: (English)  (Español)  (French)  (Russian)  (Arabic)  
  • Delay a conclusion on a decision-making process that would lead to the resumption of the ivory trade before the current poaching crisis being experienced in Africa and parts of Asia is ended. IFAW’s position in: (English)  (Español)  (French)  (Russian)  (Arabic)  
  • Urge all parties, particularly the U.S., the EU, Japan and China, to finance African Elephant Fund projects that would end the current poaching crisis in Africa and target current poaching hotspots in Central Africa, East Africa, and South Central Africa. IFAW’s position in: (English)  (Español)  (French)  (Russian)  (Arabic)  
  • List endangered oceanic whitetip, scalloped hammerhead, great hammerhead, smooth hammerhead, porbeagle sharks and mantas on Appendix II. IFAW’s position in: (English)  (Español)  (French)  (Russian)  (Arabic)  
  • Require either a simple or one-third majority to approve a motion to conduct a secret ballot. IFAW’s position in: (English)  (Español)  (French)  (Russian)  (Arabic)  
  • Require plants and animal committees to disclose potential conflicts of interest. IFAW’s position in: (English)  (Español)  (French)  (Russian)  (Arabic)  
  • Transfer the polar bear from Appendix II to Appendix I. IFAW’s position in: (English)  (Español)  (French)  (Russian)  (Arabic)  
  • Establish a framework for issuing “introduction of the sea” certificates and export permits, which regulate the taking of a CITES specimen on the high seas, outside the jurisdiction of a CITES Party. IFAW’s position in: (English)  (Español)  (French)  (Russian)  (Arabic)  
  • Adopt a resolution that would provide a basis for deciding what information to consider when making robust, science-based findings that are non-detrimental to animals. IFAW’s position in: (English)  (Español)  (French)  (Russian)  (Arabic)  
  • Establish guidelines for the exemption of Appendix I and II specimens in personal and household effects. IFAW’s position in: (English)  (Español)  (French)  (Russian)  (Arabic)  

IFAW supports a resolution that would in part:

IFAW opposes initiatives that would in part:

  • Fund the hiring of a consultant who would review whether there is a need to clarify, revise or repeal CITES resolutions, among other issues. IFAW’s position in: (English)  (Español)  (French)  (Russian)  (Arabic)  
  • Shift the Convention’s strategic vision away from an approach that directs resources to compliance efforts and enforcement capacity building towards the facilitation and promotion of wildlife trade. IFAW’s position in: (English)  (Español)  (French)  (Russian)  (Arabic)  
  • Support a report  that falls short of making recommendations as to how to incorporate climate change science into CITES decision-making. IFAW’s position in: (English)  (Español)  (French)  (Russian)  (Arabic)  
  • Reduce the number of purpose codes in the CITES Trade Database, which would eliminate important codes such as Z (zoos) and B (captive breeding) in exchange for a simpler coding system. IFAW’s position in: (English)  (Español)  (French)  (Russian)  (Arabic)  
  • Lead to the approval of a document to require that confiscated specimens or profit from the sale of confiscated specimens be returned to the country of export, thereby stimulating commercial trade. IFAW’s position in:  (English)  (Español)  (French)  (Russian)  (Arabic)  

Three CITES appendices to protect animals

CITES maintains three appendices that provide a level of protection for wild animals and plant life.

On Appendix I are species such as tigers and African elephants that are threatened with extinction. Commercial trade in these species is illegal. On Appendix II are species such the saiga antelope and the white-headed duck that may become extinct unless commercial trade is strictly regulated.

On Appendix III are species such as the alligator snapping turtle and walrus that one Party has asked other CITES Parties for help in controlling the commercial trade of the species. These animals and plants are not necessarily under the threat of becoming extinct.


IFAW at CITES CoP 16 Bangkok

This is a collection of filings from International Fund for Animal Welfare staff or third-party posts of note discussing the 16th Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species happening March 3-14 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Storified by action4ifaw· Fri, Feb 15 2013 08:34:15

CITES Bangkok: navigating complicated policy waters in pursuit of a better future for wildlifeThe 16th meeting of the Convention of the Parties (CoP16) to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Faun...
Save imperiled polar bears from catastrophic climate change, trophy hunting, and commercial tradeA new report published in the journal Conservation Letters reveals that anthropogenic global warming is wreaking havoc on polar bears. Th...
As CITES approaches, work continues to alleviate attacks on shark finsShortly after the dawn of 2013, a federal judge thankfully denied an attempt to delay implementation of California's law banning restaura...
On World Animal Day, we need strong proposals for wildlife protection at CITESProposals for items to be taken up by the 16th meeting of the Convention of the Parties (CoP16) to the Convention on the International Tr...