The 183 parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) will adopt decisions and resolutions to expand and strengthen the global wildlife trade regime during the organization’s triennial World Wildlife Conference in Geneva Aug. 17-28.
Governments have submitted 56 new proposals to change levels of protection that CITES provides for species of wild animals and plants in international trade, to be considered during the 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties of CITES (CoP18), CITES stated in a press release.
Many proposals seek to ensure that trade in at-risk species remains sustainable by requiring trade permits, while others recommend banning all commercial trade in specimens of species threatened by extinction, and additional proposals aim to provide evidence that a population has stabilized or expanded and can be safely transferred from the ban list to the list of species requiring trade permits.
“CITES sets the rules for international trade in wild fauna and flora,” CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero said in a statement. “It is a powerful tool for ensuring sustainability and responding to the rapid loss of biodiversity — often called the sixth extinction crisis — by preventing and reversing declines in wildlife populations.”
Rules will be considered regarding trade in mammals, birds, trees, reptiles, amphibians and other plants, CITES said.
For example, 20 listing proposals were prompted by concern over a growing appetite of the exotic pet trade for “charismatic amphibians and reptiles,” and delegates also will decide whether musical instruments made of wood from trees regulated by CITES should be exempted from controls.
In addition, the conference will consider trade in animal and plant specimens from non-wild sources.
Proposals have been tabled to ban all commercial trade in species including garden lizards, horned lizards, certain box turtles and tortoises, according to CITES.
Further, the conference will consider rules pertaining to fish, including the potential requirement for permits to trade certain shark fins and sea cucumbers.
The conference also will address wildlife crime linked to the internet, the use of forensic applications, corruption, a threat assessment report on wildlife crime in West and Central Africa and storage and management of data on illegal trade used to inform decision-making, CITES said.
CITES regulates international trade in more than 35,000 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 environment.
The convention was signed in Washington, D.C., on March 3, 1973, and entered into force on July 1, 1975.