MEDIA AVAILABILITY AND BACKGROUNDER FOR COVERING CITES, SEPT. 24 TO OCT. 5 IN JOHANNESBURG
Gearing Up for Reporting on CITES – A Cheat Sheet
All You Need to Know about the Sept. 24 to Oct. 5 Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa
One-On-One Briefing Available from WCS As You Prepare to Report on Importance of CITES
NEW YORK (MAY 3, 2016) -- The world will gather for the first time since March 2013 for the CITES Conference of the Parties. The 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP17) will take place Sept. 24-Oct. 5, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The agenda was released on May 2nd.
“CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.”
This Sept/Oct meeting will result in major decisions – on a global scale -- on a large number of species subject to international trade.
See CITES news release on agenda.
Full list of proposals
Key Topics at CITES:
Wildlife trafficking; the elephant poaching crisis; closing ivory markets across the globe; (To learn more: 96 Elephants)
Ending all international commercial trade of the African grey parrot;
Ending all international commercial trade for the 4 species of pangolins (also called scaly anteaters) native to Africa and the four native to Asia;
Stronger international trade regulations for sharks and rays
Key Species Proposals to Track:
The African Grey Parrot
Due to its precarious status in the wild, driven by over-exploitation and continuing illegal trade from a number of range countries, Gabon has submitted an important proposal to move the species from Appendix II to Appendix I, which would end all international commercial trade in the species
The African grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus) is one of the most popular pet parrots, but its populations in the wild have declined precipitously in recent years. It is extremely rare or locally extinct in some countries, with extremely small populations in many others where it was once widespread. Over the past 25 years, exports of over 1.3 million wild birds from 18 range countries have been reported, many of which were illegally taken from the wild, and this does not include smuggled or unreported birds. The declines in this once abundant highly social denizen of the forests of West, Central and East Africa have been most dramatic in West Africa, due both to deforestation and intensive (often illegal) trapping for trade. Gabon has submitted an important proposal to move the species from Appendix II to Appendix I, which would end all international commercial trade in the species under CITES, and enable it to recover before it is too late. Gabon’s proposal has been co-sponsored by Angola, Chad, Guinea, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, the European Union (and its 28 member countries), and the United States.
African and Asian pangolins
There are 4 species of pangolins (also called scaly anteaters) native to Africa, and four in Asia. Massive illegal and unsustainable trade in these species has devastated wild populations. Pangolins are traded for their scales (used in traditional Asian medicine) and meat. IUCN has estimated that more than a million pangolins have been taken from the wild, most illegally, in the past decade. These nocturnal, solitary mammals are desperately in need of the protection offered by CITES Appendix I, in order to enable their wild populations to being to recover.
India has submitted a proposal to transfer the Indian pangolin from Appendix II to Appendix I; the proposal has been co-sponsored by Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the United States. The Indian pangolin is native to Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and China.
The Philippines has submitted a proposal to transfer the Philippine pangolin (found only in that country) to Appendix I; it has been co-sponsored by the United States.
Vietnam has submitted a proposal to transfer the Sunda and Chinese pangolins to Appendix I. This proposal is co-sponsored by India and the United States. The Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) is found in Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam. The Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) is found in Bhutan, China, India, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Viet Nam.
Proposals to transfer the four African species of pangolins (Manis tetradactyla, Manis tricuspis, Manis gigantea and Manis temminckii) have been submitted by Nigeria and Senegal, and co-sponsored by Angola, Botswana, Central African Republic , Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Togo, and the United States.
Temminck’s pangolin (Manis temminckii): Native to: Botswana; Central African Republic; Chad; Kenya; Malawi; Mozambique; Namibia; Rwanda; South Africa; South Sudan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe. Possibly extinct in Swaziland.
Giant ground pangolin (Manis gigantea): Native to: Cameroon; Central African Republic; Congo; The Democratic Republic of Congo; Côte d'Ivoire; Equatorial Guinea; Gabon; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Kenya; Liberia; Nigeria; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Tanzania; Uganda. Extinct in: Rwanda.
Black-bellied pangolin (Manis tetradactyla): Native to: Cameroon; Central African Republic; Congo; Democratic Republic of Congo; Côte d'Ivoire; Equatorial Guinea; Gabon; Ghana; Liberia; Nigeria; Sierra Leone.
White-bellied pangolin (Manis tricuspis): Native to: Angola; Benin; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Congo; The Democratic Republic of Congo; Côte d'Ivoire; Equatorial Guinea; Gabon; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Kenya; Liberia; Nigeria; Rwanda; Sierra Leone; South Sudan; Tanzania; Togo; Uganda; Zambia.
Sharks and Rays:
Three proposals have been submitted to list sharks and rays in CITES Appendix II. This builds on the major conservation victory at CoP16 in 2013, where several shark species and the Manta rays were listed in Appendix II, as the first sharks traded commercially to achieve the necessary protection and regulation of their trade from CITES. All of the governments co-sponsoring these proposals are to be congratulated for their effort to build on the CoP16 successes, and to add these species to the list of those for which international trade will now be regulated.
Thresher sharks: A proposal has been submitted by Sri Lanka to list the 3 species of threshers (Alopias superciliosus, Alopias vulpinus, Alopias pelagicus) in Appendix II. The proposal has been co-sponsored by Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Comoros, Dominican Republic, Egypt, the European Union (and its 28 member countries), Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, India, Panama, Samoa, Senegal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, and Ukraine. .
Silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis): A proposal by the Maldives to include the species in CITES Appendix II. The proposal has been co-sponsored by Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Comoros, Dominican Republic, Egypt, the European Union (and its 28 member countries), Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, India, Maldives, Mauritania, Palau, Samoa, Senegal, Sri Lanka, and Ukraine.
Fiji has submitted a proposal to include all species of Devil rays (Mobula rays) in CITES Appendix II; it has been co-sponsored by Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, the European Union (and its 28 member countries), Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Maldives, Mauritania, Palau, Samoa, Senegal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, and the United States.
In Summary on Species Protection
There are many other proposals that have been submitted, to either increase or decrease the level of protection afforded to species subject to international trade.
WCS will study all of those proposals, and share our science-informed views with all CITES Parties. Our opinions on all proposals are based on scientific and technical input from our field programs and experts across the globe.
Resolution of Importance
Closure of domestic ivory markets:
Governments also submit documents to the CITES CoP which include proposed resolutions, which guide governments in the implementation and enforcement of CITES. We are currently studying all of the documents and draft resolutions. We wish in particular to thank the governments of Kenya, Gabon, and others for submitting a critical document, calling on all CITES member governments to close their domestic ivory markets.
The United States has also submitted a document that also calls on CITES governments to close their domestic ivory markets. International ivory trade is already prohibited, but open domestic markets undermine efforts to stop poaching of elephants and trafficking in their ivory, and stimulate laundering of illegal ivory through the “legal” system.
The US and China are already in the process of closing their domestic markets, as have many US states and many governments—WCS congratulates the governments that have submitted these draft resolutions, and calls upon ALL CITES Party governments to support this critical effort.
The time has come to heed the call issued by Kenya and other Heads of State during its April 30 ivory burn, and end the ivory trade, once and for all.
Species are included in three Appendices of CITES—Appendix I refers to species that are threatened with extinction, and no international trade for commercial purposes is allowed.
There are currently >900 species in Appendix I (such as all great apes, tigers, almost all whales, elephants with some exceptions). Appendix II includes species that may become threatened unless their trade is strictly regulated—that is, international trade is allowed as long as the exporting country determines that it is legal and biologically sustainable for the species. There are >30,000 species in Appendix II, including parrots, crocodilians, orchids, cacti, and pangolins.
Governments have submitted a large number of proposals and draft resolutions for consideration. Only governments can submit proposals, which must be adopted by a 2/3 majority at the meeting.
The Wildlife Conservation Society has attended many of the past CITES CoPs, and has senior staff that have attended all of the last 10 CoPs.
We base our views on CITES proposals and resolutions on science, building on our on-the-ground field work in almost 60 countries.
Wildlife trafficking will also be a major issue discussed at the CoP, along with the elephant poaching crisis and efforts to close ivory markets across the globe. WCS has worked behind-the-scenes with a number of governments, and looks forward to active engagement with governments between now and the CITES CoP in South Africa.