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Organisation Reference Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
Wildpro Referenced Responsibilities:- Conventions, Legislation, Codes of Conduct, Manuals LI3 - CITES - Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild fauna and Flora [full text of the Convention provided]

This information has been taken directly from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Website.

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.

Widespread information nowadays about the endangered status of many prominent species, such as the tiger and elephants, might make the need for such a convention seem obvious. But at the time when the ideas for CITES were first formed, in the 1960s, international discussion of the regulation of wildlife trade for conservation purposes was something relatively new. With hindsight, the need for CITES is clear. Annually, international wildlife trade is estimated to be worth billions of dollars and to include hundreds of millions of plant and animal specimens. The trade is diverse, ranging from live animals and plants to a vast array of wildlife products derived from them, including food products, exotic leather goods, wooden musical instruments, timber, tourist curios and medicines. Levels of exploitation of some animal and plant species are high and the trade in them, together with other factors, such as habitat loss, is capable of heavily depleting their populations and even bringing some species close to extinction. Many wildlife species in trade are not endangered, but the existence of an agreement to ensure the sustainability of the trade is important in order to safeguard these resources for the future.

Because the trade in wild animals and plants crosses borders between countries, the effort to regulate it requires international cooperation to safeguard certain species from over-exploitation. CITES was conceived in the spirit of such cooperation. Today, it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 30,000 species of animals and plants, whether they are traded as live specimens, fur coats or dried herbs.

CITES was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of IUCN (The World Conservation Union). The text of the Convention was finally agreed at a meeting of representatives of 80 countries in Washington DC., United States of America, on 3 March 1973, and on 1 July 1975 CITES entered in force.

CITES is an international agreement to which States (countries) adhere voluntarily. States that have agreed to be bound by the Convention ('joined' CITES) are known as Parties. Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties - in other words they have to implement the Convention - it does not take the place of national laws. Rather it provides a framework to be respected by each Party, which has to adopt its own domestic legislation to make sure that CITES is implemented at the national level.

Not one species protected by CITES has become extinct as a result of trade since the Convention entered into force and, for many years, CITES has been among the largest conservation agreements in existence, with now over 150 Parties.

Dates Referenced August 2002
Contact Details

CITES Secretariat
International Environment House
Chemin des Anémones
CH-1219 Châtelaine, Geneva
Tel: (+4122) 917-8139/40
Fax: (+4122) 797-3417

Website Address



CITES Secretariat cites@unep.ch
Webmaster webmaster@unep.ch

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Specific References (Please note - website addresses change frequently and all references are dated accordingly. If hyperlinks are no longer active, please inform us)

Reference Section of Website Specific Website link
W354.1.w1 CITES-listed species database


W354.Aug05.w1 CITES-listed species database accessed 05 August 2005 http://www.cites.org/eng/resources/species.html
W354.Aug11.w1 Appendices I, II and III; valid from 23 June 2005 http://www.cites.org/eng/app/appendices.shtml
W354.Dec06.w1 Guidelines for transport and preparation for shipment of live wild animals and plants http://www.cites.org/eng/resources/transport/E-TranspGuide.pdf
W354.Dec06.w2 Appendices I, II and III; valid from 14 June 2006 http://www.cites.org/eng/app/appendices.pdf / http://www.cites.org/eng/app/appendices.shtml

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