Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic

Presidency instrumental for successful EU participation at CITES CoP 17

The just closed meeting of the Conference of the Parties under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) marks a major shift towards stronger protection for wild animals and plants from overexploitation and illegal trade.

Following two weeks of marathon negotiations, world governments yesterday adopted a raft of ground-breaking decisions on regulating legal, sustainable and traceable trade in wildlife. This includs strengthened actions to combat illicit wildlife trafficking, higher protection to entire groups of species, targeted demand reduction strategies for illegally traded wildlife, and agreement on closer engagement with rural communities.

It was the first meeting where the European Union was participating, and voting, as a Party to the Convention alongside the 28 Member States. EU has always been strong supporter of CITES that was also demonstrated by active presence of all the 28 Member States. EU and its Member States presented common positions to proposals reached under coordination by the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the EU.

EU proposed and co-proposed several important proposals aimed at strengthening the protection of endangered species and biodiversity. Majority of these proposals were successfully adopted. To be noted in particular are measures to improve sustainable trade in a number of species, including sharks and rays, eels, African grey parrot, large range of reptile species, as well as numerous timber species.
First ever resolution on corruption and wildlife crime proposed by EU was also adopted.
Among achievements of EU and it member states are:

  • Stricter monitoring and regulation of hunting trophies to bring them under trade control measures, including recommending conservation benefits and incentives for people to conserve wildlife.
  • The rejection of a Decision-Making Mechanism (DMM) for a future trade in ivory and an agreement to close domestic markets in ivory where they contribute to poaching or illegal trade.
  • Adoption of important proposals to regulate a trade with pangolins and rosewoods.

Multiple new animals and plants were also added to CITES Appendices for the first time and hence will come under CITES trade controls. These decisions affect a large number of mammals, marine and timber species as well as many reptiles and amphibians and include more than 350 species.

Changes to the CITES Appendices, Resolutions and Decisions enter into force 90 days after the CoP.
The CITES CoP17 was the largest ever meeting of its kind with 152 governments taking decisions on 62 species-listing proposals submitted by 64 countries. In total, over 3,500.