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  • 02 December, 2022

  • 6 Min Read



  • The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is holding its 19th Conference of the Parties (CoP19) meeting in Panama City.
  • A second name for CoP19 is the World Wildlife Conference.

What were the Conference's High Points?

  • 52 suggestions that would change the laws governing the trade of sharks, reptiles, hippos, songbirds, rhinos, 200 different tree species, orchids, elephants, turtles, and more have been made.
  • India's Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo) is subject to CITES rules for the trade of the species because it is included in Appendix II of the convention.
  • By relaxing the CITES regulations for exporting items made from Dalbergia sissoo, a relief was offered. This is anticipated to increase exports of Indian handicrafts.
  • A suggestion to add sea cucumbers (Thelenota) to the Convention's Appendix II has been approved by the Conference.
  • According to a study released last September by the Wildlife Conservation Society-India (WCS-India), sea cucumbers were the most commonly trafficked marine species in India from 2015 to 2021.
  • According to the data, Tamil Nadu had the largest number of marine wildlife seizures during this time. Maharashtra, Lakshadweep, and Karnataka came after the state.
  • The parties in CoP 19 of CITES gave their strong support to India's request for the introduction of the freshwater turtle Batagur kachuga (Red Crowned Roofed Turtle). When it was presented, it was well received by all of the parties.
  • India's efforts to reduce wildlife crime were praised during Operation Turtshield.
  • India further emphasised that the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 already includes many of the turtle and freshwater tortoise species that are considered to be critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, or near threatened and provides them with a high level of protection.
  • India’s unusual abstention in the CITES vote on reopening the ivory trade.

About CITES:

  • To ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants does not endanger the survival of the species, 184 states have signed the CITES agreement.
  • India became the 25th party—a state that voluntarily chooses to be bound by the Convention—in 1976, two years after the convention came into force.
  • Parties are nations that have 'joined' CITES and committed to abide by its rules.
  • CITES does not supersede national laws, although being legally obligated on the Parties and requiring them to implement the Convention.
  • All CITES-listed species import, export, and re-export must be authorised through a permit system.
  • The Conference of the Parties meets every two to three years to assess how the Convention is being put into practise.

Three appendices are included:

Appendix I

  • It covers the most endangered plant and animal species on the CITES Red List.
  • Gorillas, sea turtles, the majority of lady slipper orchids, and gigantic pandas are a few examples. Currently, there are 1082 species listed.
  • Since they face extinction, CITES forbids the international commerce in their specimens, with the exception of imports made for non-commercial purposes, such as scientific research.

Appendix II

  • It contains a list of species that, while not necessarily now endangered, could become so if trade is not strictly regulated.
  • The majority of CITES species, including American ginseng, paddlefish, lions, American alligators, mahogany, and several corals, are listed in this appendix.
  • Additionally, it covers "look-alike species," or species whose trade specimens resemble those of species listed for conservation.

Appendix III

  • It is a list of species included at the request of a Party that already regulates trade in the species and that needs the cooperation of other countries to prevent unsustainable or illegal exploitation.
  • Examples include map turtles, walruses and Cape stag beetles. Currently, 211 species are listed.
  • International trade in specimens of species listed in this Appendix is allowed only on presentation of the appropriate permits or certificates.
  • Species may be added to or removed from Appendix I and II, or moved between them, only by the Conference of the Parties.

Source: Down To Earth

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