The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) – COP19  

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement between governments with the aim to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species.  

Unsustainable and illegal international wildlife trade continues to pose a threat to both flora and fauna globally. ZSL has been engaging with the Convention for over twenty years with a view to ensure that a science and evidence-led approach underpins its implementation.  We are working in a range of geographies on interventions that focus on a number of species impacted by trade and with the communities that rely on them. We believe one of ZSL’s strengths is the holistic approach it takes to conservation, and that understanding the impact of wildlife trade in the context of broader threats, as well as on local communities, is essential.  

At COP19 ZSL will work to champion the need for CITES to take a science-based approach to legal, traceable, and sustainable trade that underpins the convention and its implementation. We will offer our expertise to support parties in ensuring that trade in key species is in line with the Convention with specific ZSL participation on cheetahs, eels, pangolins, elephants and other selected species, alongside our aquatic expertise informing cross-cutting items such as Non-Detriment Findings, Introduction from the Sea and Legal Acquisition Findings. 

The issues relating to wildlife trade for CITES to consider are growing rapidly, and arguably at a greater rate than the resources made available to address them. As such, at this COP it is paramount that progress is made on both passing effective and science led policy and its effective implementation on the ground.  

In addition to proposals to amend the Appendices, selected key agenda items ZSL has positions and recommendations at COP19 include: 

  • Agenda item 17.4 - Joint CITES-CMS African Carnivores Initiative 

  • Agenda Item 23. Role of CITES in reducing risk of future zoonotic disease emergence associated with international wildlife trade 

  • Agenda Item  44.2 Identification of timber and other wood products 

  • Agenda Item  59. Illegal trade in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus)  

  • Agenda Item  61. Eels (Anguilla spp.

  • Agenda Item  66. Elephants (Elephantidae spp.)   

  • Agenda Item  71. Pangolins (Manis spp.

  • Agenda Item 83. Identifying species at risk of extinction for CITES Parties.  

If you would like to read more about these specific agenda items and ZSL’s recommendations for action, please download our full position paper.  

Read ZSL's CITES COP19 position statement

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