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CITES Standing Committee conclusions: A focus on the front lines

With record numbers in attendance, the conservation and management priorities for wild plants and animals took centre stage at the 65th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), from 7 to 11 July, in Geneva.

“The Committee has focused on those specific areas where further action is needed now to combat the illegal wildlife trade and to enhance effective conservation. Action-oriented and time bound national plans to combat illegal ivory trade have proven to be effective and successful. For this reason the Committee has widened the net to apply this tool to a broader range of countries and species,” said John E. Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES.

What came to the fore during this meeting included specific concerns over: illegal trade in precious rosewoods and ebonies from Madagascar to Asia through East Africa; illegal ivory trade within Thailand; rhino horn trafficking through Mozambique; illegal cheetah trade from eastern Africa to the Gulf region; increasing levels of illegal trade in tigers and their parts and derivatives in South and South East Asia, and large scale illegal trade in the little known nocturnal scaly mammal Pangolin, throughout Africa and Asia.

Progress was made on management and identification of sharks in international trade; regulating the global trade in snake skins; and setting up innovative technologies to track and label wildlife in trade. The trade ban on Nile crocodiles from Madagascar was lifted after it was reported that better management standards had been met.

“There is now real progress and traction. This is also the first time there were so many practical, pragmatic and targeted decisions taken, from improving e-permitting and stockpile registration; to helping countries to implement shark listings. We are also seeing greater donor interest, such as through the announcement of MIKES at this meeting, and increasing opportunities to address livelihood issues,” said Oystein Størkersen, CITES Standing Committee Chair.

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