Proposals to change protection levels of species under international trade at CoP18 available online
57 proposals to amend the lists of species subject to CITES regulations were submitted by 90 countries for consideration at the next World Wildlife Conference – the 18ᵗʰ meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES #CoP18), to be held from 23 May to 3 June 2019 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. In addition, a record 140 documents proposing new measures and policies on international trade in wild fauna and flora were submitted for consideration by the Conference.
The proposals to amend the lists of species (i.e. the CITES Appendices) and other documents will be decided upon at the triennial meeting of the 183 Parties to CITES (i.e. 182 countries and the European Union). The proposals are now available on the CITES website in the languages and formats in which they were received. Parties have until mid-March 2019 to provide their comments on these proposals. The CITES Secretariat will also invite comments from relevant intergovernmental bodies.
The 57 listing proposals cover a wide range of species, from mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects to a variety of plant species including high value rosewood species. Countries are continuing to use their Convention for ensuring that timber and marine resources are not overexploited by proposing new timber and fishery species for inclusion in the CITES Appendices. For the first time, a proposal has been submitted to include the giraffe under CITES. There is also a proposal to list the mammoth, an extinct species, in CITES Appendix II.
The three proposals on African elephants show the divergence of opinions among range States of this species on how to deal with international trade in elephant products: two aim at easing controls on international trade in African elephant products, and one at prohibiting all commercial trade. While Namibia is proposing to downlist its population of white rhinos to Appendix II, to allow only international commercial trade in live animals and hunting trophies, the proposal from Eswatini seeks to allow unrestricted international commercial trade in all specimens of its white rhino population, which is currently included in Appendix II.
Other documents (known as “working documents”) as well as the Secretariat’s assessment of the proposals to amend Appendices I and II, will be published on the CITES website at a later stage.