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The 19th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP19) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is being held at Panama City. CoP19 is also known as the World Wildlife Conference.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Highlights of the Conference
  2. CITES agreement

Highlights of the Conference

  • 52 proposals have been put forward that would affect the regulations on international trade for: sharks, reptiles, hippos, songbirds, rhinos, 200 tree species, orchids, elephants, turtles and more.
  • India’s Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo) is included in Appendix II of the convention, thereby requiring it to follow CITES regulations for the trade of the species.
  • The Conference has accepted a proposal to include sea cucumbers (Thelenota) in Appendix II of the Convention.
  • Tamil Nadu had recorded the highest number of marine wildlife seizures during this period, according to the analysis. The state was followed by Maharashtra, Lakshadweep and Karnataka.
  • India’s proposal for induction of fresh water turtle Batagur kachuga (Red Crowned Roofed Turtle) earned wide support of the parties in CoP 19 of CITES. It was widely appreciated by the parties and well accepted when introduced.
  • Operation Turtshield, India’s efforts to curb wildlife crime was appreciated.
  • India also highlighted that many of the species of turtles and freshwater tortoises which are recognized as critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable or near threatened are already included in Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and given high degree of protection.
  • India has decided not to vote against a proposal to re-open the international trade in ivory at the ongoing conference.

CITES agreement

  • CITES is an international agreement between governments — 184 at present — to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species.
  • The convention entered into force in 1975 and India became the 25th party — a state that voluntarily agrees to be bound by the Convention — in 1976.
  • All import, export and re-export of species covered under CITES must be authorised through a permit system.
  • CITES Appendix I lists species threatened with extinction — import or export permits for these are issued rarely and only if the purpose is not primarily commercial.
  • CITES Appendix II includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction but in which trade must be strictly regulated.
  • Every two years, the Conference of the Parties (CoP), the supreme decision-making body of CITES, applies a set of biological and trade criteria to evaluate proposals from parties to decide if a species should be in Appendix I or II.

-Source: Down to Earth

December 2023