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The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora: an international agreement that regulates wildlife trade 

Internationally, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) regulates the wildlife trade. The agreement, which aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species, lists all species in three Appendices, depending on how threatened of extinction species is.  

Appendix I includes species which are threatened with extinction, that are affected or may be affected by the international trade. Trade in specimens of Appendix I is only permitted in exceptional circumstances. Appendix II includes a list of species whose trade must be controlled in order to protect their survival. Appendix III contains species that are protected in at least one country and for which the co-operation of other CITES Parties is needed in controlling trade. 

In the EU, the CITES is transposed through the EU Wildlife Regulations: 1. The Council Regulation (EC) 338/97 and 2. Commission regulation (EC) 865/2006. Its objective is only to ensure that the trade of wild species does not threaten the survival of wild animals.  

Although CITES prohibits the trade in wild species listed in Annex I of the Convention, there is also an interpretation in the Convention that a captive-bred specimen of an Appendix I species can be traded as Appendix II, therefore can be traded with permits. The commercial trade in captive-bred endangered species such as tigers can serve as a cover for illegal activities, provides ample laundering opportunities and undermines international conservation efforts.  

The next CITES Conference of Parties (CoP19), where Parties and stakeholders meet every two/three years to review progress in the conservation of species and discuss recommendations/decisions, will take place in Panama City, from 14 to 25 November. The European Parliament is currently working on a resolution on the CITES Cop19. The EU has a clear role to play to better protect big cats and to address the relationship that exists between pandemics, zoonoses and the trade in wild animals. 

Below you can find the FOUR PAWS position paper on CITES and our recommendations.


CITES Position Paper

CITES Position Paper

Read our recommendations here

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