Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Amendments
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international treaty between participating governments to help ensure that the international trade of wild animals and plants, or goods derived from them, does not endanger their survival. Each country that has ratified and implemented the provisions of the Convention are referred to as a ‘Party’ to CITES. In Canada, CITES is administered by Environment Canada. There are currently a total of 183 Parties to CITES.
CITES protects against the exploitation of wild animals and plants in trade through an agreed upon licensing system that each party to the Convention is required to uphold. Under this system, animal and plant species are segregated into three Appendices according to the determined level of protection that is required to ensure the trade in any individual species is sustainable. Species that fall under Appendix I would be the most threatened, while the species listed in Appendix III would be the least threatened of the animals and plants protected by CITES.
For any CITES species threatened with extinction, trade is generally not permitted. For other species that could become endangered, if trade is not monitored and controlled, CITES documentation in the form of import and/or export permits/certificates are required in order to facilitate trade. Exemptions to the provision of CITES required documentation in the trade of CITES species, or goods/specimens derived from them, are stated in Article VII of the CITES treaty.
Additional information and a database listing of CITES protected species is available on the CITES website.
Conference of the Parties (CoP)
The Conference of the Parties (CoP) is held approximately every two years and is where all parties to the Convention meet to review and to vote on proposed amendments to the listings of CITES protected species contained in Appendix I and Appendix II. All agreed upon amendments usually become effective 90 days after the last day of the meeting. The most recent meeting (CoP 18) was held in Geneva, Switzerland, August 17 – 28, 2019 and the amendments that were adopted at CoP 18 became effective on November 26, 2019.
A key amendment made at CoP 18, referred to as Annotation # 15 under Appendix II, exempts the following Rosewood (Dalbergia spp., Guibourtia demeusei, Guibourtia pellegriniana, and Guibourtia tessmannii) products from the aforementioned CITES documentation/controls when
- Leaves, flowers, pollen, fruits, and seeds;
- Finished products to a maximum weight of wood of the listed species of up to 10 kg per shipment;
- Finished musical instruments, finished musical instrument parts and finished musical instrument accessories;
- Parts and derivatives of Dalbergia cochinchinensis, which are covered by Annotation # 4;
- Parts and derivatives of Dalbergia spp. originating and exported from Mexico, which are covered by Annotation #6.
For more information regarding the amendments, resolutions, and decisions from CoP 18, and to be kept updated on any changes related to the Convention, please visit the News section of the CITES website.