21 Sep 2018

Venue: International Environment House II (7-9 ch. de Balexert)

Organization: Geneva Environment Network

A briefing on issues that will be addressed by the 183 Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) at the 70th meeting of the CITES Standing Committee (SC70), organized within the framework of the Geneva Environment Network, took place at the International Environment House II, on Friday 21 September 2018.

SC70 will be held in Rosa Khutor, Sochi, Russian Federation, from 1 to 5 October 2018 and will consider a wide array of issues concerning the international trade in, and conservation and sustainable use of, CITES-listed wild animals and plants.

This briefing brought the Geneva-based stakeholders up-to-date with the key issues to be discussed as CITES Parties prepare for the 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (Colombo, Sri Lanka, May-June 2019).


Welcome and Introduction
David MORGAN, Officer-in-Charge, CITES Secretariat

Legal and compliance issues
Juan Carlos VASQUEZ, Chief, Legal Affairs & Compliance, CITES Secretariat

National legislation for the implementation of CITES
Sofie FLENSBORG, Legal Officer, CITES Secretariat

Synthetic DNA, demand reduction and the electronic management of CITES permits
Yuan LIU, Programme and Communications Officer, CITES Secretariat

Enforcement matters: combating illegal trade in wildlife
Ben Janse VAN RENSBURG, Chief, Enforcement Support, CITES Secretariat

Species issues: elephants, rosewood, marine species and more.
Tom DE MEULENAER, Chief, Scientific Services, CITES Secretariat

Preparations for the 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties
Samantha Sayasuriya, Sri Lanka Permanent Mission


  • CITES entered into force in 1975. Today, over one million cross-border transactions are regulated under CITES each year, worth several hundred billion USD.
  • CITES Parties meet every 3 years at the Conference of the Parties meetings to review progress in implementation and agree policy and a workplan for their Secretariat. Between these meetings, the senior inter-sessional body is he Science Committee, which meets annually.
  • For this SC70 session 103 documents, some 3000 pages, have been produced, ¼ million words translated.
  • Various SC70 agenda items focus on the legal and compliance issues.
  • 97% of species listed under CITES can be traded, as long as trade is sustainable and legal (Appendix II).
  • Illegal trade in wildlife has attracted significant national and international attention in recent years.
  • Of the 75-odd agenda items for SC70 in Sochi, some 30 are grouped under the title “Species specific matters”.
  • The logo of the upcoming CoP was presented for the first time.



The event was live on Facebook.