The 19th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES CoP19), or World Wildlife Conference, took place in Panama, from 14 to 25 November 2022.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, known as CITES or the Washington Convention, was signed in Washington, D.C., the United States of America, on 3 March 1973 and entered into force on 1 July 1975. Its secretariat is based in Geneva, at the International Environment House.
CITES regulates international trade in specimens of species of wild fauna and flora based on a system of permits and certificates issued under certain conditions. It covers export, re-export, import and landing from the high seas of live and dead animals and plants and their parts and derivatives.
Appendices I, II and III to the Convention are lists of species afforded different levels or types of protection from over-exploitation.
- Appendix I includes species threatened with extinction. Trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.
- Appendix II includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival.
- Appendix III contains species that are protected in at least one country, which has asked other CITES Parties for assistance in controlling the trade. Changes to Appendix III follow a distinct procedure from changes to Appendices I and II, as each Party’s is entitled to make unilateral amendments to it.
The Conference of the Parties (CoP), which is the supreme decision-making body of the Convention and comprises all its Parties, has agreed in Resolution Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP17) on a set of biological and trade criteria to help determine whether a species should be included in Appendices I or II. At each regular meeting of the CoP, Parties submit proposals based on those criteria to amend these two Appendices. Those amendment proposals are discussed and then submitted to a vote.
From Geneva to Panama City
The Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora convened in Geneva in August 2019 for the CITES triennial World Wildlife Conference (18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties). → Read final press release
Three years later, the World Wildlife Conference or 19th meeting of the Conference of the Parties is convening in Panama City.
Follow the Negotiation
All the decisions of CoP19 were streamed live from Panama, via the CITES.ORG website. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin provided daily summaries and highlights.
On the Agenda
A total of 52 proposals and more than 100 working documents were considered on by the 184 Parties to CITES. Amongst many other matters, the World Wildlife Conference discussed the following issues:
- Strategic matters including the CITES Strategic Vision, the World Wildlife Trade Report, Engagements with indigenous people and local communities, CITES and Forests, zoonotic disease emergence associated with international wildlife trade, and CITES and gender.
- Interpretation and implementation matters, including national laws for the implementation of the Convention, compliance and enforcement matters, demand reduction to combat illegal wildlife trade, CITES permit issues and legal acquisition findings.
- Species specific matters that include a wide range of species from amphibians to big cats and elephants, marine and plant species.
- Matters relating to the maintenance of the Appendices that includes proposals by Parties to amend the criteria for listing species in the Appendices and proposals to clarify the use of reservations; and
- Proposals to amend the Appendices. Changes to trade regulations for nearly six hundred species of animals and plants are being proposed by Parties to the Convention. Most proposals are to bring new species under the purview of the Convention which may reflect the pressure being felt by nature as a result of human use of natural resources. Key species being proposed for inclusion in CITES are marine species (including sharks, sea cucumbers and ornamental fishes) and tropical timbers (including rosewoods, Brazil woods and mahoganies). On the other hand, some species are proposed for decreased protection under CITES as their populations in the wild have recovered (including the Puerto Rican boa and Aleutian cackling goose)
Proposals and Decisions Adopted
The CoP adopted a total of 46 Proposals of the 52 put forward. The CoP also reached a record number of 365 decisions as they worked to safeguard threatened wildlife species, while at the same time allowing the international trade that underpins human well-being and contributes to conservation efforts.
Decisions taken by parties at the CoP will come into force 90 days after the end of the meeting – on 23 February 2023. The objective of the Convention is that all international trade in CITES listed species is sustainable, legal and consistent with the long-term conservation of species and that CITES plays its part in halting biodiversity loss, ensuring its sustainable use, and achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Geneva Preparatory Briefing
A briefing focusing on the preparations for CITES CoP19, or World Wildlife Conference, took place at the International Environment House and online, on Tuesday 18 October 2022.
Geneva Press Conference
- Record number of species to be regulated by CITES after CoP19 | CITES | 26 November 2022
- Towards a World Free of Wildlife Crime – ICCWC launches Vision 2030 | CITES | 20 November 2022
- Ground-breaking report draws first overall picture of global wildlife trade | CITES | 15 November 2022
- World Wildlife Conference opens in Panama | CITES | 13 November 2022
- International Consortium hosts high profile events on Combating Wildlife Crime at CITES CoP19 | CITES | 11 November 2022
- Final Recommendations on the 52 Proposals to CITES CoP19 | CITES | 14 October 2022
- Oceania and Central South America & the Caribbean gear up for CoP19 | CITES | 14 October 2022
- CITES Secretariat publishes provisional assessment of 52 proposals to CoP19 | CITES | 9 September 2022
- World Wildlife Conference to rule on stricter trade regulations for 600 CITES species | CITES | 24 June 2022
Resources and Publications
- World Wildlife Trade Report | CITES | 2022
- ICCWC Wildlife and Forest Crime Analytic Toolkit, Second Edition | ICCWC | 2022
- Wild ambitions: countries meet in Panama to discuss future of planet’s species | Kasmira Jefford | Geneva Solutions | 14 November 2022
- Governments meet in Panama to decide the fate of wildlife threatened by poaching, illegal logging, and unsustainable trade | WWF | 10 November 2022
- Two Sides of the Same Coin: Tackling transnational wildlife trafficking between West and Central Africa and South-East Asia | EiA |