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The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between Governments with the aim to ensure that international trade with specimens or parts of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Levels of exploitation of some animal and plant species is high and the trade in them, together with other factors, such as habitat loss, is capable of bringing some species close to extinction. Read more about CITES at the homepage of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

CITES in the EU

In the European Union CITES is implemented through the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations, which go beyond CITES in a number of respects (read more in ‘Differences between the EU WTR and CITES‘). These regulations include Council Regulation (EC) No. 338/97 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein (the Basic Regulation) and Commission Regulation (EC) No 865/2006 laying down detailed rules concerning the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 (the Implementing Regulation). In addition, a specific Regulation is in place to suspend the introduction into the Community of certain species from certain countries (known as the Suspensions Regulation).

The European Commission adopted in June 2007 the Recommendation No 2007/425/EC identifying a set of actions to be carried out by Member States for the enforcement.

Synergies between CITES and CBD

The overall goals of the two most widely accepted and well-known conventions, CITES and CBD are broadly compatible and can be mutually beneficial. The Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines of the CBD (CBD COP Decision VII.12) call for the sustainable use of biological diversity. These guidelines also integrate the “non-detriment standards” of CITES. As this is recognized by the Parties, working documents in this matter have been submitted to the 13th Conference of the Parties to CITES, held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 2 to 14 October 2004.

CBD can be an effective vehicle to support the conservation and sustainable use of the species listed in the Appendices of CITES, and on the other hand, the trade measures of CITES contribute to the sustainable management of trade in fauna and flora, in line with the objectives of CBD.

As such, the provisions of the two conventions provide a vehicle to achieve the 2010 target articulated at different international fora, that is to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2010. Several mechanisms have been established to foster greater cooperation between the two conventions, including a Memorandum of Cooperation and the development of joint work plans. However up to now there has been relatively little interaction among the decision-making and implementation processes, so it is high time to enhance the synergy and promote further harmonization of procedures and mechanisms within CBD and CITES, to meet the objectives of both Conventions.

Relevant organisations and initiatives

Training for trainers – Background documents