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30 participants from CITES authorities and other stakeholders in the CEE region continued to participate in the TAKE A STAND project to evaluate the outcomes of the 16th COP and determine future activities in June in Budapest, whereas the fight with illegal online trading continued in Ukraine and Belorussia.

The priorities for the activities of the Working Group are specified in the annual work programme of CEEweb adopted by the Annual Meeting.

Ensure CEE input in the Conferences of the Parties to CITES

The 16th Conference of the Parties (CoP) took place between 3-14 of March in Bangkok (Thailand). The Conference, as always, attracted a lot of interest from the authorities responsible for implementation of the Convention on the country level, different kinds of institutions and organizations – including many national and international NGOs. During the CoP, CEEweb distributed leaflets with the latest results from the monitoring of e-commerce in specimens of CITES species conducted by the members of the WG since couple of years. Read more>>

The 15thmeeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES took place between 13 – 25 of March in 2010 in Doha, Qatar. CEEweb lobbied mainly for strengthening the ivory trade moratorium established during the last CoP, opposition for American proposal for deletion of the bobcat from the CITES Appendices and to ensure proper regulation with regard of the internet wildlife trade. Read more>>

TAKE A STAND – Enforcement of CITES and EU WTR in CEE countries

The project launched in 2011 aims to contribute to the effective enforcement and implementation of the CITES and EU Wildlife Trade Regulations in CEE countries. These countries share similar problems, as due to their location along the Eastern EU border, many of them bear special responsibility for controlling import of protected animals and plants and their products from Asia. Thus a strategic collaboration with CITES Management Authorities was initiated.

Between 20-24 August 2012, CEEweb organized the II-nd seminar on the implementation of CITES and EU WTR in Central and Eastern Europe. This time, the main goal of the meeting was to ensure effective implementation and enforcement of CITES and EU WTR, regarding specific and recurring African issues. The last CITES CoP’s were dominated by debates on controversial decisions regarding African species, and specially regarding the African elephant. Our working-group members identified the need, for a common level of understanding on specific CITES related African problems among Central and Eastern European decision-makers. This is – according to the WG’s views – imperatively necessary to enable informed, scientifically sound decisions on future conferences of the CITES parties. The seminar was organized by the Polish CITES Scientific Authority in cooperation with CEEweb for Biodiversity CITES Working Group and Polish CITES Management Authority and with the support of the European Commission and International Fund for Animal Welfare, and hosted by the Kenya Wildlife Service (the CITES implementing agency of Kenya). Participants attending the seminar represented CITES authorities from nine Central and Eastern European countries, seven CEEweb CITES WG member organizations, representatives of other NGO’s as well as scientists, enforcement officers and decissionmakers from Kenya.
During the 5 days of the seminar, organized in the Taita Conservancy of the Tsavo region (Kenya), participants tackled a whole range of problems regarding elephant and wildlife conservation in Africa. The key issues discussed included: elephant conservation and management in Kenya, wildlife enforcement in Kenya and Eastern Africa, the global crisis on rhino poaching, the future of ivory trade and the forthcoming CITES Decision Making Mechanism, community based conservation actions, etc. For a full list of the problems and some general statements of the participants, you can visit the summary of the II-nd Seminar
on implementation of CITES and EU WTR in Central and Eastern Europe.
All of the participants expressed their sincerely satisfaction from this seminar. We can state without a doubt, that it was a successful meeting, and hopefully it will have a beneficial effect on the decisions of CEE countries (and the EU in general) on future CITES CoP’s. The next seminar will be organized probably in 2014.

The first seminar was organised for state authorities and NGOs on the invitation of the State Council for Nature Conservation and the Polish Ministry of the Environment between 7-9 December 2011 in Poznan, Poland. On the implementation of CITES in Central and Eastern Europe (read the report of the seminar here).

e-CEETES – Central and Eastern European e-Trade in Endangered Species

The CITES WG has been monitoring the internet trade of CITES listed species in the CEE region for many years.  Since then the WG prepared two reports, one in 2007 and one in 2010  about the results in order to raise awareness of this problem at the following meetings of the Conference of the Parties to CITES. The next round of internet monitoring took place in 2011 with the involvement of eight CEE countries (read the summary of the results here).

Training for trainers

In April 2008 CEEweb CITES Working Group carried out workshop about different topics connected with CITES. The main goal of the workshop was to build the capacities of CITES WG members about CITES and the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations. The workshop consisted of presentations and documental movies on one hand and practical exercises with different types of documents and samples of CITES specimens for recognition on the other. The whole workshop was conducted by Birgith Sloth from the Society for the Conservation of Marine Mammals, an expert with huge experience in this field.

Travelling exhibition on CITES 

The CEEweb CITES Working Group prepared an international travelling exhibition about CITES and the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations. The exhibition consists of ten double printed boards, and is prepared in nine language versions. It was presented in eight countries: Poland, Ukraine, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Serbia. The target group of the exhibition was “regular” citizens – therefore it was presented at busy public places (museums, shopping centres, airports, railway stations, zoos, etc.).

Lobbying at the 14th meeting of the CITES COP

The CEEweb CITES Working Group participated on the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES held between 3-15 June, 2007 in the Hague, the Netherlands with 10 persons and lobbied successfully for some favourable decisions (e.g. keeping the bobcat on Appendix II and adding the European eel to the same Appendix). Our CeeTES assessment drew the attention of many delegates to the implementation gaps in CEE coutnries and the growing problem of internet trade.

CeeTES – Assessment of CITES implementation in Central and Eastern European Countries

The main goal of the assessment was to have a clear picture regarding the deficiencies and urgent needs concerning the implementation of the CITES in Central and Eastern Europe. The project was generously financed by the IFAW, and implemented in seven countries by the members of the Working Group (Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia). During the project the national NGOs monitored the retail and e-commerce of CITES specimens/products and evaluated the institutional capacity of the countries. The findings are summarised in the publication entitled CEETES – Trade in Endangered Species in Central and East European Countries (pdf, 31 MB).

Awareness raising of tourists regarding CITES and EU Wildlife Trade Regulations

In 2006 the CEEweb CITES WG printed a leaflet about CITES and EU Wildlife Trade Regulations in nine languages: Croatian, Czech, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian, Serbian, Slovakian and English. Each WG member distributed the leaflets in their country in the national language and in English. As leaflets were directed to tourists, they were distributed on international airports, embassies and travel agencies.

13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CITES

The Ceeweb CITES Working Group was represented at the 13th meeting of the CITES COP held between 2-14 October, 2004 in Bangkok, Thailand by the chair Márton A. Kelemen (Milvus Group, Romania) and by Andrzej Kepel (Salamandra, Poland). The 13th CoP brought quite a few relevant changes, and despite of some really alarming decisions, generally we can state that most of the changes were favorable for biodiversity conservation (thanks mainly for the enormous efforts undertaken by a lot of NGOs). The participation of the CEEweb Cites WG was possible because of the generous support of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Read more in CEEweb’s report>>

Conference titled “Protection of Wildlife Against Commercial Trade in Central and Eastern Europe”

Between July 9-11, 2004 members of the CEEweb CITES Working Group participated in a conference entitled “Protection of Wildlife Against Commercial Trade in Central and Eastern Europe” in Budapest. The conference also brought promise of greater future cooperation between CEEweb and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to adequately gauge the extent of the illegal trade in CEE countries and form a baseline for future activity Read more in the summary report>>

Normafa Statement was produced by all participating NGOs during the meeting.

The activities of the CITES Working Group are realised with the financial support of the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the European Commission.