Gland, Switzerland (IUCN) 06.06.02. Today marks the start of an intensive three months for IUCN's Wildlife Trade Programme and TRAFFIC as a major project begins providing technical reviews of proposals submitted to change the listing of plant and animal species on the CITES Appendices.
A species may be listed on one of three Appendices which offer varying degrees of trade regulation. These proposals are to be considered by the CITES member countries when they meet for the 12th Conference of the Parties (COP) in Santiago, Chile in November. Today (6 June) is the deadline for them to be submitted to the CITES Secretariat.
IUCN and TRAFFIC prepare the Analyses of Proposals to Amend the CITES Appendices in the run-up to every COP (which take place every two and a half years). IUCN's Species Survival Commission (SSC) collects information on the status and biology of species from its Specialist Group network and the broader scientific community, while TRAFFIC collects data on the trade and use of species, using its own sources as well as the CITES trade database. More than 60 proposals are expected this year covering a broad range of species from Asian freshwater turtles to the monkey puzzle tree.
As well as core staff, the project will involve a team of consultants and a large number of specialists from the IUCN/SSC and TRAFFIC networks. The entire Analyses will be posted on the IUCN website in English by 9 September (French, and Spanish versions will be posted soon after) so that the Parties have time to consult them before the Conference. From that date, the Analyses can also be accessed from the TRAFFIC COP 12 Conference Room. The document, also available on CD, will be circulated at the COP as an information resource.
The Analyses aim to ensure that the decisions made at the COP are based on the best available scientific information. They provide as objective and factual an assessment as possible of the amendment proposal against the requirements of the Convention as laid out in the CITES listing criteria and other resolutions.
Compiling the Analyses is a Herculean task but one that is essential in helping CITES remain a credible and effective instrument for conserving species affected by trade. A survey carried out at the 11th COP found them to be highly valued by the CITES Parties.
On 13 September TRAFFIC Recommendations on Proposals to Amend the Appendices will be published in English in the COP 12 Conference Room. French and Spanish versions will be posted soon after.
IUCN and TRAFFIC are also working on a special CITES issue of World Conservation, the IUCN magazine that will be circulated to all Parties at the COP. The IUCN/SSC Wildlife Trade Programme has also produced the seventh edition of CITES: A Conservation Tool, a guide to amending the Appendices to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. This publication guides the CITES Parties through the Convention's articles and resolutions. It covers the process for the submission, presentation, and adoption of proposals to amend the Appendices for the 12th CITES COP. As well as in booklet form, the seventh edition has been produced on CD for the first time. Both CDs and booklets have been distributed to CITES Parties in time for their preparations for the COP.