CITES conference opened in Bangkok

4 March 2013

The Sixteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) opened yesterday in Bangkok (Thailand) for 10 days (3 – 14 march) of discussion.

CITES is an international agreement to ensure that the international commercial trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. The Conference of the Parties is held every 3 years to discuss and consider proposals to include commercially valuable species in the Appendices of the Convention. The Appendices provide three regulatory options:
- Animals and plants listed in Appendix I are prohibited from international commercial trade,
- Commercial international trade is permitted for species listed in Appendix II, but it is strictly controlled on the basis of CITES permits
- Appendix III includes species that are protected within the borders of a member country.

70 proposals submitted by 55 countries from across the world will be discussed this year. Timber and aquatic species, including sharks and rays, top the agenda. The 178 member countries will decide whether to protect some of the most vulnerable shark and ray species - hammerhead, oceanic whitetip, and porbeagle sharks and manta rays. Although they play an extremely important role in maintaining the balance and stability of our ocean’s ecosystems, about 100 millions of sharks and rays are removed from the ocean each year. The Proposals for inclusion of these species are supported by the CITES Secretariat, but also by the majority of the environmental NGOs.