WHAT IS CITES?
This issue of The Conservation Corner discusses OITESD D the Oonvention
on International Trade in Endangered Species. D It is adapted from documentation written by Rick Jordan, Chair of AFA's CITES Committee, and has appeared on the AFA Training List several times. The official website for CITES information is at www.cites.org. CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, is an international agreement between governments that went into force in July 1975. It is not the same thing as the US Wild Bird Conservation Act (WBCA) or the Endangered Species Act (ESA), USonly Acts that will be topics of future Conservation Corners. The stated purpose of CITES is to ensure that international trade in certain species of plants and animals does not threaten their existence. Today more than 30,000 species are afforded certain protections under the treaty, ranging from live specimens of pandas to fur coats to alligator wallets. The signatories of the treaty agree to honor the regulationsqt>ut forth under the Convention.
Today over 150 countries (Parties) worldwide have signed onto and agreed voluntarily to honor the Treaty. There are now 169 Parties. Each signatory country then has assigned its own governmental agency to monitor the Convention and enact domestically any protections that are agreed to at the Conference of the Parties (COP), held every two years. In the United States, the President has assigned the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) as our representative to CITES. This makes the USFWS responsible for upholding the rules of the treaty and to make sure the United States abides by any Besolution ~Agreed rule) of the Convention.
In addition to governmental Parties, others, called Observersoor l'Slon-governmental ObserversD(NGOs) may attend the Conferences or the subcommittee level meetings to provide input to the governing Parties. The purpose of the NGOs is to offer scientific data about the species or genera with which they have expertise. The American Federation of Aviculture, Inc., (AFA) is an official Non-governmental Observer to the Convention. The AFA CITES Committee chairman provides input and makes comment to the USFWS with regard to avian species and the international trade of birds worldwide.
Keep in mind that CITES is an international agreement, and that the resolutions put forth at the Conferences go to the many participating countries to be incorporated voluntarily into their domestic laws. Although CITES cannot and will not get involved with domestic law or trade, its many resolutions must be used by all participating countries when they issue permits or participate in any international movement or trade of listed species.
CITES listings, the actual plants and animals that are covered by the Convention, are divided into three ~ppendices. IThese appendices are conveniently numbered as Appendix I, Appendix II, and Appendix Ill. Those species listed on Appendix I to the Convention are the most critically endangered, while those listed on Appendix II are there so that close monitoring of any trade will be accomplished to (hopefully) prevent them from becoming endangered. Appendix Ill is a list where each individual country can place a species if it has concerns about trade within or from its own country. All parrots that are not on Appendix I, with exception of the cockatiel, budgie and ring-necked parakeet, are listed on Appendix II. Ring-necked parakeets are listed on Appendix Ill by Ghana, and therefore any movement or trade in this species will require a certificate of origin to assure the members of CITES that the birds did not originate in Ghana (who has requested the special protection of its ring-necks by placing them on Appendix Ill). More information on the CITES Appendices and the animals listed in each appendix is available...