Alien Organisms and trade in Endangered Species (CITES)
Report no: 2016: 38
The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety (VKM) has reviewed the scientific evidence underlying species proposals submitted in advance of the CITES Conference of the Parties 17 (CoP17). VKM has done this on behalf of the Norwegian Environment Agency.
The submitted species proposals are concerned with the amendment of species to CITES Appendices I and II. The proposed amendments will be considered at the CoP17 meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, September 24 to October 5, 2016. For the species considered in the proposals, VKM has assessed whether or not legal and illegal trade could be detrimental to their survival.
High levels of exploitation and uncontrolled trade in endangered species of wild animals and plants is a growing problem, and may, combined with other factors such as habitat loss, contribute to heavily deplete populations and even bring species close to extinction. Trade is diverse, ranging from live animals and plants, to a variety of derived products such as food products, leather, wood, medicines or souvenirs.
International trade in endangered species is regulated through the CITES Convention (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). The convention regulates trade across borders and aims to prevent species from over-exploitation.
More than 35,000 animal and plant species worldwide are regulated under CITES. Species are divided into three Appendices with varying degrees of trade restrictions. Appendix I includes species that are so endangered that all commercial trade is prohibited. Appendix II includes species in which international trade must be regulated, i.e. through trade quotas, to ensure their survival. Appendix III contains species that are listed after one or more member countries has asked for CITES assistance in controlling trade in a species.
CITES has Part meetings every third year. Ahead of the meetings, member states can propose to include new species in the CITES Appendices, or to move species from one Appendix to another. Such proposals must be submitted together with a status report, including information about species distribution, population size and threats, of the species concerned in advance of the meeting. Proposals are then discussed and voted over at the meeting.
The Norwegian Environment Agency requested VKM to review a list of proposals for amendments to Appendix I and II that have been submitted ahead of the seventeenth meeting of the CoP. The list of proposals included six different groups: mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, terrestrial invertebrates and plants. VKMs assignment has been to review the validity of the information given in each proposal and search for additional information on legal and illegal trade.