Scientific basis for regulation of international trade in endangered wild species of animals and plants


Report no: 2019:11

Published: 15.08.2019

Key message:

The Norwegian Scientific Committee for food and environment (VKM) has assessed the scientific basis for the proposed amendments to the regulation of a range of species of wild animals and plants.

The Norwegian Environment Agency commissioned the assessment as part of the preparations for the 18th Conference of the Parties (CoP) of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CoP18 will be held in Geneva from the 17th to the 28th of August, 2019. The assessment by VKM forms part of the scientific basis for Norway’s stance on these matters.

CITES Appendices

Prior to the CoP, Parties to the Convention submit proposals to amend regulation of species under CITES. Species protected under CITES are divided in to three different appendices, each subject to specific trade restrictions.

Appendix I contain species that are threatened with extinction, and where all commercial trade is prohibited. Appendix II contain species where international trade must be carefully regulated and monitored in order to prevent them from becoming critically endangered. Appendix III contains species that are protected in at least one country, which has asked other CITES Parties for assistance in controlling the trade. In a CoP-proposal there may for example be suggestions to move a species from Appendix I to II, or to include a species previously not included in CITES.

Taxonomical groups

VKM has assessed species proposals concerning eight different taxonomical groups. The majority of the species are reptiles and mammals, but there are also several proposals concerning plants, birds, amphibians, sharks and rays, terrestrial invertebrates and echinoderms.


VKM has reviewed available information on species biology, population size and structure, as well as population trends, distributional status, conservation and management situation and levels of legal and illegal trade. VKM has then, based on the reviewed information, assessed whether or not trade is going to be detrimental to the survival of the species in the wild.


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