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CITES Meeting – AWF HQ

CITES was concluded in 1973 in Washington DC and entered into force in 1975. CITES comprises 183 parties, of which the European Union constitutes 15% with 28 parties (which will be 27 parties after Brexit). CITES’ objective is to ensure international cooperation of parties to prevent international trade in wild animals and plants from threatening their survival. Currently, 30,000 plants and 5,800 animals are listed in the three appendices. CITES’ legal framework has two (2) levels. The first level being the Convention, which is the basic framework and rules to implement CITES. It is binding on parties and includes the appendices. The second level is the Resolutions and decisions and allows for the evolution of CITES rules. CITES is composed of the Conference of Parties (COP) (supreme governing body). Under the COP are 3 committees, that is, the Standing committees (executive body), the Animal committee and the Plant committee, which are jointly known as technical committees. These are advisory bodies. The third arm of CITES is the secretariat, UNEP. Participants at CITES includes Parties delegations, Observers (who consists of non-parties, Inter-governmental organizations, representatives of other treaties and approved NGOs) and the secretariat. Voting is on the basis of one party, one vote (being parties with credentials). Voting is usually by a show of hands. However, a party can request a secret ballot if seconded by 10 parties. However, the former mode is normally used.

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