On Tuesday 6 June, the Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Mr John Scanlon gave a Diplomatic Briefing on the role of CITES, as well as the wildlife trade, sustainable tourism and his recent visit to the Pacific, at the UNIC Canberra office.
Mr Scanlon opened the briefing with an overview of CITES – the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
He explained that CITES was adopted in 1973 with the intent to protect international trade of species to prevent wildlife and plants from becoming endangered.
There are currently 183 parties, with the United States the first to join in 1975 and Tonga the last country to join in 2016. He also explained how CITES have compliance measures in place which help control legal trade. There have been over one million legal trade transactions reported to CITES.
He expressed his concerns of illegal wildlife trade and the impact it has on the world, particularly in developing countries. He also mentioned that there has been a surge in illegal trade particularly in Rosewood, and Pangolins and that illegal trade is affecting 50% of world heritage sites. Thirteen sites are on the endangered list due to poaching.