CITES – Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

CITES seeks to regulate international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants at sustainable levels to ensure that this trade does not threaten their survival.

CITES is mainly relevant to hunters in relation to the import/export of hunting trophies, but also as one of a number of key international agreements setting the global conservation agenda, establishing conservation principles and providing the tools and means for cooperation. Species covered by the Convention are listed in three Appendixes, subject to different levels of protection:

  • For Appendix I species, the conditions to import a trophy are particularly strict and subject to quotas.
  • Appendix II lists species that are not presently threatened with extinction but that may become so unless trade is closely controlled. It also includes so-called “look-alike species”, i.e. species of which the specimens in trade look like those of species listed for conservation reasons.
  • Appendix III is a list of species included at the request of a Party that already regulates trade in the species and that needs the cooperation of other countries to prevent unsustainable or illegal exploitation.

CITES currently has 183 Parties, including the 28 EU Member States which during CoPs, held every 3 years, are expected to speak with one voice and to vote as a block. FACE works on CITES in partnership with Safari Club International and the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation.

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CITES amendments enter into force

In August 2019, the 18th CITES Conference of Parties (CoP) concluded with many new decisions on wildlife trade (see FACE article). CITES is relevant for hunters for the moving of trophies and the trade in certain animal species. The decisions taken at the CoP entered into force on 26 November 2019 (link). Especially the new appendices and certain decisions can be relevant for hunters worldwide. E.g. the CoP listed the Giraffe and Reeve’s Pheasant in Appendix 2.

In the EU, CITES is implemented through the EU CITES Regulation. The EU takes stricter measures for certain species. Some countries (FR, NL, UK) have taken stricter national measures as well. To reflect the changes decided upon at the CITES CoP18, the EU has amended its CITES regulation through Commission Regulation (EU) No 2019/2117. These amendments took effect on 14 December 2019. The full EU CITES regulation can be accessed here.

FACE can assist with information requests on CITES for hunters. Please contact the secretariat for such questions.

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