UN agency marks 35 years since key accord on wildlife trade regulation

Wildlife trade regulation needed more than ever

1 July 2010 – Proper regulation of wildlife trade is needed to ensure the continued survival of animals and plants in the wild, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) urged today as it marked the 35th anniversary of a key international agreement.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) aims to ensure that the international trade in products made from wild animals and plants – in fields such as medicine and fashion – does not threaten their survival.

“While not a single one of some 34,000 CITES-listed species has become extinct as a result of international trade until now, growing pressures on biological resources make regulating global wildlife trade even more relevant today,” said CITES Secretary-General John Scanlon.

The CITES-list includes diverse species ranging from orchids, to the great white shark and mahogany timber.

On the occasion of today’s anniversary, the CITES Secretariat launched web-based Trade Data Dashboards, to make available trade data from annual reports of the countries that are party to the agreement.

Users can search for the trade of a certain species group or general trade per country, as well as special categories, such as “top 10 trading partners” and “trade volume over time.”

The CITES Secretariat is administered by UNEP, which is also marking this year as the International Year of Biodiversity.

The UN agency released a report last month showing that the preservation of biodiversity through the restoration of ecosystems can generate wealth, create jobs and become a vital means of alleviating poverty.

Calling CITES part of a “transition to a resource efficient 21st century green economy,” UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UNEP, Achim Steiner, described the treaty as visionary.

“It was able to put practical trade rules in place for the use of terrestrial and marine species, before the global boom created by the liberalization of trade and the acceleration of transactions via [the] Internet,” he said.


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