CITES stands for “Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species” of wild flora and fauna. It was established to ensure the protection of plants and animal species in international trade so that their trade does not threaten the survival of the species of plant and animal. It was adopted in 1963 and came into work in 1975.

India joined in 1976.

CITES of 1973
CITES of 1973

Facts on CITES:-

  1. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) was the platform, where it was first conceptualised in 1863.
  2. It is administered by the United Nations under its “United Nations Environment Programme” (UNEP).
  3. Headquarters is located in Geneva Switzerland.
  4. Convention of Parties (COP) to CITES is the apex decision-making body, comprising all the member Nations/Parties.

CITES Classification:-

Roughly 5500 species of animals and around 30,000 species of plants are recognised under CITES for protection under three categories.
The three categories are based on the level of danger a species possesses for trade and are divided into three “CITES appendices”

CITES Appendix 1

  • Species in “Danger of Extinction”
  • No Commercial trade allowed.
  • Trade is allowed for research purposes only, with the origin country guaranteeing that the trade will NOT harm the species’ existence.
  • Trade requires a Permit.
  • A total of 931 species are on the list.

Example:- Asiatic Lions and Tigers, Sea Turtles, Gorillas, etc

CITES Appendix 2

  • Species “Not in Immediate Danger” but can be threatened if not protected.
  • Trade permit is needed and allowed only if the origin country ensures survival threat protection of the species.
  • Total 34,419 species on list.

Example:- American Alligator, Paddlefish, Mahogany, etc

CITES Appendix 3

  • Species “Protected at least by One Country”
  • Origin species that are listed the species can issue export permits and export from other countries of the species requires the “Country of Origin” mentioned.
  • Total of 147 species on the list.

Example:- Honeybadger, Walroses, Map Turtles, etc

The list of species from any appendix can be altered by the Conference of Parties (COP) only, except for appendix 3.
Appendix 3 can be modified anytime and by any party unilaterally.

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