Assessment of species listing proposals for CITES CoP17. Opinion of the Panel on Alien Organisms and Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety
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International wildlife trade is estimated to be worth billions of dollars annually and to include hundreds of millions of plant and animal specimens. The commerce is diverse, ranging from live animals and plants, to parts of organisms and derivatives thereof utilized for food, clothing, medicine, building materials, decorative items etc. International trade in endangered species is regulated through the CITES Convention (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). The aim of the Convention is to prevent trade across borders leading to over-exploitation of species. Currently more than 35,000 species are protected at various levels by CITES (Appendices I, II, III). Currently 182 countries (Parties) have joined and are thereby bound by the Convention. The parties have to adopt their own domestic legislation to ensure that CITES is implemented at the national level. They are obligated to designate one or more Management Authorities to administrate a licensing system for imports and exports, and one or more Scientific Authorities to advise them on possible impacts of trade on species survival. The supreme decision making body of CITES is the Conference of the Parties (CoP), where all the Parties are represented. The Parties have agreed upon a resolution with a set of criteria for listing of species in the CITES Appendices, the Resolution Conf. 9.24. All amendments to Appendix I and II (i.e. transfer of already listed species between Appendix I and II, inclusion of new species, or removal of species listed in Appendix II) have to be done in accordance to the latest revision of the Resolution: Res. Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP16). All Parties are eligible to propose amendments to the Appendices in advance of the CoP. The Norwegian Environment Agency has assigned VKM to review a list of proposals for amendments to Appendix I and II submitted ahead of the seventeenth meeting of the CoP (CoP17) that will be held in the autumn of 2016. The list of proposals includes six different organismal groups: mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, terrestrial invertebrates and plants. VKM has put forward a project group comprising participants from the panel on Alien organisms and trade in endangered species (CITES), VKM’s secretariat as well as external experts. The project group has reviewed the information given in each proposal and searched for additional data in order to assess the impact of legal and illegal trade. VKM has summarized the material on each species in fact-sheets. The fact sheets will constitute the scientific basis for a national public hearing of the listing proposals prior to the CoP17. If accepted, the amendments will be effectuated three months after the meeting.