Governments propose changes to global bans on endangered species trade, UN reports
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today said it has completed its assessment of proposed amendments by governments to modify international bans on trading in endangered wildlife.
The proposals, submitted by countries party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), aim to amend the treaty’s lists of wild plant and animal species that are subject to trade controls or prohibitions.
One of the more controversial issues this year stems from Japan’s requests to reopen trade in certain populations of the minke whale and the Bryde’s whale, said UNEP, which administers the treaty’s secretariat, has come out against this request. The agency pointed out that “catch quotas for whales are set by the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, and that all commercial whale hunting is currently forbidden.”
Concerning the trade in African elephant ivory, the UN environment agency reported that Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe are proposing to export specific quantities of ivory under controlled conditions, while Kenya and India are proposing to ban all commercial trade.
Another proposal would regulate the trade in two species of Patagonian toothfish, or Chilean sea bass, for the first time. That recommendation has received the endorsement of the CITES secretariat.
The secretariat’s provisional assessment will be reviewed by the Convention’s 158 Parties, which will meet in Santiago, Chile, from 3 to 15 November to decide whether to accept, reject or modify each of the proposals.
The treaty has two lists, known as Appendices I and II, which are revised every two-and-a-half years. Appendix I prohibits all commercial trade in some 900 species that are threatened with extinction while Appendix II regulates trade in 4,000 animal and 22,000-plus plant species through a system of permits.