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CITES — Washington Convention

Topics covered:

  1. Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
  2. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

CITES — Washington Convention

 

What to study?

  • For Prelims: CITES- key facts.
  • For Mains: Why India has proposed to remove rosewood from the CITES list? Need and implications of this move.

 

Context: India has proposed to remove rosewood (Dalbergia sissoo) from Appendix II of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), a multilateral treaty to protect endangered plants and animals.

  • The species is currently part of Appendix II of CITES that has species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled to avoid utilisation incompatible with their survival. But, India doesn’t want that for rosewood.

 

Why India wants rosewood removed from the list?

The species grows at a very fast rate and has the capacity to become naturalised outside its native range, even it is invasive in some parts of the world. The regulation of trade in the species is not necessary to avoid it becoming eligible for inclusion in Appendix I in the near future and the harvest of specimens from the wild is not reducing the wild population to a level at which its survival might be threatened by continued harvesting or other influences.

 

About Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES):

  • It is an International agreement to regulate worldwide commercial trade in wild animal and plant species. It also restricts trade in items made from such plants and animals, such as food, clothing, medicine, and souvenirs
  • It was signed on March 3, 1973 (Hence world wildlife day is celebrated on march 3).
  • It is administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  • Secretariat — Geneva (Switzerland).
  • CITES is legally binding on state parties to the convention, which are obliged to adopt their own domestic legislation to implement its goals.

 

Classifications:

It classifies plants and animals according to three categories, or appendices, based on how threatened. They are.

Appendix I: It lists species that are in danger of extinction. It prohibits commercial trade of these plants and animals except in extraordinary situations for scientific or educational reasons.

Appendix II species: They are those that are not threatened with extinction but that might suffer a serious decline in number if trade is not restricted. Their trade is regulated by permit.

Appendix III species: They are protected in at least one country that is a CITES member states and that has petitioned others for help in controlling international trade in that species.

 

Sources: down to earth.