Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES)
In serving as a regional CITES North America forum, this table coordinates preparation for meetings of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, as well as for the Convention’s committees and working groups. This builds stronger positions and participation as the North American region in CITES meetings leading to improved outcomes for common issues of regional importance. Enhanced communication and information sharing among the CITES Authorities of the three countries facilitates implementation, follow up on commitments, development of initiatives, and strengthening of the coordination and leadership of the North American Region in CITES. This table also considers trade issues related to permitting, shared species, species of concern to individual members, and other significant issues related to international trade in plants and animals.
Since 1997, this table has served to support CITES North American Regional preparations for various CITES meetings including: the Conference of the Parties (CoP), Standing Committee (SC) and Plants and Animals Committees (PC/AC).
- A cornerstone of CITES’ science-based approach to trade regulation, is the requirement of non-detriment findings (NDFs) as a basis for allowing trade. This is a scientific determination required to determine the number of specimens or the volume of the products that is possible to export without negatively impacting the population of the CITES-listed species being traded. In 2008, an International Expert Workshop on CITES NDFs, that was hosted by Mexico, produced guidance materials mostly based on qualitative risk analysis, demonstrating that quantitative data were still needed for many taxa in the form of updated field data and analyses to measure and monitor the impact of international trade and to inform sustainable use of populations of these species. When CITES efforts turned toward developing guiding principles to assist Parties in such work, the North American Region’s strong collaboration and diligent work formed the basis of what became the Resolution on Non-detriment findings, adopted by the Parties in 2013. [Resolution Conf. 16.7 (Rev. CoP17) on Non-detriment findings]
- The Review of Significant Trade of Appendix-II Species (RST) is a process that Parties have agreed to whereby the Animals and Plants Committees select species that are traded in high volumes to review the implementation of non-detriment findings made by the Scientific Authority. This important oversight function helps to ensure that international trade does not negatively impact the survival of the species and supports improved implementation of the scientific functioning of CITES. When the Animals and Plants Committees identify significant shortfalls in making NDFs, either for particular species or for particular countries, it could lead to a recommendation to suspend trade if the deficiencies identified through the RST are not corrected. Our Region played a significant role to improve the transparency of the review process, streamline and shorten the review process, and create more consistency in how deficiencies should be addressed. We also advocated for the use of this process as a capacity building tool. [Resolution Conf. 12.8 (Rev. CoP18) on Review of Significant Trade of Appendix-II Species]
- Five action plans were prepared in 2019 as part of a project by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation to promote legal, sustainable, and traceable trade in selected North American species that are listed in CITES Appendix II. Products from this CEC project include:
- In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the North America Region proposed that the CITES Standing Committee establish an intersessional working group to examine the potential role of CITES in reducing the risk of future zoonotic disease emergence associated with international wildlife trade. The Standing Committee supported the recommendation to establish the intersessional working group, and Canada, Mexico, and the United States look forward to engaging in discussions on this very timely issue and putting concrete actions before the Conference of the Parties for consideration at its 19th meeting in 2022. [North America Regional submission: Zoonotic disease & CITES work group]