CITES Implementation

CITES – Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of fauna and flora

IUCN Oceania currently offers technical capacity and advice on CITES implementation to IUCN’s State Member in Fiji, the Department of Environment. Partnerships are being explored with other organisations in the region including SPREP, SPC and regional governments, in order to improve on capacity building efforts and implementation of the Convention in other Pacific island countries.

CITES work aims to fulfil the following IUCN Oceania programme goals:

  • OC-1.1.2 - Effective implementation of biodiversity-related laws, policies and governance systems enhanced in at least one Pacific island country.
  • OC- - IUCN knowledge and experience enhances the implementation of CBD PoWPA, WH and CITES in at least one country.
  • OC- - National capacity to implement environmental compliance and enforcement programs for natural resources management enhanced in at least one country.

  1. Production of a CITES Manual for Fiji’s CITES Authorities

Funds were secured from the British High Commission in Fiji to produce a CITES Manual for the Fiji Islands CITES Authorities and Customs Officers. This user-friendly manual incorporates species ID guides, relevant legislation and information regarding enforcement, in order to assist in the implementation of CITES in Fiji. The manual was produced in partnership with the Department of Environment, Fiji’s State member of IUCN.

As part of the production of the CITES Manual, a two-day workshop was held in order to train Officers on the use of the manual. Presentations were given on CITES and the Endangered and Protected Species Act (EPS Act), an introduction to CITES-listed species and the necessary permitting requirements, and the role of authorised officers in enforcement of the EPS Act. The workshop was combined with a series of practical exercises and group discussions that helped to identify issues currently hindering border enforcement, and ways in which border control processes can be improved.

  1. Attendance at CITES CoP15

The 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention met in Doha, Qatar from March 13th-25th 2010. Advice and technical capacity has continuously been offered to the Department of Environment for the implementation of CITES in Fiji. As part of this support, IUCN Oceania’s Species Officer, Helen Pippard, was invited to attend CoP15 as part of the Fiji delegation.
The 4-member Fiji delegation included staff from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Environment and the Department of Fisheries.

Over 140 countries were represented at the 2 week meeting, including Oceania CITES Parties Australia, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu. The CoP successfully listed the Kaiser’s newt, a rare rhinoceros beetle from Bolivia, some central American spiny-tailed iguanas, tree frogs, rosewood and some Madagascan plants. The Parties also voted against the sales of 2 African elephant stockpiles. Resolutions and Decisions were adopted on a range of topics including: Asian big cats, rhinoceroses, electronic permitting, bigleaf mahogany, Humphead Wrasse, capacity building and funding of the Convention. However, CoP15 will no doubt be remembered for the debates surrounding Atlantic bluefin tuna, sharks, and corals, all of which were rejected as economic arguments took precedence over science. 

  1. Attendance at regional workshops

Regional workshop on giant clam management and international trade

This regional workshop on the management of sustainable fisheries for giant clams (Tridacnidae) and CITES Capacity Building, was held in Nadi, Fiji in August 2009.

The workshop was facilitated by the CITES Secretariat and SPC, with support from SPREP, IUCN Oceania and NOAA. Participants from regional CITES Parties and non-Parties gathered to review the current status, population and management of giant clams. Clam meat is consumed in many Pacific Island countries, and overharvesting for local consumption is perhaps the biggest threat to the family. Live specimens are also exported for the Aquarium Trade and shells exported as curio souvenirs.

Bringing together government participants and staff from the CITES Secretariat also provided an opportunity for Parties to learn more about CITES and strengthen regional capacity for implementing the Convention. This workshop allowed participants to hear the difficulties affecting other CITES Parties in the region, and for the CITES Secretariat to offer advice and assistance on the mutual challenges facing the Pacific islands.

Proceedings from the workshop were prepared by SPC and SPREP and can be downloaded here

Regional workshop on CITES non-detriment findings for marine-listed species

IUCN Oceania, along with the CITES Secretariat, SPC, SPREP, NOAA and regional Parties and non-Parties, attended this workshop in Honiara, Solomon Islands during May 2010.

The workshop aimed to raise awareness and understanding of the CITES non-detriment finding process for marine-listed species. Under CITES, any export of a species listed on Appendix II of the Convention can only take place once it has been shown that the export will not be detrimental to the survival of the species concerned – this is termed the non-detriment finding.

The workshop included presentations on CITES and non-detriment findings, and group discussions increased knowledge and understanding further.

Participants left the meeting with a greater understanding of the need to conserve and effectively manage species in trade, to ensure the long term ecological, social and economic sustainability of natural resources. Regional awareness about the Convention and the processes necessary for the correct implementation of CITES in the Pacific was also greatly improved.

The report on workshop proceedings is available here.