CITES: Conferences of the Parties (CoPs)

Every 3 years, parties to CITES (government representatives from participating countries) meet to discuss a variety of issues. This meeting is called a Conference of the Parties, or CoP.
At each CoP, CITES Parties discuss and vote on proposals to amend the Appendices. Two-thirds of the parties present and voting must vote in favour of a proposal for it to be accepted.

Parties also discuss and come to agreement on a range of Resolutions and Decisions that may relate to, for instance, the interpretation of the Convention, its operation for particular taxa or specimens, or specific trade-related conservation measures. CoPs are also an opportunity to look at key implementation and enforcement issues that are vital ito deliver real and long-lasting conservation outcomes. 

Although the key decisions of CITES are taken under the CoPs, they only take place every three years. In the intervening periods, the Convention is governed by the Standing Committee, which meets every year.

These pages provide WWF's position papers and fact sheets for various proposals, resolutions, decisions, and species under discussion at recent CITES CoPs.

WWF's role

NGOs such as WWF and TRAFFIC provide technical and scientific advice, and are able to participate and speak at the CoP.

WWF has actively participated in all previous CITES CoPs, and brings to the table both its policy expertise, and its 40 years of field expertise in more than 60 countries.

Definitions

  • CITES: Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
  • CoP: Conference of the Parties
  • Appendix I, II, III: Species covered by CITES are listed in three Appendices, according to the degree of protection they need
  • CITES Parties: States that have agreed to be bound by the Convention (or 'joined' CITES) are known as Parties

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