WWF AT CITES COP19
The meeting has been framed as the CoP of the trees, with seven tree genera being proposed for addition to the list of species where commercial trade is regulated to ensure legality and sustainability (Appendix II). Four of these genera are from Latin America and three are from Africa. But it could equally be framed as the CoP of the sharks and rays, because two entire shark families and one ray family are also proposed for inclusion in that list. In addition, three species of sea cucumber are proposed for inclusion, the previous CoP in 2019 having placed sea cucumbers (also three species) on that list for the first time.
As always, matters relating to marine turtles, tigers, elephants and rhinos loom large on the agenda, with continuing efforts to curtail illegal trade in these strictly protected (Appendix I) species and to apply pressure to the countries that are implicated in such illegal trade.
The meeting will also discuss many important cross-cutting issues, including tackling money laundering associated with illegal wildlife trade, the need to address gender-related factors in tackling such trade, and ways to improve participation by indigenous peoples and local communities. Finally, the CoP is, of course, taking place in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and will consider how CITES can contribute to the prevention of future pandemics.
Like with previous CoPs, the WWF delegation will play a critical role in the process, providing critical advice to Parties and advocating strongly for issues that will help tackle illegal wildlife trade, including holding countries that are complicit in such crime to account.