CITES Current Affairs
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More than 30 countries hosting the African wild dog, cheetah, leopard and the lion in Bonn, Germany have announced establishment of African Carnivore Initiative. It is first Africa-wide commitment towards saving these carnivores.
Supported by experts of IUCN Cat Specialist Group, these 30 range states agreed to establish work programme to guide their conservation actions in coming years. The countries agreed also agreed developing and implementing conservation strategies for each of four species; creating and maintaining network of healthy ecosystems to address threat of increasingly fragmented habitats and finding solutions to human-animal conflicts and facilitating coexistence. It also includes sustainable economic and livelihood benefits to communities and reducing costs of living alongside wildlife.
African Carnivores Initiative
- It is umbrella initiative that targets four iconic African carnivore species African Lion (Panthera leo), Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), Leopard (Panthera pardus), and African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus).
- It is unique collaboration between only two global treaties whose mandate is to conserve endangered species
- Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS): It focuses on broad conservation measures, such as habitat protection, establishment of ecological corridors and mitigation of human-wildlife conflict.
- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): It regulates international trade and seeks to stop illegal trade.
- Develop concrete, coordinated and synergistic conservation programmes for all four carnivore species, with local and regional projects implemented across their African range;
- Develop policy guidance and recommendations for Range States, CITES and CMS concerning the four species.
- Organize the collaboration with other conservation initiatives and organizations, such as IUCN.
- According to Red List Assessments of International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), African wild dog inhabits 6% of its historic range, while it is 9% for cheetah, 51% for the leopard and 17% for the lion.
- The main reasons for these animals’ rapid decline across most of Africa are habitat loss and fragmentation, prey depletion, retaliatory killing by owners of livestock and increasing trade in lion specimens and live cheetah.
The World Wildlife Day is observed every year on 3rd March to celebrate and raise awareness about the world’s wild fauna and flora. It is celebrated to mark the signing of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) on this day in 1973.
Significance of Day
- It aims to create awareness and encourages people across the globe to protect endangered species.
- It also calls for taking up urgent steps to fight wildlife crime which has wide-ranging environmental, economic and social impacts.
The theme for this year is ‘Big Cats: Predators under Threat’. Big cats are among most widely recognized and admired animals across the globe. These predators are facing many and varied threats, mostly caused by human activities. Overall, their populations are declining at disturbing rate due to loss of habitat and prey, conflicts with people, poaching and illegal trade. The theme aims to raise awareness about plight of big cats and galvanize support for many global and national actions that underway to save these iconic species. It also expands definition of big cats being used, which includes not only lion, tiger, leopard and jaguar (4 largest wild cats that can roar) but also cheetah, snow leopard, puma, clouded leopard, etc.
The World Wildlife Day was designated by United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) at its 68th session on 20 December 2013. On this day in 1973, CITES was adopted.
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
CITES is international agreement to regulate worldwide commercial trade in wild animal and plant species. Its aim is to ensure that international trade does not threaten the survival of the species in the wild. It was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of IUCN. It entered into force in July 1975.
It is administered through United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It’s secretariat is located in 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.
It classifies plants and animals according to three categories, or appendices, based on how threatened. In addition CITES also restricts trade in items made from such plants and animals, such as food, clothing, medicine, and souvenirs.