CITES

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Introduction

In 1973, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was drawn up in an attempt to ensure that international trade of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival (UNEP, 5). In a broader sense, CITES aims to promote species conservation. At the time of its inception, there was no existing agreement to regulate wildlife trade for conservation and many species such as leopards, or tigers were nearing extinction due to trade (IUCN, 12). International cooperation is necessary to prevent trade from threatening the survival of plants and animals as many plants or animals are exported from one country for consumption in another.

CITES lists over 35 000 species on a series of appendices giving them varying levels of protection by trade measures (IUCN, 6). As the threat to different species changes, species are added to or moved between different appendices. Since CITES is an agreement which is continually updated, it does not contain any specific goals. Rather than containing specific goals and quantifiable targets, CITES seeks to protect endangered and threatened species from international trade threatening their survival by continually adapting and adding new species depending on their vulnerability at the time.
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One of the factors that makes CITES as an agreement successful is its international important and the fact that it has many signatories. Since the problem of endangered species trade is an international one, “The success of CITES is undoubtedly due to its ability to enable action on international commitment” (Johnston, 8). Another reason that CITES has remained successful and relevant for over 40 years is because of its ability to continually add different species to the appendices, increasing the scope of its protection (Tilford,
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