Washington Convention on the Protection of Species

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Short title: Washington Convention on the Protection of Species
Title (engl.): Convention on International Trade
in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Abbreviation: CITES (WA)
Date: March 3, 1973
Come into effect: July 1, 1975
Reference: cites.org ; Bonn Amdt. , Gaborone Amdt.
Contract type: Multinational (UN)
Legal matter: natural reserve
Signing: 183
Ratification : 183

Germany: Advice. June 20, 1976 (iK June 20, 1976, Bonn 1987, Garb. 1985)
Liechtenstein: Acc. November 30, 1979 (iK Feb. 28, 1980, Bonn 1987, Garb. 2000)
Austria: Acc. Jan. 27, 1982 (iK Feb. 28, 1980, Bonn 1987, Garb. 1985)
Switzerland: Advice. July 9, 1974 (iK July 1, 1975, Bonn 1987, Garb. 1994)
Please note the note on the applicable contract version .

CITES participating states

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora ( CITES for short , German  Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora ) is an international convention that promotes sustainable, international trade in the animals and plants listed in its annexes Plants should ensure. The convention is also known as the Washington Convention on the Conservation of Species ( WA ) after the place where it was first signed on March 3, 1973 in Washington, DC . CITES does not interfere with the sovereignty of a state, i. In other words, each member state is responsible for the legal implementation and enforcement.

The CITES Secretariat is based in Geneva and is provided by UNEP , the United Nations Environment Program.


A previous convention, the London Convention on the Conservation of Species of 1933, which was signed by nine states, mainly related to large game species in Africa (42 species in total). In 1960 the IUCN demanded in the seventh General Assembly that all states should adopt import regulations for endangered plants and animals in coordination with the export regulations of the countries of origin in order to minimize the endangerment of species through trade. This was rejected by the states as too complex. As an alternative, a convention with international approval standards was proposed in 1964; the name of CITES is derived from this resolution. In 1971, after several drafts, the text was revised to such an extent that 39 governments and 18  non-governmental organizations (NGOs) agreed to sign it. The Stockholm Environment Conference of 1972 contributed to the realization and the USA invited to the founding conference, which was attended by 80 states.

The Washington Convention, signed on March 3, 1973, entered into force for the first member countries on July 1, 1975. The first five countries to ratify the agreement were the USA, Nigeria, Switzerland, Tunisia and Sweden. The first country from the European Community (EC) to ratify the agreement was the FRG on June 20, 1976. The GDR had already signed six months earlier. On October 20, 2016, the convention came into force for the now 183rd member, Tonga .

The agreement has been expanded twice, these changes only apply to states that accept them or have acceded to them after the changes came into force. On 22 June 1979, in Bonn , the extension of Article XI proposed ( Bonn amendment ) that allows the assumptions of financing. The "Bonn amendment" was signed by a sufficient number of member states in 1987 and has been accepted by 147 member states so far (as of July 2015). On April 30, 1983 in Gaborone the extension of Article XXI ( Gaborone amendment ) was passed, which allows regional associations of nation states (such as the EU) to accede to the convention. The enlargement came into force on November 23, 2013 and the European Union joined CITES on April 9, 2015.

Regulatory content

Elephant feet confiscated by customs in the
German Customs Museum Hamburg

The convention regulates the trade in protected animal and plant species. The species that are protected, despite the name and origin of the Convention, are independent of the IUCN Red List . The list of protected species can be found in the annexes to the convention and is determined by the member states at the conferences of the parties . Currently (as of January 2013) 29,910 plant species and 5,659 animal species are listed in the appendices. The international trade in the species and their products, such as ivory , caviar , wood products, medicinal products or prepared animals, is regulated, depending on the relevant appendix (I, II, III) and the comments made there. Depending on the annex, export or import permits are required that must meet certain requirements.


Appendix I.

The rules for Appendix I are set out in Article III of the Convention. For these species, which are highly threatened by trade, there is a ban on commercial trade for individuals who come from the wild. Trade in offspring or non-commercial trade is possible as long as there is no threat to the continued existence of the species and national laws are observed. Export and import permits are required. The listed species include z. B. all whale species, all sea ​​turtles , some monkey species , some bear and cat species, certain parrots , birds of prey , owls and cranes , various tortoise species and crocodiles , several types of snakes and various types of cacti and orchids .

Annex II

The rules for Appendix II are set out in Article IV of the Convention. For the species listed in Appendix II, commercial trade is possible after a safety assessment by the exporting country. It is checked whether the trade endangers the survival of the species. The competent authority carries out monitoring and takes measures that enable sustainable use. An export permit is required. The listed species include a. all monkeys, bears , cats , birds of prey, all other tortoises, including the Greek tortoise , monitor lizards and crocodiles, as well as all orchids, cacti and cyclamen , insofar as they are not already protected under Appendix I.

Annex III

The rules for Appendix III are set out in Article V of the Convention. The corresponding species are listed in combination with a country. Only the country mentioned can include the species in Appendix III; no decision by the Conference of the Parties is necessary. Individuals or corresponding products from the named country require an export permit, from other countries a certificate of origin is required.


Each member state can refuse the listing of individual species and make a reservation; the listing or document requirement is then not valid for this state. A reservation can be withdrawn at any time. There are three main reasons for registering reservations: political unwillingness due to economic interests, rejection of the biological basis (non-fulfillment of the criteria) and more time to implement the legal requirements. For example, after the Conference of the Parties in 2013, Canada entered a reservation against all new listings in order to have more time to implement them in national law.

Relationship to other conventions

CITES does not interfere with the obligations of states that arise from other conventions, e.g. B. the CBD (Article XIV). If possible, cooperation with all relevant conventions is sought. In the hierarchy of legal norms, the date of entry into force is relevant for international conventions. Since the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling is older, all CITES decisions are in accordance with this convention. So the Conference of the Parties can z. B. not lift the international moratorium on whale meat trade.

Implementation and enforcement

Since CITES does not interfere with the sovereignty of the nation states, they are responsible for implementation and enforcement (Article VIII). The secretariat can only make recommendations. The secretariat speaks e.g. B. made recommendations for a trade ban in CITES-relevant species in order to induce states to comply with their contractual obligations. In the European Union, CITES is implemented through the EU Species Protection Ordinance. As far as there are stricter regulations in part, they are -CITES-compliant- stricter. As a regulation, Regulation (EC) No. 338/97 applies directly in all EU member states; stricter regulations and the sanctions are regulated in national regulations. In Germany these are the Federal Nature Conservation Act and z. T. the Federal Species Protection Ordinance . In Austria it is the Species Trade Act (ArtHG2009). The national implementation of the agreement takes place in a management authority, which must be reported to the CITES secretariat. In Germany this is the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation , in Austria the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology and in Switzerland the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO). The management authority is supported by also announced scientific authorities. The number of scientific authorities is not limited.


Snake liquor confiscated by customs

As is usual with illegal trade, the seizures are mainly carried out by customs . All listed species and their products that are traded with or without false papers will be withdrawn. However, an owner also needs these permits in Germany in order to be able to prove legal ownership if necessary. Mainly confiscated at the plants u. a. live cacti and orchids, as well as medicines containing protected species; in animals including snails , mussels , reptiles (leather) and corals .

Conference of the Parties

At regular meetings of the representatives of the signatory states (Conference of the Parties) , the applicable regulations are reviewed and requests for further trade regulations are discussed. Each member state has one vote in the voting and the presence of 50% of the accredited member states is necessary for a vote. Depending on the type of application, different majorities are valid, e.g. B. A simple majority is required to change the agenda and a 2/3 majority is required to change the appendices. As a principle of CITES, however, a decision by consensus is sought. Even before its official accession, the European Union appears as a unit at the Conference of the Parties. If the EU member states cannot agree on a common position (approval or rejection of an application), all EU countries abstain from voting.

15th meeting in Doha 2010

For the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Signatory States (CoP15) in Doha, Qatar , from 13-25. March 2010, more than 2,000 delegates from 175 countries attended. The participants were able to ban the bluefin tuna trade until the stocks recover, the polar bear skins trade and the protection of various species of shark , such as hammerhead and dogfish , some of which are products under the names Schillerlocke , veal , sea ​​eel or sea sturgeon in Europe Trade, fail to reach an agreement. A ban on trading in herring shark meat was first decided, but was withdrawn on the last day of the conference. The trade ban on ivory has been extended.

16th meeting in Bangkok 2013

From March 3 to 14, 2013 - on the 40th anniversary of the Washington Convention on Endangered Species - the 16th CITES conference took place in Bangkok, attended by over 2000 delegates from 177 countries. Much noticed topics included the protection of elephants and rhinos from increasing poaching, the protection of endangered shark species, rare tropical woods and some amphibians and reptiles.

Elephant and rhino poaching has reached unprecedented proportions in recent years with an increase of around 5000% in rhino poaching, with new highs in illegal elephant hunting and with the increasing professionalization and militarization of poachers. The population of many shark species is threatened in particular by the growing prosperity in some Asian countries, where shark fin soup is considered a delicacy and its consumption is a status symbol. Up to 100 million animals are therefore traded every year.
At the Conference of the Signatory States (CoP16), the European Union therefore advocated the inclusion of the porbeagle in Appendix II of the agreement. The application was submitted jointly with the USA, Brazil, Colombia and Egypt, which in turn advocated the inclusion of some species of shark such as the whitetip deep-sea shark , various species of hammerheads and some species of rays such as the manta ray . Despite the opposition from China and Japan, porbeagle sharks, whitetip deep-sea sharks, three hammerhead sharks and manta rays were included in Appendix II of the species protection agreement with the necessary two-thirds majority. Japan and China argued that listing could increase illegal trade and make it difficult to identify species in the trade.
As in 2010, there was intense discussion about listing the polar bear from Appendix II to Appendix I. The majority of member states came to the conclusion that existing trade is very low and that the main threat to the continued existence of the species is habitat loss and not trade. The criteria for listing in Appendix I instead of Appendix II are therefore not given.
Transparency in voting was an important issue. At the Conference of the Parties in 1994 it was determined that the motion for a secret ballot only required 10 votes in favor. Both requests (one from Mexico and Chile, the other from the EU) to change this have been rejected. Proponents of the ten-vote rule argue that this enables smaller states in particular to vote in the interests of national interests. Opponents argue that the rule allows delegates to evade responsibility towards citizens.

The results achieved at CoP16 are viewed by those involved and by nature conservation organizations as a great success for species protection.

In August 2019, at a meeting on the Washington Convention on the Protection of Species, a working group for big cats was set up with the aim of species conservation. The 18th Conference of the Contracting States ( CoP18 ) took place in Geneva from 17 to 28 August 2019 .

See also


See also: Current CITES documents (English, French and Spanish)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Source: www.cites.org
  2. ^ IUCN (Publisher) (1960): Seventh General Assembly Proceedings. IUCN, Brussels. P. 154
  3. ^ IUCN (Publisher) (1964): Eighth General Assembly Proceedings. IUCN, Morges. P. 130
  4. Cites: The Washington Convention on the Protection of Species. In: Spiegel Online . August 20, 2001, accessed December 14, 2014 .
  5. European Commission and TRAFFIC (2013): Reference Guide to the European Union Wildlife Trade Regulations. Brussels, Belgium
  6. Reservations on CITES-listed species www.bmlfuw.gv.at, accessed on July 31, 2015
  7. ^ Wijnstekers, W. (2011): The Evolution of CITES - 9th edition. International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation page 435
  8. Notification No. 2015/012 www.cites.org, accessed on July 31, 2015
  9. National contacts of the member states www.cites.org, accessed on August 10, 2015
  10. Confiscations in Austria www.bmlfuw.gv.at, accessed on July 31, 2015
  11. But no exception for herring sharks Tagesschau (ARD) of March 25, 2010 about the species protection conference in Qatar
  12. Japan's Triumph over Species Conservation. In: handelsblatt.com. March 25, 2010, accessed December 14, 2014 .
  13. WWF on the poaching crisis
  14. Till Fähnders, Bangkok: Spit in the shark fin soup. In: FAZ.net . March 14, 2013, accessed December 14, 2014 .
  15. nabu.de: www.nabu.de
  16. a b Cites Conference: Japan and China fail with push against shark protection. In: Spiegel Online . March 14, 2013, accessed December 14, 2014 .
  17. a b Results of CoP16 ( Memento from April 10, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) www.bmlfuw.gv.at, accessed on July 31, 2015
  18. http://www.wwf.de/2013/maerz/historische-verbindungen-in-bangkok/. WWF Germany , March 14, 2013, accessed on April 29, 2016 .
  19. ^ Working group " Big Cats" of the Washington Convention on the Protection of Species , accessed on October 9, 2019 in Vier-pfoten.de.
  20. CITES: Overview of the decisions of the CoP18 (English)