Proposals to permit some limited trade in ivory from African elephants were not accepted. The existing trade ban remains in place.
Photo: ©FAO/Tony Karumba


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Threatened species between conservation and income generation for local communities were in focus at the World Wildlife Conference (CITES) in Geneva, Switzerland. During a two-week meeting, delegates from 169 nations discussed the ranking of protection of a wide range of animal and plant species in danger of extinction.

The triennial World Wildlife Conference, CoP18 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) took place from the 17th to the 28th of August 2019, in Geneva, Switzerland. CoP18 was attended by 169 member governments (plus the EU) and some 1,700 participants. The Conference revised the trade rules for several wildlife species that are threatened by unsustainable trade linked to overharvesting, overfishing or overhunting. These ranged from commercially valuable fish and trees through mammals to amphibians and reptiles sold as exotic pets.

“Business as usual is no longer an option. CITES conserves our natural world by ensuring that international trade in wild plants and animals is legal, sustainable and traceable,” said CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero. According to the International Institute for Sustainable Development, delegates noted a “bittersweet” nature of achieving listings of increasingly threatened species. Others regretted “deepening divisions” between conservation and development agendas in Africa.

Wildlife conservation and indigenous people

Many countries lack the necessary financial and institutional capacity to sustainably manage and conserve their wildlife.

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