Policing International Trade in Endangered Species: The CITIES Treaty and Compliance

Rosalind Reeve 
Earthscan  2002  

Hardback  224pp  ISBN 9781853838750      £90.00
Not for sale by CPL in North America where it may be purchased from local sources

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is one of the oldest multilateral environmental agreements in existence. Since it was established to prevent international trade in wild animals and plants from threatening their survival, a complex system has evolved to induce countries to comply with and enforce the treaty#s trade controls.

This book presents the first definitive study of the CITES compliance system a self-policing system which relies heavily on recommended trade suspensions to deal with non-compliance. It concludes that trade suspensions are effective, but identifies several weaknesses in the system. A strategy is advanced to address these weaknesses, drawing on lessons from other international compliance systems, and the potential for conflict between CITES trade restrictions and the WTO is analysed.This book presents the first definitive study of this self-policing or compliance system, which relies to a great extentheavily on recommended trade suspensions to deal with non-compliance. It concludes that trade suspensions have beenare effective, but identifies a number ofseveral weaknesses in the CITES system, among them , including inadequate insufficient resources and political will - and attention paid toundermining enforcement and capacity - building national enforcement - and the lack of a permanent committee dedicated to compliance committee issues. The potential for conflict between CITES trade restrictions and the WTO is analysed and lessons relevant to CITES are drawn from other international compliance systems.


List of figures, tables and boxes

Foreword by Peter Sand

About the author


Acronyms and abbreviations

Part I

Setting the scene

1 Introduction

Rationale and structure of the book; Disappearing wildlife; Biodiversity crisis; Threats; Nature and role of international trade; Protection versus sustainable use

2 Overview of compliance control

Definitions and distinctions; Elements of a compliance system: the necessary tools; Management versus enforcement

Part II

CITES compliance system: primary rules and information

3 Primary rules

Origin and objectives; Principles and trade provisions; CITES Appendices: definitions and trade controls; Amending Appendices I and II; Tracking shipments: permits, certificates and marking systems; Trade with non-parties; Exemptions, special provisions and export quotas; International institutions; Conference of the Parties; Functions and structure; COP recommendations: resolutions and decisions; Secret ballots; Secretariat and partner NGOs; Standing Committee; Technical committees; National measures; Funding; CITES Trust Fund; External funding; Strategic Vision through 2005

4 Information system

National reporting; Information from NGOs; Information on infractions, illegal trade and wildlife crime; Reports on alleged infractions; TIGERS; CITES Alerts; Loss of public access to information; On-site verification through ad hoc missions; Information management strategy; Elephants and ivory: a special case; Verification of the 1999 ivory auctions; ETIS and MIKE; ETIS; MIKE; Rationale

Part III

CITES compliance system: non-compliance response

5 Problem countries

Introduction; Procedure for parties experiencing major implementation problems; Country case studies; Bolivia and Paraguay; Japan; United Arab Emirates; Thailand; European Union; Italy; Greece; Indonesia; Democratic Republic of Congo; Non-parties; Singapore; Macau; El Salvador; Equatorial Guinea; Grenada

6 Problem issues

National legislation project; 1992 - 1994; 1994 - 1997; 1997 - 2000; 2000 - 2002; Balancing #carrot# and #stick#; Non-submission of annual reports; Non-designation of Scientific Authorities; Non-payment of dues to the Trust Fund 4; Debate on non-compliance response measures

7 Significant Trade Review

1981 - 1989: first review of fauna; 1990 - 1992: second review of fauna; 1992 - 2000: introduction of continuing review and non-compliance response; 2000 - 2002: inclusion of plants; New models shaping the review; Sturgeon: the caviar story; Madagascar: the first country-based review; Is the Review effective?; Proposed revision of the mechanism; Suggestions for improving the mechanism; Linking national reporting with the Review; Incorporating illegal trade; Verification; Transparency, public comment and peer Review; Incorporating the precautionary principle; A review of the Review

8 High-profile Appendix I species

Rhinos; Tigers

9 Enforcement, technical assistance and capacity-building

National enforcement; A snapshot of capacity in 15 countries; Cambodia; Canada; China; India; Indonesia; Japan; Malaysia; Myanmar; Nepal; The Netherlands; Russian Federation; South Africa; United Kingdom; United States; Vietnam ; Specialized wildlife law enforcement units; International enforcement; Enforcement assistance from the Secretariat; Tiger Enforcement Task Force; Failure to establish a permanent enforcement group; International cooperation ; World Customs Organization and Interpol; UN Environment Programme; INECE ; Regional cooperation; Africa: The Lusaka Agreement Task Force; North America: NAWEG; Technical assistance; Early recognition; Identification manual; Assistance with national reporting and drafting legislation; Capacity-building; Training seminars and Secretariat missions; Legal capacity-building programme; Information management and assistance to Scientific Authorities

Part IV

Weaknesses, lessons and potential conflict

10 Weaknesses in the CITES compliance system

National implementation; Legislation; National institutions; Reporting on trade and infractions, and verification; Enforcement; Achilles# heel of CITES; Bias towards science and management; Funding priorities; Exclusion of enforcement expertise; Cooperation and coordination; Judicial awareness and non-deterrent penalties; International institutions; The Secretariat: a chequered history; The Standing Committee; The missing leg: a Compliance Committee; Funding mechanism

11 Learning from other compliance systems

Reporting and verification in other MEAs; Montreal Protocol; Ramsar Convention; Climate Change Convention and Kyoto Protocol; Non-compliance response in other MEAs; Montreal Protocol; LRTAP Convention; Kyoto Protocol; International Labour Organization; National reporting and regular review; Ad hoc non-compliance procedures; Representation procedure; Complaints procedure; Freedom of association procedure; Effectiveness of the ILO compliance system; North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation

12 Relationship with the WTO

Interface between the multilateral trading system and the environment; MEAs and the multilateral trading system; Potential conflict with CITES measures; Implications for the CITES compliance system

Part V

Looking to the future

13 Conclusions and recommendations

Primary rule system; Trade provisions; International institutions; Funding; Compliance information system 2; National reporting and review; Information on infractions, illegal trade and wildlife crime; Non-compliance response system; Problem countries; Problem issues; Significant Trade Review; High-profile Appendix I species; Enforcement; Expansion of non-compliance response measures; National CITES action plans; A coordinated non-compliance mechanism; Relationship with the WTO; Closing comment

Part VI


1 Key dates of CITES meetings

Conferences of the Parties; Standing Committee meetings


3 Countries and species affected by Standing Committee recommended import suspensions under the Significant Trade Review as of 9 April 2002

4 Preliminary report form

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Autumn 2002 : Earthscan : animal health : animal science : biodiversity : environmental protection : regulations

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