Position Paper: CITES and Rural Communities

CITES stands for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. The COP is the Conference of the Parties meeting which is held every 2 or 3 years, when States Parties to the Convention decide on the functioning of the convention, and, also, on the listing of wild species into the appendices of the convention according to their conservation status.

CITES (COP19) will be the first time the ACBA network, founded in 2020, engages with the convention. In ACBA’s analysis of the network’s voluntary commitments to biodiversity conservation, almost half (9) out of the 20 CSOs that contributed to the report work on CITES, and most are engaged in conservation of wildlife species.

For that reason, ACBA has drafted a position paper that focuses on the involvement of rural communities during CITES. Some of the key messages captured on the position paper are;

  • Decisions made by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) affect communities  and their livelihoods, especially those living in rural areas where these species are prevalent.
  • The rights of rural communities to be actively involved in making decisions that affect their lives and livelihoods are upheld in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP).
  • CITES must develop a mechanism for incorporating the views and ideas of rural communities in decision making. Examples of such mechanisms are found in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • Two proposals for CoP19 suggest re-establishing a working group on indigenous people and local communities (Doc.13) and doing case studies on livelihoods (Doc.14). These proposals should be supported, but they are not ambitious enough to achieve the goal of including communities and their livelihoods.
  • African Parties (plus Cambodia) submitted two proposals that provide a clear mechanism for incorporating rural communities in CITES (Doc. 15) and giving due consideration to livelihoods in proposals for up-listing species (Doc. 87.1). These ambitious proposals will make substantial progress towards bringing CITES in line with international best practice and should therefore be fully supported.

Click here to access the full position paper