Why in news?
18th Conference of Parties (CoP18) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) was held in Geneva.
Highlights of COP 18:
- Asian small-clawed and smooth-coated otters were included in Appendix I.
- First time giraffe has been accorded protection by placing it in Appendix II.
- 18 species of sharks and rays were included in Appendix II.
- A resolution calling for Japan and the European Union (EU) to close their legal domestic ivory markets was not adopted.
- 87 CITES parties decided to restrict trade in elephants from Zimbabwe and Botswana to in-situ conservation programmes or secure areas in the wild within the species’ natural and historical range in Africa, with limited exceptions.
- The critically endangered Saiga antelope of the Eurasian steppe was refused to the highest protection (to be added to Appendix -I) that can be offered under international law.
- Conservationist Vivek Menon, head of non-profit, Wildlife Trust of India was awarded the prestigious Clark R Bavin Wildlife Law Enforcement Award for the year 2019.
- He co-founded TRAFFIC India with his mentor the late Ashok Kumar and his early work on rhino poaching was published by TRAFFIC-International.
- It is an international agreement to regulate worldwide commercial trade in wild animal and plant species.
- It is administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
- It restricts trade in items made from such plants and animals, such as food, clothing, medicine, and souvenirs.
- It was signed on March 3, 1973.
- Secretariat is in Geneva Switzerland.
- It is legally binding on state parties to the convention, which are obliged to adopt their own domestic legislation to implement its goals.
- Appendix I species: It lists species that are in danger of extinction. It prohibits commercial trade of these plants and animals except in extraordinary situations for scientific or educational reasons.