The 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP18) took place from 17 - 28 August 2019, in Geneva, Switzerland.
CoP19 will be held in 2022 in Costa Rica. CITES CoP17 was held in 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
What is the CITES CoP?
The CITES Conference of the Parties (CoP) is a meeting of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to review the implementation of the Convention.
The CoP provides a forum for Parties to:
- review progress in the conservation of species listed under CITES
- consider, and where appropriate adopt, proposals to amend the lists of species under CITES
- recommend measures to improve the effectiveness of the Convention
- make provisions (including budget matters) necessary to allow the CITES Secretariat to function effectively.
CoP18 was attended by 169 Party governments (plus the European Union) and approximately 1700 delegates, observers and journalists. Representatives of non-government organisations, industry groups and others with an interest in the Convention also attend CoP meetings. However, only CITES Parties can vote on decisions at the CoP.
- Find out more about CITES
Outcomes of the CITES CoP18
Delegates considered 57 proposals (relating to more than 500 species) to increase or decrease controls on international trade in wildlife and wildlife products, as well as 140 documents proposing new measures and policies relating to international wildlife trade.
More information on the CITES CoP18 is available at CITES CoP18.
- The full list of CoP18 agenda papers on the interpretation and implementation of CITES is available at: Provisional agenda and working documents - Eighteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties
- A summary of CoP18 proposals to amend the species listed under CITES and their outcomes is available at: Decisions made on proposals to amend Appendices I and II.
Amendments to the CITES Appendices, including new listings, enter into force for all Parties 90 days after the meeting (i.e. 26 November 2019), unless a delayed implementation date is agreed.
Australia implements CITES through its national environment law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The List of CITES Species included in the EPBC Act will be amended by 26 November 2019 to ensure that any Australian imports and exports of the species newly listed under CITES may continue.
Amendments to the CITES Appendices at CoP18
Proposals to include shortfin and longfin mako sharks, wedgefish (Rhinidae spp.) and guitarfish (Glaucostegus spp.) in Appendix II to CITES were adopted. These listings will come into effect on 26 August 2019. A proposal to include three species of sea cucumber or teatfish (including Holothuria whitmaei and Holothuria fuscogilva) was also adopted. The listing will come into effect after a 12-month implementation delay, on 28 August 2020. These species are found in Australian waters and are caught in some fisheries.
CoP18 adopted a proposal to exempt finished musical instruments (and finished musical instrument parts and accessories) containing Appendix II Dalbergia and Gibourtia rosewood species from CITES permit requirements. CoP18 also agreed that shipments of finished items made of rosewood to a total weight of 10kg per shipment should also be excluded from regulation. These amendments will help address implementation challenges and better focus on the risk associated with exports from the species’ natural habitats.
CoP18 also agreed to include giraffes in Appendix II, meaning that permits will be required for international trade in giraffes and giraffe specimens for the first time.
Increased protections were given to Asian small-clawed and smooth-coated otters, with these two species being included in Appendix I due to threats from the international pet trade. A number of reptile species, including rare lizard and tortoises, were also given additional protections due to concerns about the impact to wild harvest for the pet trade.
Do you trade internationally in any species listed on CITES, or other plants or animals?
- Find out if you need a permit
Australia proposed six amendments to the CITES appendices for consideration at CoP18, all of which were adopted by consensus.
CoP18 agreed that these species do not meet the criteria for Appendix I listing, because they are not threatened by trade. CoP18 agreed to transfer the following species from CITES Appendix I to II:
- the central rock rat (Zyzomys pendunculatus)
- the greater stick-nest rat (Leporillus conditor)
- the Shark Bay mouse (Pseudomys fieldii)
- the water mouse (Xeromys myoides)
- the western bristlebird (Dasyornis longirostris) and
- the western rufous bristlebird (Dasyornis broadbenti litoralis).
Please note that change to the CITES Appendices for these species does not change the threatened status of these species under Australian, state or territory legislation, or by the IUCN, and will not affect conservation management of these species.