CITES: 77th Standing Committee Meeting

GS Paper III

News Excerpt:

Recently, the 77th meeting CITES Standing Committee was held in Geneva, Switzerland from 6th to 10th November 2023.

Three Major Developments:

  • Amendment of Wildlife Act, placement of the CITES legislation of India in Category 1 of the National Legislation Project of CITES has been confirmed:
    • The CITES provides that every Party aligns its national legislation to accommodate CITES provisions.
    • India was listed in Category 2 for the CITES National Legislation programme.
    • India has been a Party to the CITES since 1976.
    • The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 was, therefore, amended in the year 2022, wherein the provisions of CITES were incorporated in the Act.
    • The CITES Standing Committee has in its 77th meeting decided to place India in Category 1 as it had fully complied with the requirements of the CITES National Legislation programme.

Review of Significant Trade (RST) Status of Red Sanders for India has been removed:

  • India has been under the Review of Significant Trade (RST) process for Red Sanders since 2004.
  • The CITES RST process enables disciplinary action in the form of trade suspensions directed at countries that do not meet their obligations.
  • This is a process through which the CITES Standing Committee places increased scrutiny on the exports of a species from a country to determine if the Convention is being properly implemented.
  • The development is a major boost for the farmers who grow Red Sanders.

Parties to CITES urged to take stringent steps on jaguar, big cat conservation

  • The decisions were proposed and recommended at the CITES standing committee meeting.
  • The parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) have decided to join hands for the illegal trade of parts and derivatives of jaguar and eliminate poaching through controlled enforcement drives.
  • As per the 19th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP19) to CITES, the parties have been directed to “urgently adopt comprehensive and enforcement controls” with an aim to eliminate poaching of jaguars.
    • It further directed the parties to consider the jaguar as a priority species for enforcement operations and measures to be taken against wildlife crimes.

Steps for Jaguar Conservation:

  • Jaguar Conservation Roadmap 2030: The roadmap aimed to assess the 80 jaguar landscapes for effective conservation actions by understanding the population size, density, trends, habitat quality and presence/absence of the animal.


    • To strengthen the means to achieve “synergetic implementation of international commitments related to the jaguar.
    • To identify jaguar conservation units, jaguar corridors, and sustainable funding opportunities.
    • To reduce the demand for illegal jaguar products.
    • Monitoring and information systems and options for an intergovernmental platform and a continental working programme to prevent the illegal killing of jaguars and associated illegal trade in their parts and derivatives.
  • Monitoring illegal killing of jaguars and roping with local communities and indigenous people to engage with enforcement authorities.
  • Behaviour change, encouraging the promotion of coexistence and creating livelihood alternatives to curb the killing of jaguars and their parts and derivatives.

Apart from the Jaguar, it also took decisions on the conservation of big cats for their protection and conservation and demanded parties to share information on the conservation steps taken for poaching incidents regarding leopards.

 India’s steps to big cat conservation:  

  • India has also made interventions for the need for stringent measures for the conservation of Big Cats, especially, the Asian Big Cats.
  • India in its intervention also appealed to a range of countries and other stakeholders to join the International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA), launched on 9th April 2023 for the conservation of seven Big Cat species.

Ways to Conserve Big Cats:

  • Through strict regulatory measures and identification using microchips, DNA analysis and stripe identification images.
  • The approach could possibly include identifying facilities for keeping tigers having genetic and conservation value. 
  • Another step would be to ensure public access and adequate welfare conditions in compliance with international guidelines for captive tigers.
  • It directed the parties to assess the need to reduce centres, sanctuaries and other measures such as euthanasia, if required, as a result of the phase-out of intensive tiger operations.
  • According to the report, the parties specifically urged Thailand and Vietnam to identify any specimens of tigers referable to the mainland Southeast Asian lineage and encourage facilities to engage in coordinated conservation breeding for these animals and other appropriate actions.

Prelims PYQ

Q. With reference to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which of the following statements is/are correct?   (UPSC 2015)

1) IUCN is an organ of the United Nations and CITES is an international agreement between governments

2) IUCN runs thousands of field projects around the world to better manage natural environments.

3) CITES is legally binding on the States that have joined it, but this Convention does not take the place of national laws.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

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