For the first time since joining the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES) in 1976, India did not vote against a proposal seeking to re-open the ivory trade.
- The proposal, to allow a regular form of controlled trade in ivory from Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe, was defeated at the 19th meeting of the CITES (CoP19) in Panama City.
- India’s abstention — a break from its past stand — was in tune with what Namibia had asked for when it agreed to transfer cheetahs this summer.
About the ‘Ivory trade Ban’ –
- The ivory trade was globally banned in 1989 when all African elephant populations were put in CITES Appendix I.
- No trade is allowed in species listed in CITES Appendix I while trade is strictly regulated in those under Appendix II.
What is CITES?
- It is an international agreement to which States and regional economic integration organizations adhere voluntarily.
- It was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of IUCN (The World Conservation Union). It entered into force in July 1975.
- Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species.
- Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties – in other words they have to implement the Convention – it does not take the place of national laws.
- The CITES Secretariat is administered by UNEP and is located in Geneva, Switzerland. The Conference of the Parties to CITES is the supreme decision-making body of the Convention and comprises all its parties.