CITES ends, real work begins

Press release - 14 October, 2004
As the 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (1) drew to a close, Greenpeace congratulated the delegates on the major steps taken to regulate trade of commercially valuable species. According to Greenpeace the hard work is just beginning.

A group of Greenpeace activists hang a banner reading 'Don't Trade Away the Planet' from the Rama IX bridge in the Thai capital of Bangkok. The action was designed to encourage delegates at the CITES conference, which closes in Bangkok today, to actively implement and enforce the positive decisions that were taken at the convention. Greenpeace has emphasised the need to end unregulated trade in endangered species.

"The delegates go home today with a very long homework list. They must immediately begin implementing and enforcing the decisions taken here during these last two weeks," said Nathalie Rey of Greenpeace. "The task is great but the goodwill shown by parties here this week should be translated into real and tangible work back home."

Greenpeace activists displayed a banner off the Rama IX bridge in Bangkok, with the reminder to delegates: "Don't trade away the planet". Six climbers scaled down the side of the 50 metre high bridge and extended the 30 metre banner early this morning.

Meanwhile back at the convention centre where the last day of the CITES meeting was taking place, an intense lobbying drive by the Government of Japan to overturn a decision made by CITES just 48 hours ago failed. CITES maintained its decision to keep minke whales on Appendix 1, its highest level of protection.

In Spain yesterday, authorities seized 33 tonnes of rosewood, a tree species currently listed on Appendix I of CITES. "This capture serves to highlight the need for implementation and enforcement of CITES rules, "said Rey.

Greenpeace maintains that although the results of this meeting are viewed as quite positive and progressive, the task to resolve the biodiversity crisis is quite daunting. "There are hundreds ofplants and animals that are still under the real and imminent threat of disappearing due to rampant and unregulated trade. Governments must make sure that trade doesn't continue to decimate the planet's biodiversity," concluded Rey.

For further information:

Gina Sanchez, Greenpeace International, ++66 4089 4620

Notes: (1) CITES is the Convention on international trade of endangered species and was established to regulate and control trade in endangered species. It provides three regulatory options in the form of Appendices. Animals and plants listed under Appendix I are excluded from international commercial trade except in very special circumstances. Commercial trade is permitted for species listed under Appendix II but it is strictly controlled on the basis of CITES permits or certificates. Appendix III includes species that are protected within the borders of a member country.