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Since 2004, the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP) has recognized that the implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) should take into account its potential impact on the livelihoods of communities.

At the sixteenth session of the CoP, held in Bangkok in 2013, the parties recognized that the Convention could be better implemented if it incorporated the participation of communities, particularly those whose livelihoods traditionally depend on species that are included in the Appendices of CITES. To date, there are two CoP Resolutions that address this issue: Resolution Conf. 8.3 (Rev. CoP13) recognizes the potential benefits of trade in wildlife, and Resolution Conf. 16.6 highlights the link between CITES listings and livelihoods.

CITES is also directly related to attainment of The Sustainable Development Goal 14 LIFE BELOW WATER –  Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development  and Goal 15 (SDG 15) – LIFE ON LAND – Protect, Restore and Promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably managed forest, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

There are three ways in which the aforementioned can be carried out:
1. Make Assessments of CITES listed plants and animals based on participatory stakeholders appraisal methodologies at various community levels. These functions as a starting point for assessing the socio-economic effects of implementing CITES listings;
2. Propose Mitigation Activities and Solutions that may be employed to address the impacts resulting from listing species in CITES in the Country and sustainable use measures that attempt to address the findings of the participatory stakeholders appraisals carried out; and
3. Provide Education, Training and Awareness on Wildlife Resources, Endangered Species and benefits of CITES to attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially Goal 15, making use of all existing and future communication technologies.

CITES can be used a triple edged sword as it contains all the elements there in.

1. To achieve Conservation of Wild Animals and Plants and ensure they continue to exists in the Wild. It aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

2. For Sustainable Development Goals, Sustainable Utilization, Wealth creation for people, jobs, revenue for government, research opportunities, Business opportunities, tourism and ecotourism opportunities, improved livelihoods and community development

3. To fight and curb Illegal Wildlife Trade and Wildlife Trafficking.

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©Felix Abayomi

A trained CITES Expert.

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