24 June 2014
Johannesburg, the economic heart of South Africa, has been named as the host of the next wildlife conference of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or Cites.
The 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) will take place from 24 September to 5 October 2016.
Cites secretary-general John E Scanlon said South Africa was a highly appropriate location for the CoP because of the frontline wildlife challenges the country faced.
Inspiration and history
“Africa is home to a vast array of Cites-listed species and South Africa is globally recognised for the Big Five,” he explained. “Holding the CoP in such surroundings should inspire all delegates. Cites parties and observers look forward to meeting in South Africa in 2016 for the world wildlife conference.”
He also noted that South Africa was one of the first countries to join Cites after it came into effect in 1975 and since then the country had been active in the work needed.
Botswana, Zimbabwe and Kenya have all hosted the conference previously.
Cites is a global treaty between 181 member states. Its mandate is to ensure that trade of wild animals and plants does not threaten the species’ survival.
Cites regulates international trade in over 35 000 species of plants and animals, including their products and derivatives, ensuring their survival in the wild with benefits for the livelihoods of local people and the global environment, according to the organisation. “The Cites permit system seeks to ensure that international trade in listed species is sustainable, legal and traceable,” it says.
Poaching on the rise
There has been an increase in elephant and rhino poaching, which are killed or maimed for their tusks and horns in South Africa. According to government figures, 393 rhinos were killed by poachers between January and April this year, an increase of 18% over the same period a year previously.
Glad to have you
Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said: “We look forward to welcoming Cites parties and observers to our beautiful country.” She encouraged delegates to experience and embrace the country’s biodiversity, culture, and historic heritage.
Molewa also urged delegates to use the opportunity to engage in robust discussions and come up with resolutions that will take forward the work already under way regarding the trade in flora and fauna.