At the beginning of March each year we celebrate a particularly significant anniversary in the theme of nature conservation. The United Nations World Wildlife Day on the 3rd March 2023 will mark an additional date to remember: the 50th 'birthday' anniversary of the CITES, that is the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, dated 1973, as the outcome of a long debate started in the 1960's. This International agreement plays a pivotal role in ruling the commercial management of animal and plant specimens in view to avoid putting them at risk of survival. The market of thousands of animal and plant species is estimated to be quite flourishing making billions of dollars every year. This global business, largely unauthorised, also includes a wide range of products of wildlife animal or plant origin like handicraft, musical instruments and medicinal preparations. Thus, the uncontrolled human exploitation of fauna and flora is having disastrous impacts on biodiversity determining habitat loss up to cause specific extinction. CITES is currently committed to protect more than 37,000 living being species with the participation of UN agencies, private sector, philanthropies and non-governmental organisations.
Since 1987, the Principality of Monaco, notably the Gouvernement Princier (Prince's Government) represented by the Direction de l'Environnement (Environment Directorate), is at the side of the cause, having joined the Agreement and providing the active participation in the updating process of CITES Appendices about the level of protection of threatened wildlife. Monaco's strong commitment in nature safeguarding, shared by Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the Oceanographic Museum and Institute, is then reiterated through the constant engagement that is manifested in concrete actions.
Within the most recent CITES Conference of the Parties, held in Panama from the 14th until the 25th November 2022 (COP19), the parties conveyed a meaningful message by adopting a set of comprehensive stricter trade restrictions and bans for the safeguarding of wild fauna and flora, with special focus to marine species, reptiles, amphibians and tropical trees that were included in the global protection programme for the first time. Among them various types of sharks and some emblematic South American flora, notably the starting of negotiations to include the Brasil wood (Paubrasilia echinata), known as pernambuco, in the reference list. The COP19 kicked off fifty-two proposed amendments to Annexes I, II and III of the Convention and over ninety work documents to tackle various areas of interest. ***
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By Maurice Abbati
Springer International Publishing