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UN/CEFACT standards strengthen control of trade in endangered species

UN/CEFACT standards strengthen control of trade in endangered species

Wildlife elephants

Between 1999 and 2018, nearly 6,000 different species of illegally-traded fauna and flora were seized worldwide. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) aims at ensuring sustainable livelihoods and protecting ecosystem. CITES provides protection to over 36,000 species of animals and plants.

UNECE plays an essential role in the sound implementation of CITES. UN/CEFACT recommendations and eBusiness standards provide key instruments to governments to oversee trade in species listed under CITES. UN/CEFACT standards also foster the application of latest information technologies and state of the art approaches for trade control and collaboration for sustainability of trade in wildlife. Ultimately, the exchange of electronic permits between Government agencies can help reduce documentary fraud, facilitate the control of trade in endangered species and provide improved statistical data for sustainability assessments.

On 5 – 7 May 2021 the 73rd meeting of the CITES Standing Committee discussed the ongoing work on electronic systems and information technologies to improve control of international trade in endangered species, combat illegal wildlife trade and support the sustainable use of wildlife controlled by the Convention.

The meeting reviewed progress in the collaboration between UNECE, CITES and ESCAP, documented the concrete outcome and impact of this cooperation, and paved the way for next steps.

  • Guide for the electronic Exchange of electronic CITES permits. Prepared jointly by UNECE and CITES, this guide provides Parties with a set of standards and recommendations for the implementation of electronic permits exchanges. The Committee now considers recommending the inclusion of these guidelines into the CITES Resolution on Permits and Certificates to be taken by the 19th meeting of the Conference of Parties (CoP19).
  • Task Force on Pilots for electronic CITES permit exchange. Established jointly by UNECE and ESCAP, this task force provides a unique platform for Government agencies to exchange information on preparing and implementing projects on cross border exchange of electronic permits.
  • UN/CEFACT Recommendation 14 on the Authentication of Trade Documents. Prepared under the auspices of UNECE, the recommendation provides good practice for the electronic exchange of CITES permits. The Committee now considers recommending to CoP19 to include this recommendation into the Resolution on Permits and Certificates. This will give the recommendation a permanent character, which will simplify the migration from paper-based permits to use of electronic permits.

UNECE welcomes the outcomes of the 73rd meeting of CITES Standing Committee and will continue working closely with CITES Parties and the Secretariat on the use of UN/CEFACT standards for sustainable trade. This will support sustainable management of trade in endangered species and effective collaboration and collective efforts for all stakeholders.