Seven nations may lose their ability to legally trade tens of thousands of wildlife species after U.N. conservation delegates agreed Thursday to penalize them for lacking tough regulations or failing to report on their wildlife trade.
The suspensions against the seven nations -- Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Paraguay, Nepal, Rwanda, Solomon Islands and Syria -- were approved by consensus among the delegates and would take effect Oct. 1.
They would prevent the countries from legally trading in any of the 35,000 species regulated by the 175-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, said Juan Carlos Vasquez, a spokesman for the U.N. office that administers the treaty.
Delegations to the weeklong meeting of CITES, a treaty overseen by the U.N. Environment Program in Geneva, agreed to trade suspensions against Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Paraguay and Rwanda based on their lack of national laws for regulating the lucrative wildlife trade.
The Geneva meeting's attendees also agreed to trade suspensions against Guinea-Bissau, Nepal, Rwanda, Solomon Islands and Syria based on their failure to adequately report what they are doing to regulate wildlife trade, as they are required to do under the CITES treaty.
To avoid the sanctions, and the prospect of losing millions of dollars in commerce, the seven must now draw up the required legislation or submit their missing annual reports to CITES by Oct. 1.
According to CITES, about 97 per cent of the species it regulates are commercially traded for food, fuel, forest products, building materials, clothing, ornaments, health care, religious items, collections, trophy hunting and other sport. The other 3 per cent are generally prohibited.
CITES estimates the regulated global wildlife trade is between $350 million and $530 million a year, or almost $2.2 billion over the five years from 2006 to 2010. During that time, logging of big leaf mahogany alone accounted for $168 million in trade. By volume, American black bears, South American grey foxes, Senegal parrots and Malaysian box turtles were among the most traded. More....