CITES Assists Five Caribbean Countries with Legislative Reforms

CITESJuly 2013: The Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) announced that they undertook back-to-back legislative assistance missions to Dominica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago from 10-21 June 2013. The main outcome was the adoption of enabling legislation (but not implementing regulations) in Saint Lucia and the development of draft legislation (but not enactment) in the other four countries. The visits followed a request made by these countries during the sixteenth meeting of the CITES Conference of the Parties (CoP16).

The Secretariat discussed with CITES authorities key outcomes of CoP16, such as the listing of commercially valuable shark and manta ray species in Appendix II of the Convention. Under the CITES National Legislation Project, the legislation of the five countries was previously analyzed and found insufficient to fulfill the requirements that CITES Parties agreed are necessary for effective implementation of the Convention. The Secretariat thus met with relevant Permanent or Parliamentary Secretaries in each country; representatives of the CITES Management and Scientific Authorities; authorities responsible for parks and protected areas, agriculture and land management; the ministries of legal affairs or Attorneys General's Offices; enforcement authorities; and representatives of academia, local hunting associations, chambers of commerce and conservation NGOs.

The Secretariat also held a national workshop for reviewing and revising National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans, during which items such as the urgent need to enact legislation for effective implementation of the Convention and the potential for court challenges if the regulation of CITES trade is not based on proper legal authority were addressed. [CITES News]