CITESis the singles most important treaty protecting species at an international level.CITES stands for Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. It was established in 1973in association with theUnited Nations EnvironmentalProgram (UNEP). Currently, the treatyhas been ratified by more than 120 countries.CITES is headquartered in Switzerland.It establishes lists (known as Appendices) of species for which the international trade has to be regulated and monitored.Those nations which are affiliated agree to restrict the trade and destructive exploitation of these species. Appendix I includes approximately 675 animals and plants for which commercial trade is prohibited. Appendix II include approximately 3700 animals and 21,000 plants whose international trade is monitored and restricted.
International treaties such as CITES are implemented once the countries signed pass laws and enforce them. Once these laws have been passed within a country, police, wildlife inspectors, customs officials and other government agents can arrest and prosecute anyone who possesses or trades organisms which are listed by the treaty and seize them.
Member countries are required to have their own management and scientific authorities to comply with their CITES obligations.NGO's such as the IUCN, WWF, TRAFFIC network, and WCMC provide advice and assistance to the authorities.
The protection of biological diversity has to be addressed at many levels of government. Although the major control systems that exist today are based within individual countries, international trade agreements are becoming widely used to protect species and habitats. International cooperation is extremely important for many reasons. First, many species migrate across international boundaries; therefore, these species must be protected wherever they are at the time and the habitats they will occupy when they migrate. If a species is in…

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