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CITES at Its Best: CoP16 as a ‘Watershed Moment’ for the World's Wildlife


  • John E. Scanlon


The sixteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP16) has been hailed as a ‘watershed moment’ for the Convention, with key decisions being taken on capacity-building, enforcement, financing and synergies. Significant decisions were also taken to bring many new species of precious fauna and flora, including commercially valuable timber and marine species, under the Convention. CITES parties demonstrated unprecedented levels of international cooperation at CoP16 to combat increased levels and types of wildlife crime, especially with regard to the poaching of African elephants for their ivory and rhinos for their horn. The great success of CoP16 reflects the increasing relevance of a four-decades-old convention to the conservation and sustainable use of wildlife.