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CITES and CMS − Environment



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  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
  • Also known as the Washington Convention.
  • It is a multilateral treaty to protect endangered plants and animals from the threats of international trade. 
  • It was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). 
  • The convention was opened for signature in 1973 and CITES entered into force on 1 July 1975.
  • Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties, it does not take the place of national laws.
  • Although CITES is legally binding on States it is generally not self-executing. 
  • This means that it cannot be fully implemented until specific domestic measures have been adopted for that purpose. 
  • It is therefore essential that CITES Parties have legislation in place allowing them to implement and enforce all aspects of the Convention.
  • Hence, it provides a framework to be respected by each Party, which has to adopt its own domestic legislation to ensure that CITES is implemented at the national level.

World Wildlife Day

  • World Wildlife Day has been celebrated every year on the 3rd of March since 2013.
  • The date chosen coincides with the day of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) which was signed in 1973.

CITES – Appendices

Appendix I

  • It lists species that are the most endangered among CITES-listed animals and plants.
  • They are threatened with extinction and CITES prohibits international trade in specimens of these species except when the purpose of the import is not commercial, for instance for scientific research.

Appendix II

  • It lists species that are not necessarily now threatened with extinction but that may become so unless trade is closely controlled.
  • Most CITES species are listed in this Appendix. 
  • International trade in specimens of Appendix-II species may be authorized by the granting of an export permit or re-export certificate.
  • No import permit is necessary for these species under CITES (although a permit is needed in some countries that have taken stricter measures than CITES requires).

Appendix III

  • It is a list of species included at the request of a Party that already regulates trade in the species and that needs the cooperation of other countries to prevent unsustainable or illegal exploitation.


  • Every three years, the Conference of the Parties meets to review the implementation of the Convention.


  • Recently, CITES COP 19 was held in Panama City.
  • India hosted the 3rd CoP in 1981 in New Delhi.
  • India’s Shisham is included in Appendix II of the convention, thereby requiring to follow of CITES regulations for the trade of the species.
  • However, relief was provided by easing the CITES rules for export of Dalbergia sissoo-based products. 
  • This is expected to boost Indian handicraft exports.
  • The Conference has accepted a proposal to include sea cucumbers in Appendix II of the Convention.
  • India’s proposal for induction of fresh water turtle Batagur kachuga (Red-crowned roofed turtle) earned wide support of the parties in CoP 19 of CITES. (Appendix II to Appendix I)


  • Dalbergia sissoo is commonly known as North Indian Rosewood or Shisham. 
  • It is a fast-growing, hardy, deciduous rosewood tree native to the Indian subcontinent and southern Iran. 
  • It is native to the foothills of the Himalayas. 
  • After sustained deliberations by Indian representatives, it was agreed upon that any number of Dalbergia sissoo timber-based items can be exported as a single consignment in a shipment without CITES permits if the weight of each individual item of this consignment is less than 10 kg. 
  • Further, it was agreed that for net weight of each item only timber will be considered and any other item used in the product like metal etc. will be ignored. 
  • This is a great relief for the Indian artisans and furniture industry.

Sea cucumbers

  • Sea cucumbers are marine invertebrates that live on the seafloor found generally in tropical regions. 
  • They are an integral part of the coral ecosystem as one of the main by-products of the sea cucumbers’ digestion of sand is calcium carbonate and this is essential for the survival of the coral reefs.
  • Sea cucumbers were the most frequently trafficked marine species in India between 2015 and 2021, a new analysis by the Wildlife Conservation Society-India (WCS-India) has shown.
  • Tamil Nadu recorded the highest number of marine wildlife seizures during this period, the analysis added.
  • The state was followed by Maharashtra, Lakshadweep and Karnataka.

Red-Crowned Roofed Turtle

  • The red-crowned roofed turtle or Bengal roof turtle is a species of freshwater turtle endemic to South Asia.
  • It is native to India, Bangladesh and Nepal. 
  • Historically, the species was widespread in the Ganga River, both in India and Bangladesh.
  • It also occurs in the Brahmaputra basin.
  • Currently in India, the National Chambal River Gharial Sanctuary is the only area with a substantial population of the species.
  • IUCN Red List – Critically Endangered
  • CITES – Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 – Schedule I

Operation Turtshield

  • Launched by WCCB in collaboration with the West Bengal Forest Department, aimed at curbing smuggling and trading of protected species of turtles in parts of India.

Convention on Migratory Species (CMS)

  • The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, also known as the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) or the Bonn Convention, is an international agreement that aims to conserve migratory species throughout their ranges.
  • The agreement was signed under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme and is concerned with the conservation of wildlife and habitats on a global scale.

Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) – Appendices

  • Species Covered: The convention has two Appendices:
    • Appendix I lists migratory species that are endangered or threatened with extinction.
    • Appendix II lists migratory species which have an unfavourable conservation status and which require international agreements for their conservation and management.


  • Every three years, the Conference of the Parties meets to review the implementation of the Convention.


  • India hosted the 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) from 17th to 22nd February, 2020 at Gandhinagar in Gujarat.
  • The theme of CMS COP-13 is ‘Migratory species connect the planet and we welcome them home’.
  • The mascot for CMS COP-13 is ‘Gibi – The Great Indian Bustard’.
  • Uzbekistan will host the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties in October 2023.

CMS – India

  • India joined the Convention in 1983 and is currently a party to it.
  • India hosted the 13th CoP in 2020 in Gandhinagar.
  • India and CMS have signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the protection and management of Siberian Cranes (1998), Marine Turtles (2007), Dugongs (2008), and Raptors (2016).
  • The Central Asian Flyway, which spans regions between the Arctic and Indian Oceans and is home to at least 279 populations of 182 migratory waterbird species, passes across the Indian subcontinent (including 29 globally threatened species).


  • “Bonn Challenge” is a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030.
  • At COP 21 in 2015 in Paris, India joined the voluntary Bonn Challenge and pledged to bring into restoration 13 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2020, and an additional 8 million hectares by 2030.
  • India’s pledge is one of the largest in Asia.
  • In 2020, the World Economic Forum launched the One Trillion Trees Initiative.

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