UPSC PRELIMS 2020 : 18th CoP of CITES, Geneva

18th CoP of CITES, Geneva

Topic : 18th CoP of CITES, Geneva

Topic in Syllabus: Ecology & Environment



18th CoP of CITES, Geneva

Over a hundred nations approved a proposal by India, Nepal, and Bangladesh to prohibit commercial international trade in a species of otter native to the subcontinent and some other parts of Asia.

India’s proposal to remove Rosewood (Dalbergia sissoo) from Appendix II of Convention is also under consideration.


Indian proposals:

  • Members at the Conference have voted to move the smooth-coated otter (Lutrogaleperspicillata) from CITES Appendix II to CITES Appendix I because it is considered to be facing a high risk of extinction.
  • It is detrimentally affected by international trade, as well as habitat loss and degradation and persecution associated with conflict with people (and fisheries).
  • The other proposal that was passed was to include the Tokay gecko (Gekko gecko) in CITES Appendix II.
  • The proposal on protecting the Tokay gecko mentioned threats from hunting and collection for use in traditional medicine.
  • Apart from the smooth-coated otter, India had proposed Appendix I status for the small-clawed otter, mako shark (Isurusoxyrinchus), the Indian star tortoise (Geochelone elegans) and the Tokay gecko.



  • The CITES is as an international agreement aimed at ensuring “that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival”.
  • CITES was drafted after a resolution was adopted at a meeting of the members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 1963.
  • CITES entered into force on July 1, 1975, and now has 183 parties.
  • The Convention is legally binding on the Parties in the sense that they are committed to implementing it; however, it does not take the place of national laws.
  • India is a signatory to and has also ratified CITES convention in 1976.


CITES Appendices:

CITES works by subjecting international trade in specimens of selected species to certain controls.

All import, export, re-exports and introduction from the sea of species covered by the convention has to be authorized through a licensing system.

It has three appendices.

  • Appendix I include species threatened with extinction. Trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.
  • Appendix II provides a lower level of protection.
  • Appendix III contains species that are protected in at least one country, which has asked other CITES parties for assistance in controlling trade.


Sample Question:

The 18th meeting of Conference of the Parties (CoP18) of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was held at ?

a. Geneva, Switzerland

b. Beijing, China

c. Washington D.C., U.S

d. London, United Kingdom


Answer: a