The 19th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES COP19) is taking place in Panama City, Panama. The Seventy-fifth meeting of the Standing Committee took place on Sunday 13 November 2022 and the rest of the programme will run from 14 to 25 November 2022.

WRSA will be attending the Conference as a member of the SUCo Observer delegation.

The SUCO CITES COP19 Delegation

From left to right: Stephen Palos (CHASA - CEO) Trevor Oertel (Ex Officio SAFA Exco) Richard York (WRSA - CEO) Dries van Coller (PHASA - CEO) Susan Swart (SATTA) Pieter Swart (SATTA - Chairman)

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is a voluntary international agreement between States and regional economic integration organizations.

States and organizations that have agreed to be bound by the Convention (‘joined’ CITES) are known as Parties.

“Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties – in other words they have to implement the Convention – it does not take the place of national laws. Rather 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.” (

“There are 184 Parties to CITES (including the European Union) which means the Convention has near universal acceptance and authority over the international trade in those threatened species included in its Appendices.” (

The aim of the Convention is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species.

Internationally, the diverse trade in wildlife, including live animals, plants and products derived from both, is estimated to be worth billions of dollars each year. Because the wildlife trade crosses international borders, the effort to regulate it requires international cooperation, leading to the creation of CITES.

At the CITES COP19 during November 2022, Parties can propose adding species to the CITES Appendices to ensure there is sustainable trade, propose removal of species from CITES appendices or request movement of a species between Appendix I or II.

Nearly 4,000 government officials, experts, representatives of trade organizations, NGOs and local, national, and international organizations that work in conservation, biodiversity and the environment representing the Parties will review the proposals and decide whether they support the proposal, suggest amendments, or oppose the proposal.