Amazon countries join efforts against illegal wildlife trade

Geneva, 19 June 2012 – Efforts to reduce illegal and unsustainable international trade in wildlife gained new momentum through an innovative project among member States of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO). During the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, the CITES Secretariat and the Permanent Secretariat of ACTO concluded discussions on a project to regulate wildlife trade more effectively in the region. The project is aimed at assisting ACTO member States to develop electronic CITES permitting systems for the traceability of specimens of CITES –listed species in international trade. The exchange of technologies and expertise in the region is expected to enhance the ability of countries to reduce fraud and illegal international trade in wild animals and plants.

During the signing ceremony, CITES Secretary-General, Mr John E. Scanlon, stated that: “the development of electronic systems to better control international trade in CITES listed species helps to ensure their survival in the wild and to safeguard the livelihoods of local and indigenous communities dependent on their use. This project is also a very exciting and practical example of South-South cooperation, the importance of which is reflected in the outcomes of negotiations during Rio+20. ”

Ambassador Alejandro A. Gordillo, Secretary-General and Permanent Secretariat of the ACTO, speaking on the potential of the project, said that: “ACTO member States have a unique opportunity to share technologies to develop new systems to ensure that wildlife in the Amazon region is not threatened as a result of trade.  This project is also reflective of efforts by countries in the region to safeguard their wildlife through cooperation and joint work.”

The CITES Secretariat and the Permanent Secretariat of ACTO are thankful for the financial support received from the European Community and the Amazon Regional Program (DGIS/BMZ/GIZ). Information on CITES e-permitting systems is available on the CITES website at: http://www.cites.org.

Note to editors: For more information, please contact Juan Carlos Vasquez, Communication and Outreach Officer at +41 22 917 8156 or juan.vasquez@cites.org or Frida Montalvan, Communication Officer at frida.montalvan@otca.org.br  

About CITES

With 175 Member States, CITES remains one of the world's most powerful tools for biodiversity conservation through the regulation of trade in wild fauna and flora. CITES regulates international trade in close to 35,000 species of plants and animals, including their products and derivatives, ensuring their survival in the wild with benefits for the livelihoods of local people and the global environment. The CITES Permit System seeks to ensure that international trade in listed species is sustainable, legal and traceable.

CITES was adopted in Washington D.C. on 3 March 1973. The 40th anniversary of the Convention will be celebrated in March 2013 which coincides with the 16th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to be held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 3 to 15 March 2013.

About ACTO

The Amazon Cooperation Treaty (ACT), signed on July 1978 by Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela, is a legal instrument that recognizes the transboundary nature of the Amazon. The ACT reaffirms the Amazon countries’ sovereignty and encourages, institutionalizes and guides regional cooperation among them. It also foresees increased scientific and technological research, information exchange, natural resources use, freedom of navigation, preservation of cultural heritage, healthcare, creation of research centers, establishment of adequate transport and communication infrastructure, and enhanced tourism and trade along the borders. In 1995 the Amazon countries decided to institutionally strengthen the Amazon Cooperation Treaty by creating a Permanent Secretariat endowed with legal personality.

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