16 August 2019
Kew attending global wildlife conference
On 17 August, Kew attends the 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP18) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
The Conference of Parties (CoP) occurs every three years and is a major global event to control and maintain sustainable trade in some of the rarest and most endangered plant and animal species.
The CoP18 agenda will tackle key issues surrounding ivory markets, lions, rhinos, exotic pet trade, marine species and the illegal trade in timber. The meeting looks to review and strengthen current rules and species listings, as well as assessing an extension of the standards to other threatened plant and animal species. This has implications for a wide range of people, including tourists, musicians, and businesses. In light of this, the UK Government has issued advice to help minimise disruption in the trade of protected animals and plants in the event of a ‘no deal’ EU exit.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) protects listed plants and animals from unsustainable exploitation in the wild, preventing and reversing the decline in biodiversity. Kew is the UK CITES Scientific Authority for plants, providing independent and impartial scientific advice to DEFRA. Kew has participated in the EU Plant and Timber working groups, developed briefing documents for the UK’s attendees and contributed to speaking notes for the negotiations on behalf of the EU.
Dr Carly Cowell and Sonia Dhanda from Kew's CITES team will be attending CoP18. They will be the UK leads on the discussions focussed on research, identification and regulations relating to CITES listed tree species Madagascan rosewoods and ebonies, medicinal plants, new source codes for plants in trade and a revised checklist for Orchid species.
In support of the work against illegal wildlife trade, the UK Government’s Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund has been open for applications, focused on flora, and will soon be supporting projects aimed at tackling the illegal trade in all plants for the first time.
"The decisions made at CITES CoP18 will aid in the protection of our natural resources from unsustainable trade, so that future generations can benefit from their beauty and uses. Kew’s expertise in botany and ethnobotany plays a major role in guiding these discussions" says Dr Carly Cowell, Senior Science Officer - Conservation Policy.