Conservation Policy

Advising government and stakeholders on the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Ensuring Kew’s own work is carried out in line with these international conventions.

White snowdrops - Galanthus nivalis

Team leads: Dr Carly Cowell and China Williams


As the UK CITES Scientific Authority for Flora we provide scientific advice to Defra and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). We conduct non-detriment findings and research in support of sustainable trade of wild species and attend CITES meetings such as the Conference of the Parties and the Plants Committees. We also review, amend and maintain species checklists and resources approved at the Conference of the Parties. Our work contributes to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15.7 : to take urgent action to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna and address both demand and supply of illegal wildlife products). 


We provide evidence to Defra to support the UK’s implementation of the CBD and attend international meetings often as part of the UK delegation. At Kew internally, we have developed processes to ensure plant material is acquired and used in accordance with national and international laws and policies including those to implement the CBD and its Nagoya Protocol, as well as CITES. We coordinate the overseas fieldwork process ensuring staff collect plants legally, monitor use, and share benefits fairly with our partners. Our role includes negotiating agreements with international collaborators to cover the legal collection and transfer of plant material and to ensure that the benefits from the research are shared fairly. This work directly contributes to SDG 15.6: to promote fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilisation of genetic resources and promote appropriate access to such resources, as internationally agreed

We provide bespoke training and guidance on policy related matters to Kew staff and external stakeholders.


Team members

Senior science officer (CITES)

Dr Carly Cowell

Senior science officer (CBD)

China Williams

Science officers (CITES)

Sonia Dhanda
David Whitehead
Leigh-Anne Bullough
Emma Williams
Jess Grey



  • Harnessing Technology to End the Illegal Trade in Succulent Plants