Preparing for the 17th Meeting of the Conference of Parties to CITES

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is a treaty that protects species from becoming endangered or extinct because of international trade. A State or country that has agreed to implement the Convention is called a Party to CITES. Currently there are 181 Parties including the United States.

Every two to three years, a meeting of the Conference of the Parties is held to review, discuss, and negotiate changes in the implementation of CITES, including changes in protections for certain species. The 17th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) to CITES will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from September 24 – October 5, 2016.

OPEN PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD: On December 4, 2015, the Service will publish a Federal Register notice requesting feedback on resolutions, decisions and agenda items under consideration for submission to CoP17.

An extended version of this notice describes each recommended action, as well as those developed internally, and explains the rationale for United States' current thinking and tentative positions.

To provide comments, please go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at In the search box, enter FWS-HQ-IA-2014-0018-1208 (the docket number for this notice). You may submit a comment by clicking on “Comment Now!” The Service will review and consider all comments received on or before February 2, 2016 before making a final decision on any action. This notice also provides information on how non-governmental organizations based in the United States can attend CoP17 as observers. Please refer to the news release for more information.

Species proposals review: What's the current status? On August 26, 2015, the Service published a Federal Register notice requesting feedback on certain species proposals under consideration for submission to CoP17. The comment period on this notice closed October 26, 2015. We are currently reviewing comments received.

How can I contribute information or ideas for CITES CoP17?

We’re committed to conducting an open and transparent process as we prepare for CoP17 that considers the interests of the public, stakeholders, other federal agencies, and Congress.  We will publish a series of Federal Register notices to solicit public input on the development of U.S. proposals, documents, and negotiating positions for CoP17. This process helps us to develop robust proposals and positions by taking into account a wide variety of views and anticipating potential implementation and enforcement challenges. To learn more about this process, read our Preparing for the 17th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES factsheet.

There are lots of ways to stay up to date on U.S. preparations for CoP17! Bookmark this page, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our email list.

Banner Credits: Orchid background: USFWS; Alligator: USFWS; Primate: Vanessa Woods; Pink Lady's Slipper orchid: Thomas Barnes/University of Kentucky; Paddlefish: Tennessee Aquarium