Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Service Seeks Public Input on Effective Implementation of CITES

December 3, 2015


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) seeks public comments on resolutions, decisions and agenda items being considered for submission to the world’s largest and most influential meeting on international wildlife trade – the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CoP17 will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, Sept. 24 through Oct. 5, 2016.

“We encourage the public to participate by submitting comments and information in response to this Federal Register notice, contributing to the Service’s long history of open and transparent implementation of CITES in the United States,” said Bryan Arroyo, the Service’s Assistant Director for International Affairs. “Together, we can ensure international trade does not threaten the survival of imperiled wild animals and plants.”

CITES is an international agreement initiated in 1973 and ratified by 180 nations and the European Union to protect certain wild animals and plants against over-exploitation as a result of international trade. More than 35,000 species of animals and plants benefit from CITES protection. Every two to three years, a CoP is held to review, discuss and decide on changes to the implementation of CITES, including changes to protections for certain species.

As a member country, or “Party,” to CITES, the United States may submit proposals on ways to improve the effectiveness of the treaty for consideration at a CoP. The proposed resolutions, decisions and agenda items in this  Federal Register notice cover a broad spectrum of procedural, enforcement and administrative matters related to the implementation of CITES. Each recommendation is classified as either “likely,” “undecided” or “unlikely,” based on the United States’ tentative position on each issue.

As the Service continues its evaluation, additional information, particularly on those items listed as “undecided,” will be especially helpful. Resolutions, decisions and agenda items the Service is considering but remains “undecided” on include a document related to CITES implementation for specimens obtained via sport hunting, a document calling on CITES parties to implement the resolution on frequent cross-border movement of musical instruments, and a proposal to support mandatory annual reporting of illegally traded CITES-listed species.

Before making final decisions on documents for submission, the Service will take into account all comments that are received. In April 2016, approximately 150 days before the start of CoP17, the Service will submit final U.S. resolutions, decisions and agenda items to the CITES Secretariat.

The Federal Register notice is available at . The notice will publish in the Federal Register Dec.4, 2015, at which time, a complete list of proposed resolutions, decisions and agenda items, details on each proposed action, and an explanation of the rationale for the tentative U.S. position will be available at .

Written comments and information concerning this notice can be submitted by one of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal:  Follow the instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS-HQ-IA-2014-0018.
  • U.S. mail or hand-delivery:  Public Comments Processing, Attn:  FWS-HQ-IA-2014-0018; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 5275 Leesburg Pike, MS:  PDM; Falls Church, VA  22041-3803.

Comments must be received on or before Feb. 2, 2016. The Service will post all comments on This generally means the agency will post any personal information provided through the process. The Service is not able to accept email or faxes.

In addition, representatives from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) technically qualified in the protection, conservation or management of wild plants and animals may request approval to attend CoP17 as non-voting observers. For complete guidance on how to apply as an observer to CoP17, please refer to the Federal Register notice.

To learn more about the United States preparations for CITES CoP17, visit:

To learn more about the Service’s involvement in CITES, visit:

Information contained in older news items may be outdated. These materials are made available as historical archival information only. Individual contacts have been replaced with general External Affairs office information. No other updates have been made to the information and we do not guarantee current accuracy or completeness.

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