Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Public Input on Effective Implementation of CITES

Press Release
Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Public Input on Effective Implementation of CITES

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public comment on resolutions, decisions, and agenda items affecting the conservation and management of internationally protected endangered species being considered for submission to the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP16) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Resolutions, decisions and agenda items that the Service is considering for submittal include a proposal that would make it easier for musicians to cross international borders when traveling with their personal instruments containing wood and other materials from CITES-listed species; a proposal to issue retrospective permits for Appendix I species under certain limited circumstances; and a proposal to clarify permit requirements related to leopard trophies. 
CITES is an international agreement drafted in 1973 and since then ratified by 175 countries (referred to as “Parties”) to protect certain wild animals and plants against over-exploitation as a result of international trade. Approximately 34,000 species benefit from CITES protection.
Every two to three years, a meeting of the CoP – the world’s largest and most influential meeting on international wildlife trade – is held to review, discuss and negotiate changes in the implementation of CITES, including changes in protections for certain species. CoP16 is tentatively scheduled to be held in Bangkok, Thailand, March 3-15, 2013.
As a Party to CITES, the United States may submit documents on ways to improve the effectiveness of the treaty for consideration at a CoP. In our Federal Register notice of November 7, 2011, the Service requested information and recommendations from the public to aid the United States in developing resolutions, decisions, and agenda items to submit for consideration.
The proposed resolutions, decisions, and agenda items in today’s 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 “not likely,” based on the United States’ tentative position on each issue. This notice also provides information on how non-governmental organizations based in the United States can attend CoP16 as observers.
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–R9–IA–2011– 0087.
•U.S. mail or hand-delivery:  Public Comments Processing, Attn:  FWS–R9–IA–2011–0087; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
Comments must be received within 60 days, on or before August 20, 2012. 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.
Information for CoP16 Observers
Representatives from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) technically qualified in the protection, conservation, or management of wild plants and animals may request approval to attend CoP16 as non-voting observers. International NGOs may request approval directly from the CITES Secretariat.  Observers representing United States NGOs must follow a two-step process. First, approval must be obtained from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Management Authority. Once approval is granted, a United States NGO must register with the CITES Secretariat at least six weeks prior to the opening of CoP16 to participate as an observer.
A request to participate as an observer should include an explanation of technical qualifications of both the organization and the individual representative(s) in the protection, conservation, or management of wild plants and animals. The request should also include copies of the organization’s charter and/or bylaws, and a list of representatives it intends to send to CoP16. These requests should be sent to the Division of Management Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 212, Arlington, VA 22203, or via e-mail at:, or via fax at: 703-358-2298.  For complete guidance on how to apply as an observer to CoP16, please refer to the Federal Register notice.
To learn more about the United States preparations for CITES CoP16, visit: