How Does Cites Work

The purpose of CITES can perhaps best be illustrated by quoting from the preamble to the Convention.

• Recognizing that wild fauna and flora in their many beautiful and varied forms are an irreplaceable part of the natural systems of the earth, which must be protected for this and for the generations to come;

• Conscious of the ever-growing value of wild fauna and flora from aesthetic, scientific, cultural, recreational and economic points of view;

• Recognizing that peoples and states are, and should be, the best protectors of their own wild fauna and flora.

Through CITES, sustainable trade in specimens of certain species is regulated, recognizing at the same time that countries have a right to exploit their natural resources or not to permit such exploitation should they so decide. The degree of protection afforded to a species by the Convention depends on the Appendix in which it is listed.


• Appendix I includes all those species of which trade in specimens of wild origin is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.

• Appendix II contains those species of which commercial or private trade in wild specimens is permitted as long as it is regulated to ensure that it is sustainable.

• Appendix III contains the species for which one country has asked other CITES signatories for assistance in their protection.

The inclusion of species in Appendices I and II requires a two-thirds majority decision of the countries that are party to CITES. The listing in Appendix III can be done by an individual country. No cacti or other succulents are listed in Appendix III; all cacti are included in Appendix I or II.

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