18.125 - 18.128 Electronic systems and information technologies

Decision directed to
Decision directed to:
Parties are invited to:

a) consider the
eCITES Implementation Framework in regard to its potential usefulness in planning and implementing electronic CITES systems and report back on which information is useful to their own particular efforts and what additional support is needed to address other issues affecting implementation such as governance structure, technical capacity, and law enforcement restrictions;

b) call upon donor agencies to take note of the interest of those Management Authorities from developing countries to adopt automated, electronic permit solutions and to provide funding for the implementation of these solutions;

c) consider the implementation of electronic CITES systems in a manner designed to increase transparency and efficiency of the permit issuance and control process, to prevent use of fraudulent permits, and to provide quality data for improved sustainability assessment;

d) take note of the UNCTAD aCITES system (Electronic CITES Certification System) as a low cost, off-the-shelf solution that is now available to Parties for implementation;

e) if using electronic CITES systems:

i) consider UN/CEFACT Recommendation 14 on
Authentication of trade documents as good practice when implementing the electronic equivalent of signatures and seals for electronic CITES permitting systems and exchanges;

ii) authenticate each user who has access to the electronic system using username and passwords, and/or similar technologies, or both;

iii) ensure that electronic CITES systems keep an audit trail, i.e. keep electronic records (including, but not limited to, confirmation of transmission and receipt with associated time stamps and message headers) that enable the Management Authority to identify each person who requested, approved, processed, issued, endorsed, or altered electronic CITES permits and certificates;

iv) keep archives of audit trails for no fewer than five years after the expiry date of the permit or certificate, or no fewer than five years after the date that the trade was reported in the Party’s annual report, whichever is later;

v) provide the CITES Secretariat with copies of all valid electronic signatures it uses for issuance of permits and certificates in accordance with Article IX (4) of the Convention and paragraph 3 q) of Resolution Conf. 12.3 (Rev. CoP18) on
Permits and certificates;

vi) notify the Secretariat immediately when authenticated users are removed or no longer authenticated; and

vii) recognize that in electronic CITES systems that meet the above requirements i) - iv), the electronic equivalent of a physical signature and seal may be provided through the authenticated identification of any of the following individuals: the permit applicant; the official who issued or authorized the permit or certificate; the official who altered the permit or certificate; the issuing authority; and the inspecting official who endorsed the permit or certificate;

f) establish a systematic dialogue and ongoing collaboration between their Management Authorities and their national customs and border control agencies to implement an efficient, risk-based control system for international trade in CITES-listed species where possible and appropriate; and

g) provide information to the Secretariat on the state of automation of CITES permit processes and the implementation of control systems for international trade in CITES- listed species and share their lessons learned.
Decision directed to:
The Standing Committee and the Secretariat shall undertake the following tasks:

a) work with the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the International Trade Centre (ITC), the World Bank, the World Customs Organization (WCO), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other relevant partners, to continue the development of joint projects that would facilitate Parties’ access to electronic permitting services and their alignment to international trade standards and norms, such as the further development and implementation of the UNCTAD aCITES system;

b) work with all relevant partners on the development of standards and solutions for Electronic Permit Information eXchange (EPIX) for the exchange of CITES permits and certificates and to improve the validation of CITES permit data by CITES Management Authorities and customs officials;

c) work with the Secretariat of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs) and other relevant organizations to exchange information and experience on the efforts towards a harmonization of standards and procedures for licenses, permits and certificates frequently used in conjunction of cross-border trade in CITES-listed specimens;

d) monitor and advise on Parties’ work related to the development of traceability systems for specimens of CITES-listed species to facilitate their harmonization with CITES permits and certificates;

e) support the development of the capacity of Management Authorities, especially those with the greatest needs, to electronically collect, secure, maintain, and transmit data using systems compatible with those of the Secretariat and other Management Authorities; and

f) make recommendations, as necessary, for the revision of Resolution Conf. 12.3 (Rev. CoP18) on
Permits and certificates, Resolution Conf. 11.17 (Rev. CoP18) on National reports and the Guidelines for the preparation and submission of CITES annual reports distributed by the Secretariat.
Decision directed to:
The Secretariat shall, subject to the availability of external funding:
a) organize in collaboration with the World Customs Organization and other relevant partners an international workshop on modern customs procedures for improved control of trade in CITES-listed species to simplify compliant trade and combat against illegal trade in wildlife and prepare recommendations to the Standing Committee;
b) work with national and international organizations, such as the World Customs Organization (WCO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UN Regional Commissions, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Bank to support Parties in the implementation of efficient and risk-based procedures for control in CITES-listed species in relation to the automation of CITES permitting processes using information technologies and modern trade control procedures;
c) provide capacity-building and advisory services to support Parties interested in implementing electronic solutions for the management and control of CITES permits
and certificates and support Parties in establishing electronic permit systems and information exchanges;
d) work with relevant partners to explore emerging technologies including Blockchain related technologies for secure and efficient issuance, exchange and control of CITES permits and certificates; and
e) submit reports on activities undertaken under Decisions 18.125, 18.126 and 18.127 and make recommendations to the Standing Committee as appropriate.
Decision directed to:
The Standing Committee shall review the reports and recommendations of the Secretariat under Decision 18.127, paragraph e), and make recommendations on electronic systems and information technologies as required to the 19th meeting of the Conference of the Parties.