CITES Parties and observers meeting in Lyon ahead of the next World Wildlife Conference

CITES SC74 logoGeneva, 1 March 2022: One of the year’s most important meetings for the future of wildlife conservation is to take place in Lyon, France from 7 to 11 March.

The Standing Committee to CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) will be looking at pressing issues that include assistance to Parties to effectively comply with the Convention through its tools to avoid overexploitation of wild species, how to track and manage specimens produced through biotechnology, more concerted action against the illegal trade in endangered species, work done on reducing global demand for illegally traded animal and plant products and how to better enforce the Convention.

This, the seventy fourth meeting of the Standing Committee (SC74), will be also be considering the contribution that CITES could or should make to help reduce the risk of future zoonotic diseases – ones that can be transferred from animals to humans – that may be associated with international wildlife trade.

The Standing Committee gives policy guidance and recommendations to CITES and is holding its five-day meeting ahead of the meeting of the Conference of the Parties in November (CoP19), where all 184 Parties to the Convention will meet in Panama.  

CITES is an international, legally binding instrument that must be implemented and enforced by the 184 Parties (183 countries and the European Union) that have agreed to be bound by it. SC74 will be considering any measures that it may need to take to help Parties fulfil their obligations to the Convention. This could include trade suspensions for those that may not yet have put in place adequate legislation or carried out the scientific assessments required to authorize trade in listed species or who may be in violation of key provisions of the Convention that ensure trade in CITES-listed species is always sustainable, legal and traceable.

SC74 will also be looking at ways to better engage with indigenous people and local communities. CITES Parties have recognized that the implementation of CITES decisions are better achieved with the engagement of indigenous people and local communities, especially those which are traditionally dependent on CITES-listed species for their livelihoods.

In addition, a new study on the illegal trade in jaguars will be presented and issues related to tree species, elephants, rhinos, cheetahs, eels, totoaba, marine turtles, seahorses and pangolins will be discussed.

The recent meeting of the Task Force on the illegal trade in CITES-listed trees will report to SC74. More than 30 percent of the world’s tree species are at risk of extinction and international trade in more than 500 tree species is regulated under CITES. Progress can and must be made on implementing and enforcing CITES provisions. We risk losing more and more of the diversity of tree species, with the consequent threat to biodiversity and the ecosystems that sustain human beings, as well as the consequences for climate change.

The Chair of the Standing Committee, Carolina Caceres (Canada), highlighted the importance of the meeting, “I appreciate the efforts undertaken by all involved in making this meeting happen in Lyon and I am looking forward to working with Parties and observers on addressing the many important issues on the agenda of the Committee – it will be a critical milestone towards CoP19 in Panama in November of this year.” 

Ivonne Higuero, Secretary-General of CITES, said “the impressive agenda of the Standing Committee is a clear signal of the confidence that Parties and stakeholders are placing on the capacity and capability of the Convention and its entities to contribute to addressing the planetary biodiversity crisis; we are very excited to be able to meet in-person for the first time since CoP18 in Geneva in August 2019. “

Note to editors:

The CITES Secretariat can provide the contact details of experts to talk on any of the above issues, prior to the start of the Standing Committee meeting. The Secretariat will be providing updates on the discussions from Lyon and also able to provide specialists to talk about issues as they arise during the meeting.

For further information or interview requests, please contact: David Whitbourn at +41 79 477 0806 or [email protected]

For Media Accreditation to the meeting, please follow this link and apply as soon as possible


With 184 Parties, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) remains one of the world's most powerful tools for wildlife conservation through the regulation of trade. Thousands of species are internationally traded and used by people in their daily lives for food, health care, housing, tourist souvenirs, cosmetics or fashion.

CITES regulates international trade in over 38,000 species of plants and animals, including their products and derivatives, to ensure their survival in the wild with benefits for the livelihoods of local people and the global environment. The CITES permit system seeks to ensure that international trade in listed species is sustainable, legal and traceable and contributes to both the livelihoods of the communities that live closest to them and to national economies for a healthy planet and the prosperity of the people in support of UN Sustainable Development Goals.

CITES was signed in Washington D.C. on 3 March 1973 and entered into force on 1 July 1975.

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