CITES and Livelihoods

Rural communities in certain parts of the world depend heavily on species of wild animals and plants for their livelihoods. Parties to CITES recognize the potential impacts of CITES-listing decisions on the livelihoods of rural communities, noting inthe meantime that effective implementation of CITES decisions can form part of a strategy to provide sustainable livelihoods for rural communities, consistent with UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) [Resolution Conf. 16.6 (Rev. CoP17)].

To better assess potential positive and negative impacts of CITES listing decisions and enhance sustainable livelihoods and species conservation, CITES Parties created a working group with the mandate to develop tools for a sustainable implementation of CITES listings. The current focus is to identify how legal and sustainable trade contributes to both species conservation and livehlihoods of rural communities.

Resolutions, Decisions and Notifications to the Parties

Tools and Resources

  • CITES and Livelihoods Handbook
  Part I Part II  

A conservation journey

From Poachers to Heroes

In 2018, over 30 new case studies were collected from countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, North America and South America, including small island developing States such as the Solomon Islands. These case studies involve the sustainable use of a wide range of species, from mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish to corals and medicinal aromatic plants, and they were reviewed at a workshop in November 2018.

The following 10 case studies have been selected from the cases reviewed at the workshop and they were presented at a side event on the margins of CoP18. 

Decision 18.33 adopted at the 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties continues to call for new case studies on how legal and sustainable trade can support the conservation of wildlife and improvement of livelihoods of rural communities.

Notification to the Parties No. 2020/029 invites Parties to submit such case studies by using the standard template

Previous case studies

  • Crocodiles and livelihoods of rural communities
    • Study coordinated by the Organization of the American States (OAS) [Eng/Esp]
  • Shark listings and livelihoods of small scale fisheries 
    • Study coordinated by the Organization of the American States (OAS) [Eng/Esp]

Other resources


Heads of states wearing sashes made of vicuña wool at the APEC summit in 2016 in Peru.