CITES CoP17 is the 17th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The international wildlife trade conference has been held at regular intervals since its inception in 1973. The Treaty, to which 183 Parties are now signatory, came into force on 1 July 1975.

In 2016, Johannesburg, South Africa, will host the 17th Conference of the Parties. More than 3 500 delegates, representing member countries, Non-Governmental Organisations and interested parties, will attend the Conference from 24 September to 5 October 2016.

The acceptance of South Africa’s proposal to host the international wildlife trade convention was made at the end of the 16th CoP held in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2013.

This will be the fourth meeting of the CoP held on the African continent, and first on the Continent since 2000.

At CITES CoP17, Parties will consider more than 100 documents, of which 60 are proposals to amend the lists of species subject to CITES trade controls. This includes proposals submitted by South Africa.

The Conference will also deliberate on the role of CITES in securing the livelihoods of people living with wildlife and ensuring communities are considered in terms of interventions implemented in terms of this Convention. Also to be deliberated will be legal and sustainable wildlife trade and measures to tackle illicit wildlife trafficking.

African countries, through their participation in the Conference, have the potential to influence the negotiations and ensure that priorities such as the illegal wildlife trade are addressed.

CITES CoP17 affords South Africa an opportunity to showcase its rich biodiversity and successful sustainable use management practices, which has resulted in the country Africa being one of the leading conservation destinations in the world today.

South Africa will demonstrate its commitment to the sustainable utilisation of its natural resources in contributing to socio-economic development of poor and rural communities as part of the development agenda of government.

At the Ministerial meeting scheduled for 23 September 2016, the role of CITES in advancing Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals will be discussed in more detail.

South Africa will support proposals and working documents, which promote sustainable use of natural resources, provided they have a scientific basis and are aimed at securing the long term conservation of the species.