UN Conference Approved Protections For Over 500 Species

    UN Conference Approved Protections For Over 500 Species
    Updated Nov 26, 2022
    Image credit: Getty Images [via BBC News]


    • On Friday, a UN World Wildlife Conference, known as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), enacted significant protections for over 500 of the world's most threatened species, including sharks, turtles, frogs, lizards, and songbirds.[1]
    • The commercial trade of more than 90 shark species — including requiem, bonnethead, hammerhead, and guitarfish — will be regulated under Appendix II, which will only allow trade if it doesn't hurt the species' survival. CITES also rejected a proposal to restart the ivory trade.[2]
    • However, the conference didn't enact a ban on commercial trade in rhinos, hippos, elephants, or leopards.[3]
    • The conference takes place every 2-3 years, with this latest one held in Panama from Nov. 14 - 25. It saw 52 proposals considered by its 184 members, with approved measures set to take effect on Feb. 23, 2023.[4]
    • CITES — in operation since 1975 — regulates international trade for more than 38k endangered species of animals and plants. Countries that don't follow its regulations face sanctions.[5]


    Narrative A

    As many species are teetering on the edge of mass extinction, actions such as those taken by CITES are crucial. This latest conference took several steps forward in animal conservation and provided an exemplary model of international cooperation during a time of conflict, pandemics, biodiversity collapse, and climate change.

    Narrative B

    While this conference undoubtedly saw a wide range of successes, it alarmingly disregarded the concerns of less influential countries, such as a proposal from West and Central African nations to protect hippos. With approximately one million animal and plant species at risk of being lost forever, it's disheartening to see world leaders select which nations' species are worthy of protection and which aren't.

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