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Policing International Trade in Endangered Species

The CITES Treaty and Compliance

By Rosalind Reeve
policinginternationaltradeinendangeredspecies

The convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is one of the oldest multilateral environmental agreements. Since it was established to prevent international trade in wild animals and plants from threatening their survival, an complex system has evolved to induce countries to comply with and enforce the treaty’s trade controls. This book presents the first definitive study of the CITES compliance system—a self-policing system which relies heavily on recommended trade suspensions to deal with non-compliance. It concludes that trade suspensions are effective, but identifies several weaknesses in the system. A strategy is advanced to address these weaknesses, drawing on lessons from other international compliance systems, and the potential for conflict between CITES trade restrictions and the WTO is analysed.

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