BANGKOK, March 14 (Xinhua) -- The 16th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) ended its 12-day meeting at the Queen Sirikit National Conference Center in Bangkok on Thursday.
The convention took place from March 3 to 14, alongside with the first global meeting of wildlife enforcement networks in order to scale up regional enforcement capacity and coordination to respond to the serious threat posed by wildlife criminal networks.
The convention attenders comprises wildlife law enforcement officers from around the world, representatives from 10 wildlife enforcement networks operating within Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America.
The meeting of the wildlife enforcement networks is aiming at creating forums for the wildlife enforcement networks cooperate by sharing information on poaching and illicit trade activities and exchanging best practice techniques on combating wildlife and forest crime.
At the global meeting of wildlife enforcement networks, network representatives reflected on their experiences, learned about the tools from the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) and support available to them and discussed challenges to effective national, sub-regional and regional cooperation. Representatives of existing and emerging networks acknowledged the importance of increased collaboration to further enhance efforts to fight wildlife crime.
There was broad support for developing a "network" of wildlife enforcement networks or groups to improve communication between the networks, share best practices and lessons learned, and identify joint activities to help combat wildlife crime. Participants acknowledged the benefits of coming together for the event and encouraged future global meetings to continue the discussion on how to develop links between enforcement networks.
As wildlife law enforcers face more challenges due to the increasingly-organized nature of wildlife crime, the cooperation of wildlife law enforcement agencies at a national, sub-regional or regional level is even more important.
At the CITES, several issues were discussed, such as illegal lodging, ivory trading, protection of sharks and polar bears and the listing of several wildlife and plant trade protection.
Regarding the ivory, the CITES resolved that countries making large seizures of illegal ivory will be required to conduct DNA tests to determine the origin under new anti-trafficking measures adopted at the Cites conference. To better track the illicit commerce, a nation that makes a seizure of at least 500 kilograms of ivory should take samples and produce analysis within 90 days, according to a resolution adopted by 178 member countries of the CITES.
Moreover, five shark species have been put on a protection list to prevent them from being wiped out due to high demand for their fins.
The majority of the member countries voted to add the oceanic whitetip shark, porbeagle shark and three species of hammerhead sharks to Appendix II of Cites, which requires countries to regulate trade of a species by issuing export permits to ensure their sustainability in the wild. Failure to comply can result in sanctions.
As for lodging, CITES members agreed to restrict cross-border trade in ebony from Madagascar as well as rosewoods from the same island, as well as Southeast Asia and Central America.
During the conference, there was a specialist training for wildlife law enforcement officials across Asia. The training focused on specialized investigative techniques including controlled deliveries, information and intelligence management and tools such as anti-money laundering and asset recovery, that can be used by wildlife law enforcement officers to combat wildlife crime more effectively, and to ensure that wildlife criminals and the organized wildlife networks that are involved in the illegal trade are brought to justice.