The Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international treaty whose terms and conditions have been agreed to by 178 member nations.
CITES / Permit unit- responsible for the issue of permits, certificates for all CITES listed species and other permits under the Wildlife and National Parks Act of 1993.
CITES/ Permit Unit was established as a response to growing concerns that over-exploitation of wildlife through international trade was contributing to the rapid decline of many species of plants and animals around the world. The aim of CITES/ Permit is to ensure that international trade of wild animal and plant species does not threaten their survival. CITES parties regulate wildlife trade through controls and regulations on species listed in three appendices.
Appendix I list species endangered due to international trade, permitting such trade only in exceptional circumstances.
Appendix II species are those that may become endangered if their trade is not regulated, thus requiring controls aimed at preventing unsustainable use, maintaining ecosystems and preventing species from entering Appendix I.
Appendix III species are those subject to domestic regulation by a party requesting the cooperation of other parties to control international trade in that species.
In order to list a species in Appendix I or II, a party must submit a proposal for approval by the Conference of the Parties (CoP), supported by scientific and technical data on population and trade trends. The proposal must be adopted by a two-thirds majority of parties present and voting. As the trade impact on a species increases or decreases, the CoP decides whether or not it should be transferred or removed from the Appendices.
There are approximately 5,000 fauna species and 29,000 flora species protected under the three CITES Appendices. Parties regulate the international trade of CITES species through a system of permits and certificates that are required before specimens are imported, exported or introduced from the sea. Each party is required to adopt national legislation and to designate two national authorities, namely, a Management Authority responsible for issuing permits and certificates based on the advice of the second national body, the Scientific Authority. These national authorities also assist with CITES enforcement through cooperation with customs, police and other appropriate agencies. Parties maintain trade records that are forwarded annually to the CITES Secretariat, thus enabling the compilation of statistical information on the global volume of international trade in Appendix-listed species. The operational bodies of CITES include the SC and two scientific committees: the PC and AC. NPCS is the Management Authority of CITES.
The list of CITES listed species is available on the CITES website (http://www.cites.org) and the second schedule of the Wildlife (Amendment) regulations 2013. Conditions for the issue of permits and certificates involve questions with regard to whether or not trade as such, or a certain type of trade in a species, will be detrimental to its survival, the legal acquisition of specimens, the preparation for shipment of live specimens and, for Appendix- I species, whether the importer has suitable facilities to house and care for live specimens. Imports of Appendix- I specimens cannot take place if they are to be used for primarily commercial purposes.
1) The Convention provides for several conditioned exemptions from its provisions. They concern transit and transshipment, specimens acquired before the Convention became applicable to them, certain specimens that are personal or household effects, captive bred animals and artificially propagated plants, the exchange of specimens in the collection of scientists and scientific institutions and of captive bred or pre-Convention specimens held by traveling exhibitions.
The monitoring of trade is an essential tool for achieving the aims of the Convention. Scientific Authorities must monitor export permits granted for Appendix-II species as well as the actual export thereof and advise their Management Authorities of suitable measures to limit the issue of export permits whenever they determine that the export should be limited in order to maintain a species throughout its range at a level consistent with its role in the ecosystems in which it occurs and well above the level at which it might become eligible for inclusion in Appendix I.
2) A second important monitoring system is based on the trade records to be kept by all Parties and to be reported to the Secretariat on an annual basis. The annual reports of all Parties together should provide statistical information on the total volume of world trade in CITES species, which is an invaluable element for the assessment of their conservation status. These reports further reflect the performance of Parties regarding CITES implementation when all reported exports and re-exports are compared with all reported imports.
Thus it is important for the compilation of this annual report that the exporter return back to the CITES Management authority all duplicates duly stamped by customs and any unused permits
CITES legislation in Mauritius
The provisions of CITES has been incorporated in our national legislation through the Wildlife and National Parks Act (1993) and Wildlife regulations (1998). Permits are issued under section 17 of the Wildlife and National Parks Act (1993) dealing with trade in prescribed wildlife. More details about the conditions for the issue of permits are found sections 4 to 12 of the Wildlife regulations (1998). Those two pieces of legislation are being amended to make Mauritius more CITES compliant.