THE ROLE OF THE SCIENTIFIC AUTHORITY IN CITES: HOT DEBATES

 

Theressa Frantz and John Donaldson

South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)

 

Abstract: South Africa is a Party to the 1973 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild Fauna and flora (CITES) which regulates international trade in species listed under the Convention. As a Party, South Africa is compelled to adopt and implement domestic legislation to give effect to the CITES Convention. In 2010 the CITES Regulations were promulgated, which facilitates the implementation of CITES provisions nationally. In addition, South Africa also has the Threatened or Protected Species (TOPS) Regulations under the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act (NEMBA). The NEMBA, CITES and TOPS Regulations make provision for the establishment of a national Scientific Authority. The Scientific Authority provides advice to the Minister on matters such as making non detriment findings, registration of captive breeding or artificial propagation facilities, species identification and nomenclature, amendments to species lists, applications for permits, and monitoring legal and illegal trade. The Scientific Authority also advises the Minister and the Management Authority on proposals being tabled at CITES. Some of the most recent and controversial proposals include the zero export quota on white rhino hunting trophies from South Africa and the listing of five commercially harvested shark species. These proposals stimulated much debate at the recent CITES Conference of the Parties (CoP) held in Thailand in March 2013.

 

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THE ROLE OF THE SCIENTIFIC AUTHORITY IN CITES: HOT DEBATES

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