CITES Effective… If Enforced

Does the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) protect wildlife? Yes, according to a study in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management (Heid & Márquez-Ramos, 2023)—so long as the convention’s rules are strictly enforced. Scientists from the University of Adelaide in Spain found that populations of species listed on CITES Appendix I (banning commercial trade) and Appendix II (restricting trade) increased by 22 percent within 6–10 years after listing and by 66 percent after 20 years in countries that strenuously enforce the convention. CITES-listed species were more likely to benefit in high-income countries, which, according to the authors, “may indicate a lack of funding for proper enforcement in low-income countries.” 

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