SPREP Hosts CITES Meeting for the Pacific

7 March 2012: The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) hosted a meeting on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to discuss possible collaboration with CITES to develop model management plans for corals, dolphins and other marine life in the Pacific.

The meeting, which took place in Nadi, Fiji, on 5-7 March 2012, brought together representatives from 16 Pacific island countries to build their capacity in managing wildlife and regulating international trade in corals and other species protected by CITES.

SPREP declared CITES a key part of its strategic plan, and aims to increase the Pacific membership of CITES. Currently, ten countries are parties to the Convention. It also plans to complete training for Pacific Island country authorities to implement CITES.

Stuart Chape, SPREP Director of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management, underscored that the Pacific region has "one of the highest historic rates of species loss in a global context," stressing the need to strengthen regional and global linkages to support national action. Tom De Meulenaer, CITES Secretariat, highlighted the work conducted by the Oceania region to implement CITES. The meeting was organized by SPREP in collaboration with the CITES Secretariat, with funding from the European Commission. [SPREP Press Release]