WCO-CITES joint Online Workshop on Modern Customs Procedures for Improved Control of Trade in CITES-listed Species

18 December 2020

The World Customs Organization (WCO) and the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) co-organized an Online Workshop on Modern Customs Procedures for Improved Control of Trade in CITES-listed Species from 7 to 9 December 2020, funded by the European Union.

The event brought together some 200 representatives of the CITES Management Authorities and Customs administrations from over 30 countries. It was also attended by representatives of the CITES Standing Committee working group on electronic permitting and information technology, as well as selected resource persons of UN agencies, the private sector and academia.

The workshop sought to examine ways to improve the implementation of efficient and risk-based procedures for control of CITES-listed species, including through the automation of CITES permitting processes, and to identify possible gaps in relevant CITES Resolutions, in particular from the point of view of adapting the CITES permitting process to match the current range of trading practices.

The workshop allowed participants to witness the progress made in implementing automated permitting systems in countries across the world, including in the European Union, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sri Lanka and Peru. This highlighted the multiple advantages of electronic permitting systems and provided an opportunity to explore the potential of such systems for other Parties.

The event provided a platform for discussion, cooperation and exchange of good practices between all relevant stakeholders, and resulted in a better understanding of all actors’ roles and responsibilities in facilitating and overseeing the trade of CITES-protected species, keeping it legal, sustainable and traceable, while also contributing to effectively curbing illegal trade.

Ms. Ivonne Higuero, Secretary-General of the CITES Secretariat said: “It is critical that the CITES permitting system is continuously updated and that it evolves to take advantage of modern technologies that can bolster transparency and traceability throughout the process of facilitating authorized trade in listed species. We are strongly committed to supporting a closer collaboration between CITES Authorities and Customs agencies and officials at all levels to further simplify legal trade and prevent illegal trade.”

“Only through enhanced cooperation between Customs and CITES Management Authorities can illegal wildlife trade be mitigated in a sustainable and effective manner. Automation, new technologies and modern risk management techniques pave the way for improving the control of trade in CITES-listed species,” underlined the WCO Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya.