China celebrates 30 years of CITES membership
Beijing, China, 8th April 2011—China today celebrated its 30th anniversary of joining CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), after it became the 63rd Party to do so, in 1981.
The important event was celebrated by an event in the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, involving representatives of 31 Ministries and Departments.
Speaking about the anniversary, John Scanlon, CITES Secretary-General, said: “Our common goal is to save species at risk of imminent extinction by making them subject to particularly strict regulation, and to ensure that international trade in biodiversity remains legal, sustainable and traceable.
“I would like to congratulate and thank the Chinese CITES authorities for their substantial ongoing efforts to address these universal goals, particularly in the fields of national legislation, law enforcement, scientific research, capacity building and public awareness.”
Representatives from two non-governmental organizations—TRAFFIC and WWF—also attended the anniversary event.
“TRAFFIC was honoured to be invited to the celebrations, which coincide with the tenth anniversary of TRAFFIC’s formal presence in China under the auspices of WWF’s China Programme Office,” said Steven Broad, Executive Director of TRAFFIC International.
“During that time, we have been working closely with the Chinese government in support of their efforts to ensure that wildlife trade is sustainable and to prevent illegal trade and we have a shared commitment to continue assisting the Chinese authorities in capacity building, trade monitoring and public awareness campaigns.”
The rapid economic development experienced by China in recent years has created new challenges and opportunities for the conservation and sustainable use of wild animals and plants, such as snakes, crocodiles, ginseng, tropical timber species, turtles, seahorses and other marine species.
China has taken significant domestic measures to meet those challenges and the resources it devotes to the implementation of CITES trade regulations are significant. Its 130 full-time staff and 22 branch offices in mainland China, in addition to the offices in the Special Administrative Regions, makes China’s CITES Authority one of the largest in the world.
“The Chinese Government has paid great attention to the conservation of wild fauna and flora. Entering into a new century, we have made a huge investment in ecological development programmes, including the Natural Forest Protection Programme and the Wildlife Protection Programme, which have effectively restored forest ecosystems and recovered protected wild fauna and flora,” said Minister Jia Zhibang, State Forestry Administration.
Recent examples of China’s high-political commitment to CITES include an international workshop on the conservation and sustainable use of the Saiga antelope hosted by China last September, and the attendance of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao at the International Tiger Forum last November in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Next week, China will host the first major international workshop on the conservation and management of and trade in Asian snakes.