Romania holds first CITES training seminar
Cambridge, UK, 17 May 2007—Thirty enforcement officers from across Romania gathered for a CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna) training seminar, organised by TRAFFIC last week.
Since 1994, when Romania joined CITES, just three seizures of illegally traded CITES species have been made, whilst neighbouring countries have regularly stopped illegal shipments coming from or through Romania.
“The small number of cases of illegal wildlife trade detected in Romania indicate enforcement gaps in the EU’s external borders” said Stephanie von Meibom, Director of TRAFFIC Europe. “Control of wildlife trade into the EU is only as strong as its weakest border. Any gaps are quickly exploited by smugglers. It is essential that all 27 EU Member States have the capacity and expertise to tackle illegal wildlife trade and this workshop in an important first step in this process,” she added.
In 2006, a TRAFFIC report identified a lack of training for enforcement officers as an important gap in Romania’s implementation of the CITES treaty, hence the need for the workshop which was funded by Defra, UK, through the British Embassy in Bucharest and the Rufford Maurice Laing Foundation. Participants included Customs, Police, National Environmental Guard, Border Veterinary and Phytosanitary Offices, who were also trained in implementation of European Union (EU) Wildlife Trade Regulations, which Romania now has to implement, following its accession to the EU in January 2007.
Romania is an important exporter of caviar, acts as a transit point for wildlife and wildlife products coming into the EU from around the world, and is also home to a variety of CITES-listed species that are rare or extinct in Western Europe, including Brown Bear, Wolf, Saker Falcon and sturgeons.