In about three months from today, the 183 Parties to CITES (182 countries + the European Union) will gather at the BMICH for the biggest wildlife conference in the world – the 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP18), to be held from May 23 to June 3, with the participation of over 3500 international delegates.
With 183 Parties, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) remains one of the world’s most powerful tools for wildlife conservation through the regulation of trade.
Thousands of species are internationally traded and used by people in their daily lives for food, healthcare, housing, tourist souvenirs, cosmetics or fashion.
CITES regulates international trade in over 36,000 species of plants and animals, including their products and derivatives, to ensure their survival in the wild with benefits for the livelihoods of local people and the global environment. The CITES permit system seeks to ensure that international trade in listed species is sustainable, legal and traceable.
The agenda of CoP18 is rich and diverse. Many issues are recurrent themes for the meetings of CITES Parties as they require their ongoing attention, such as enforcement, capacity building and traceability as well as the conservation of and trade in elephants, rhinoceroses, big cats, sturgeons or agar wood.
In hosting CoP18, Sri Lanka looks forward to showcase the world its unique and wonderful wildlife as well as
its many conservation successes.
This will be the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES in South Asia since CoP3 held in New Delhi, India in 1981. It will also be the second CoP to be held in an island country.
“Sri Lanka’s resolve towards eradication of the menace of illegal trade of endangered species is well documented and we remain firmly committed to the protection of all species. As a marine and biological hotspot in the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka is proud to be only the second island nation to host CITES CoP.
The fact that the meeting in Sri Lanka is carbon sensitive also shows our commitment to the environment.
We look forward to showcasing to the CoP participants our tourism assets, such as our wildlife parks that are home to thousands of elephants, our seas that are teeming with whales and dolphins, our forests that are home to many endangered species, our wetlands, mangroves, botanical gardens among our many other wonders,” Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christina Religious Affairs Minister John