(08 July 2015) – Today the EU becomes the 181st party to join the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The Convention covers more than 35 000 animal species and plants, ensuring that trade remains legal and sustainable.
Further to a public consultation launched in 2014, the European Commission services have started the preparatory work for an EU Action Plan against wildlife trafficking, for which the EU accession to CITES constitutes an important milestone.
Wildlife trafficking has reached unprecedented levels in recent years, becoming an important source of financing for transnational organised crime and the fourth largest illegal business in the world, after drugs, weapons and human trafficking.
Joining CITES makes the EU a stronger global actor. Now the priority is to strengthen the Convention and the fight against wildlife trafficking.
As well as covering exotic species, CITES also protects European species such as lynx, bears, wolves and eels.