CITES Plants Committee to Address Increasing Trade in Tree Species at 26th Meeting

 The CITES Plants Committee is set to convene its 26th meeting in Geneva from June 5-9 to discuss the growing concern over the trade of plant species, particularly tree species. With over 34,000 plant species now regulated by CITES, including 800 tree species of commercial importance, the committee aims to develop a strategic approach focused on strengthening partnerships, securing resources for timely implementation of forest-related mandates, and introducing flagship initiatives to enhance the sustainability, legality, and traceability of international trade involving trees.

In recent years, there has been a steady increase in the inclusion of plant species, especially tree species, in the CITES Appendices. Currently, more than 34,000 plant species are subject to international trade regulations under CITES, with 800 of them being tree species. This growing trend highlights the need for effective measures to manage and monitor the trade in these species.

The upcoming meeting will focus on developing a strategic approach to address the challenges associated with CITES and forests. This approach aims to establish stronger partnerships with relevant organizations, secure resources for timely implementation of forest-related mandates, and introduce new flagship initiatives dedicated to improving the sustainability, legality, and traceability of the international trade of tree species.

The Plants Committee will contribute its technical and scientific expertise to upcoming projects covering a wide range of topics. These include the identification of timber in trade, artificial propagation of CITES-listed plant species, sustainability findings related to rosewoods and tuberous orchids, traceability of musical instruments, and the development of taxonomic lists for forest species in CITES. Experts will also exchange information and experiences concerning trade in aromatic or medicinal plants, Agarwood, Frankincense, and the linkages to the CITES Tree Species Programme for Neotropical and African tree species.

A significant aspect of the meeting will be the initiation of the Review of Significant Trade (RST), focusing on identifying problems and solutions related to the unsustainable levels of international trade in CITES-listed plant species. This review will include the examination of species such as African cherry and West African rosewood (Pterocarpus erinaceus), with an aim to ensure that future trade of these species is legal and sustainable.

The 26th meeting of the CITES Plants Committee will provide an opportunity for governments, observer organizations, and experts to convene and address the increasing trade of plant species, particularly tree species. Through strategic cooperation, strengthened partnerships, and focused initiatives, the committee aims to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of plant species, contributing to the significant biodiversity achievements of 2022.