The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is a legally binding international agreement that aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species. This Convention was adopted on 3 March 1973 in Washinghton, D.C, entered into force on 1 July 1975 and was ratified by France on 9 August 1978. CITES has 184 Parties.


All import, export, re-export and introduction from the sea of species covered by the Convention has to be authorized through a licensing system. Today, it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 37 000 species of animals and plants, whethter they are traded as live specimens, fur coats or dried herbs. 

The species covered by CITES are listed in three Appendices, according to the degree of protection they need. 

Appendix I includes species threatened with extinction. Trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.

Appendix II includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival.

Appendix III contains species that are protected in at least one country, which has asked other CITES Parties for assistance in controlling the trade. Changes to Appendix III follow a distinct procedure from changes to Appendices I and II, as each Party’s is entitled to make unilateral amendments to it.