South Africa participates in CITES CoP16

Event date: 
2013-03-03 (All day) to 2013-03-15 (All day)

CITES COP16 - South Africa's participation



Introduction and background


The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) aims to ensure that international trade in listed species of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival in the wild. The Conference of Parties meets every three years to consider amendments to the Appendices; to make recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the Convention; and to assess the implementation of the Convention. More than 70 proposals to amend the Appendices will be considered at the 16th meeting of the Conference of Parties and more than 70 working documents relating to strategic matters, implementation and enforcement matters will be discussed.


South Africa’s position


South Africa’s position will be informed by, and based on, sustainable use principles with the long term conservation of species as the overall objective. Proposals that will ensure responsible utilization and conservation of the species concerned will be supported by South Africa.


Important proposals to be considered by the CoP


Important proposals to be considered by the CoP include, among other proposals:

  • To list certain shark species in the Appendices of the Convention (Oceanic whitetip shark, Hammerhead sharks and Porbeagle shark);
  • A proposal by Kenya to place a zero export quota on the export of hunting trophies from South Africa and Swaziland, that will be opposed by both South Africa and Swaziland; and
  • A proposed amendment to the annotation to the African elephant listing to place restrictions on the submission of proposals to trade in ivory by African elephant range States.

Since all these proposals will be subject to negotiations during the CoP, South Africa’s positions relating to these cannot be made available at this point in time.


Side events at CITES CoP16


The national Department of Environmental Affairs hosted three rhino related side events on the margins of CITES CoP16 on rhino conservation; safety and security and rhino economics.

In addition South Africa participated in side events on Sustainable Livelihoods and  a UNEP GEF project aimed at ‘Strengthening Law Enforcement Capabilities to Combat Wildlife Crime for Conservation and Sustainable Use of Species in South Africa (target: Rhinoceros)’.

05 March 2013 – Rhino Conservation

Over 90 per cent of Africa’s white rhino and approximately 35% of Africa’s black rhino occur in South Africa. Rhino populations occur in formally proclaimed conservation areas as well as on private land, with the private sector contributing approximately 2.2 million hectares of land towards rhino conservation, with more than 4 000 rhino in private ownership. The populations occur throughout South Africa in all its provinces. South Africa developed a Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP) for the Black rhino, aimed at ensuring the long-term survival in nature of the species, and is in the process of developing a BMP for white rhino. Key elements are the maintenance of existing ranges, the promotion of long term genetic viability and the establishment of new viable populations. South Africa shared information relating to the status of its rhino populations and interventions implemented and planned to secure its long term survival.

06 March 2013 – Rhino Safety and Security

South Africa has seen an increase in the illegal killing of its rhinoceros population, especially the white rhino population in the Kruger National Park where 425 animals have been poached for its horns in 2012.  While it is clear that rhino poaching has increased, so too has the focus and activities of the South African security forces in attempts to protect the rhino. South Africa has implemented various measures to counter the slaughtering of its rhino population, but 2012 saw the greatest number of rhinoceros killed in a single year, i.e. 668. The side event at CITES CoP 16 was intended to show participants, attending the CoP, what South Africa has done in the fight against the illegal killing of rhino and illegal trade in rhino horn; and what additional measures are required to ensure the safety and security of our rhinoceros population.

07 March – Rhino Economics

The current annotation to the Appendix II listing of the white rhino populations of South Africa and Swaziland restricts trade to live specimens to appropriate and acceptable destinations and hunting trophies. A proposal to prohibit the export of hunting trophies until at least CoP 18 was submitted by a Party for consideration to the 16th CoP to CITES. This proposal was opposed by South Africa and Swaziland and it highlighted the need to have a discussion on the role of trade in the conservation of the species. During the side event presentations were made to elicit discussions relating to this important topic.

08 March – UNEP GEF DEA Project

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) is currently leading the development of the UNEP-GEF project ‘Strengthening Law Enforcement Capabilities to Combat Wildlife Crime for Conservation and Sustainable Use of Species in South Africa (target: Rhinoceros)’. The main aim of the GEF project is to improve the forensic and intelligence/information sharing capabilities of relevant groups to better control the recent upsurge in poaching of rhinoceros in South Africa’s protected area network, especially Kruger National Park. South Africa shared the information relating to the project with the CITES Parties and NGO community.

11 March – Sustainable Livelihoods

South Africa participated in the CITES and Livelihoods side event that reflected on the role international trade plays in terms of livelihoods of communities and the challenges and opportunities that it presents. The case study of the Tyhefu Traditional Council Aloe Project was presented by a community member of the project itself, Mr Mangwanandile Witness Mjoli.



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