Review: 7 nations face sanctions over endangered species
The suspensions against the seven nations, Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Paraguay, Nepal, Rwanda, Solomon Islands and Syria were approved by consensus among the delegates and would take effect Oct. 1.
Delegations to the weeklong meeting of CITES, a treaty overseen by the U.N. Environment Program in Geneva, agreed to trade suspensions against Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Paraguay and Rwanda based on their lack of national laws for regulating the lucrative wildlife trade.
The Geneva meeting's attendees also agreed to trade suspensions against Guinea-Bissau, Nepal, Rwanda, Solomon Islands and Syria based on their failure to adequately report what they are doing to regulate wildlife trade, as they are required to do under the CITES treaty.
According to CITES, about 97 percent of the species it regulates are commercially traded for food, fuel, forest products, building materials, clothing, ornaments, health care, religious items, collections, trophy hunting and other sport. The other 3 percent are generally prohibited.
The delegates are expected to consider on Friday a more controversial topic: a call to resume the legal ivory trade as a way to stop the recent rise in elephant poaching in Africa. That proposal, put forward in a CITES-commissioned report, would set up a centralized system to allow for the sale of ivory from elephants that either died naturally or as a result of trophy hunting, or were considered a threat or culled for ecological reasons.
Experts rank wildlife smuggling among the top aims of criminal networks, along with drugs and human trafficking. Cites says wildlife crime remains poorly studied, but it says international estimates of the scale of illegal wildlife trade range from between $16 billion and $27 billion a year.