Class Year


Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

Spring 2010


This article examines the opportunities and challenges for protecting biodiversity of economically important species through inclusion in CITES, first providing an overview of CITES and its provisions for adding species to Appendices, including the revised listing criteria and the new role of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (“FAO”) in COP listing decisions. The next section will focus on COP-15 listing debates, procedural maneuvering, and votes, in the context of scientific evidence and listing proposals for the Atlantic bluefin tuna, several shark species, pink and red coral, and two timber species. Proposals to increase the possibilities for inclusion of commercially exploited species in CITES include measures to strengthen the CITES Secretariat, build coalitions, take livelihood concerns into consideration, amend the relationship between CITES and FAO, and increase responsibilities for importing countries. Finally, this article considers alternative actions for protecting threatened species from overexploitation through trade, such as through Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (“RFMOs”) or enacting unilateral trade bans justified under Article XX of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (“GATT”).