AHPA President Michael McGuffin participated as an observer for the private sector at the 23rd Meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Plants Committee held in Geneva, Switzerland last week.
CITES is an international agreement between more than 180 countries on requirements for international trade of certain plant and animal species. These requirements are aimed at ensuring that wildlife trade does not threaten the survival of various species. CITES recognizes that commercial trade in these plants and animals may benefit conservation and the livelihoods of local people.
"It is important for the herbal products industry to engage in this international process because herb companies sell products that contain plant species covered by CITES requirements," McGuffin said. "AHPA's participation helps inform the committee, which has maintained ongoing attention to medicinal plants for many years, and keeps the herbal products trade informed on current requirements for CITES compliance."
During the meeting, the Plants Committee addressed numerous topics of possible interest to the herbal products industry, including issues impacting a range of African tree species (e.g., Prunus africana (pygeum or African cherry) and East-African sandalwood); wild orchid management; and decisions to conduct reviews of significant international trade in Hoodia gordonii and Nardostachys grandiflora. In addition, much attention was focused on identification challenges for rosewood timber species (including Pterocarpus erinaceus, all species of Dalbergia, and three species of Guibourtia) and the very significant impact that the recent addition of these species to CITES Appendix II is having on the trade and international transport of many musical instruments.
"CITES Committees do extraordinary and critical work," said John E. Scanlon, CITES Secretary General. "This work brings sound science to CITES decisions makers, in support of well informed decisions."
The next meetings of the CITES Plants Committees will also be held in Geneva, in July 2018, with the CITES Standing Committee to meet in Geneva in late November, 2017.