In the twenty years that the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has been in existence, Parties to the Convention continue to debate the issue of the inherent tension between conservation and trade. This debate has been further complicated by the advent of "sustainable use." At the 1992 Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (held in Kyoto, Japan), a select group of countries challenged, under the guise of sustainable use, the Convention's method for categorizing species according to the relative risks of extinction they face (the Berne Criteria). Parties charged that under the Berne Criteria, species that could withstand international trade were erroneously listed as endangered. Although unsuccessful in their attempts to modify the Berne Criteria, sustainable use proponents succeeded in continuing the debate such that the Berne Criteria will again be reviewed at the November 1994 Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to be held in Florida. This comment analyzes the debate over sustainable use of flora and fauna within CITES and addresses select resolutions adopted by the Parties to provide for the sustainable use of species that are endangered or threatened. The comment also focuses on the treatment of the African elephant under CITES and also examines the crocodilian trade as an example of the successes and failures of sustainable use.
Recommended CitationJohn L. Garrison, The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Debate over Sustainable Use , 12 Pace Envtl. L. Rev. 301 (1994)
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