“By its very nature, transformative change can expect opposition from those with interests vested in the status quo, but such opposition can be overcome for the broader public good.”
IPBES, Global Assessment Report (2019)
At each of its meetings, the Conference of the Parties to CITES considers problems of implementation of the Convention and its effectiveness. The results of its deliberations are in the form of recommendations (Article XI, paragraph 3) that are recorded either in Resolutions or in Decisions of the Conference of the Parties. The Resolutions are generally intended to provide long-standing guidance over periods of many years.
The Resolutions include the guidance provided by the Conference of the Parties on how to interpret the provisions of the Convention but also include: the documents establishing the permanent committees; the budget and work programme of the Secretariat; rules for controlling the trade (such as issuing permits and marking specimens in trade); and the texts establishing long-term compliance processes.
The original draft of a diplomatic document, especially of the terms of a Treaty agreed to in conference and signed by the Parties.
There are three existing Protocols under UNTOC, which target specific areas and manifestations of organised crime: the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children; the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air; and the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition.
Party or Parties
A State or a Regional Economic Integration Organization that has consented to be bound by the Convention and for which the Convention is in force. The word ‘Party’ in this sense is always spelt with ‘p’ in upper-case.
The collaborative efforts of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally and globally, to attain optimal health for people, animals and our environment.
Source: One Health Initiative Task Force
Hard vs soft law
The term “soft law” is used to denote agreements, principles and declarations that are not legally binding.
“Hard law” refers generally to legal obligations that are binding on the Parties involved and which can be legally enforced before a court.
It is only the Convention text and its Appendices that is legally binding on Parties.
Resolutions and Decisions, although important for the evolution of the Convention, usually are not.
Source: European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights.
A framework convention or agreement describes a type of legally binding Treaty which establishes broader commitments for its parties and leaves the setting of specific targets either to subsequent more detailed agreements (usually called Protocols) or to national legislation.
Source: United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
An extraordinary CoP is convened when one third of Parties wish to propose changes to CITES during the interim between scheduled CoPs.
An agreement between the Parties typically containing instructions to a specific committee, Parties or the Secretariat. Decisions are typically intended to remain in effect for a short period only, usually until a particular task has been completed.
Many Decisions require a report to be submitted at the meeting of the Conference of the Parties following that at which they were adopted, and so would remain in effect from one meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the next. The list of Decisions is therefore revised by the Secretariat after each such meeting, in accordance with Resolution Conf. 4.6 (Rev. CoP18), paragraph 4 b), at which time it deletes the Decisions that are out of date.
The Parties to CITES are collectively referred to as the Conference of the Parties. Every two to three years, the Conference of the Parties meets to review the implementation of the Convention. These meetings last for about two weeks and are usually hosted by one of the Parties. The meetings are often referred to as ‘CoPs’. They provide the occasion for the Parties to:
An additional document not included in the main part of the Convention, compiled and executed after the main document, which contains additional terms, obligations or information.