Sri Lanka reaffirms wildlife protection ahead of global conference

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka’s tourism and wildlife minister reaffirmed to protect wildlife and end illegal trade of endangered species ahead of hosting the 18th conference of the parties (CoP) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in May and June.

“Sri Lanka’s resolve towards eradication of the menace of illegal trade of endangered species is well documented and we remain firmly committed to the protection of all species," Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said.

"As a marine and biological hotspot in the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka is proud to be only the second island nation to host CITES CoP," he said.

"The fact that the meeting in Sri Lanka is carbon sensitive also shows our commitment to the environment."

The CITES CoP conference in Colombo will bring in over 3,500 international delegates, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) said.

CITES regulates international trade in over 36,000 species of plants and animals, including their products and derivatives, to ensure their survival in the wild with benefits for the livelihoods of local people and the global environment.

The CITES permit system seeks to ensure that international trade in listed species is sustainable, legal, and traceable.

The conference will discuss key topics including enforcement, capacity building, and traceability as well as the conservation of, and trade in, elephants, rhinoceroses, big cats, sturgeons, and agar wood.

Sri Lanka will also be showcasing successes in conserving local plants and wildlife, SLTDA said.

This will be the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES in South Asia since CoP3 held in New Delhi, India in 1981. It will also be the second CoP to be held in an island country. (Colombo/Feb18/2019-SB)









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