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(Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)

The word CITES is the acronym of "Convention on international trade in species of wild fauna and flora threatened with extinction". It is usually called, for short, "The Washington Convention".

The commercial exploitation, along with the destruction of the natural environment made by man, is one of the main causes of extinction for a large amount of plant and animal species; so, the governments of almost all countries of the world have found an international agreement (signed in 1960 and entered into force in 1975) in order to monitor, in fact, exchange for profit of animals and plants in danger.

CITES belongs to the activities of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and is now an integral part of the legal system of 175 countries in the world. The Convention lists animal and plant species at risk of extinction, and the list is updated on a periodic basis by a committee of biologists and researchers from around the world.

The species at risk of extinction taken into account in the CITES Appendices are divided into three Appendix:

Appendix I: contains the list of species subject to severe threat of extinction whose trade is strictly prohibited, except when being used for scientific research purposes.

Appendix II: contains the list of species whose trade is regulated and closely monitored in order to avoid any utilization incompatible with their survival. The specimens included in this appendix may be marketed only if accompanied by an appropriate paper.

Appendix III: contains the list of species reported by individual member states of the Convention in order to regulate trade and exports from their territories.

For more information visit the CITES website:

> (Home page)
> (Appendix I-II-III)

NEW: Notification of the Secretariat n. 2013/012 of 19/04/13. Amendments to Appendices I and II of the Convention adopted by the 16th Conference of the Parties, held in Thailand from 3 to 14/03/13. Into force for the States Parties to the Convention on Third Party since 12/06/13.



The European Union, because of its territorial extension and its level of modernization, is one of the most important markets of destination and exchange of goods, including animals and plants. The EU has therefore decided to implement CITES regulations by acquiring Regulations that, for certain species, are also more restrictive than CITES.

Those are the Regulation (CE) n. 338/97 of 09.12.96 amended and supplemented by Regulation (CE) n. 750/13 of the Commission of 29.07.13. In Europe, the species at risk are divided into four Annexes:

Annex A: includes the list of species included in Appendix I to CITES and for which no European state has advanced reservations, or all species threatened with extinction which are currently the subject of international trade. It also includes some species listed in Appendix II of CITES to which the EU member states have deemed it necessary to strengthen the protection measures.

Annex B: includes the list of species listed in Appendix II of CITES, except those listed in Annex A; further includes the species listed in Appendix I of CITES and for which at least one Member State has made a reservation. Additionally, it includes all species not included in the CITES Appendices I and II for which at least one Member State has requested monitoring the volume of international trade, as these may not be compatible with the protection of the population. In all cases, they are species whose introduction into the wild European does not constitute an ecological threat.

Annex C: includes a list of the species listed in CITES Appendix III other than those listed in Annexes A or B, for no member state has expressed reservations, also includes the species listed in Appendix II of CITES for which at least one member state had reservations.

Annex D: includes species that are not listed in Annexes A-B-C for which the volume of imports into the European Community requires some form of control, also includes the species listed in CITES Appendix III for which at least one Member State has made a reserve. .

For more information see the following documents:

> Regulation (CE) n.338/97 of 09/12/96
> Regulation (CE) n.750/13 of 29/07/13

ATTENTION: With the Implementing Regulation (UE) 578/2013 of 17/06/13 the European Commission has completely suspended the introduction into the Europe of specimens of certain species of wild fauna and flora.



In Italy the implementation of the Washington Convention is entrusted to various ministries: Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea, Ministry of Economic Development and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. In particular, the last one plays a key role, according to the current legislation, through "CITES Service" of the State Forestry Corps: it takes care of certificates issuing and technical-specialistic control for compliance with the Convention.

The Italian law D.M. 03/05/01 (Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry), subsequently replaced by D.M. 08/01/02, makes it mandatory to register of possession of specimens of species of animals and plants danger of extinction. The registry refers to specimens alive or dead, of animal and plant species and parts of plants and animals, including Annexes A and B to Regulation (EC) n. 338/97 of the Council of 09.12.96 and subsequent implementations and modifications.

For more information see the following documents:

> D.M. 08/01/02
> Explanatory circular for the D.M. 08/01/02






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