1. What is IUCN?
  2. Limitation IUCN red-list
  3. What is CITES?
  4. How does CITES work?
  5. Appendix
  6. Criticism, limitation of CITES
    1. #1: No police of its own
    2. #2: Non-Native Species
    3. #3: Appendix are Counterproductive
    4. #4: Not Comprehensive
  7. Mock questions for CSAT

What is IUCN?

  • International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN)
  • also known as the World Conservation Union.
  • The IUCN is the world’s oldest global environmental organization. (WWF in 60s, UNEP in 70s, IPCC in 80s, Kyoto etc in 90s) Observe this Timeline
Timeline IUCN Red List

Click to Enlarge

  • IUCN includes both Nations and NGOs.
  • HQ=Gland, Switz.
  • The IUCN enjoys “observer status” at the United Nations General Assembly.

What is IUCN Red List?

  1. It is a system of classifying plants, animals etc on basis of their likelihood of extinction.
  2. This classification contains total 9 groups. Observe following chart.
IUCN Redlist

Taken From Encyclopedia Britannica

  1. Each year thousands of scientists around the world assess or reassess species. The IUCN Red List is subsequently updated. Latest updated list was released @RIO +20 summit.
  2. This list helps Governments and NGOs prioritize their efforts to save the particular plant, animal etc. For example more money and manpower should be spent on red species compared to orange or green species in the list. And the sale of red species products must be banned under CITES.
  3. The IUCN Red List has listed 132 species of plants and animals as Critically Endangered from India.

Limitation IUCN redlist

  • Red list/ Red Data book contains 9 groups.
  • 9th Group is NE (Not Evaluated) species, it also contain thousands of species.
  • It is likely that many of these species have become or are in the process of becoming extinct, but not receiving Government/NGO efforts and public funding because they’re in the 9th group.

What is CITES?

  • CITES= Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
  • CITES is an international agreement, brainchild of IUCN, Made in 70s.
  • HQ=Geneva, Switzerland. (Secretariat administered by UNEP.)
  • CITES aims to stop illicit trade of wildlife.

Why illegal trade of wildlife?

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 80 percent of the world’s population uses traditional medicines derived from animals and plants.
  • In traditional Chinese and Asian medicine systems the bones, tissues, blood of tigers, bears, elephants, rhinos etc= used to treat arthritis, impotence, Cancer and AIDS(!)
  • Rapid Growth of human population without rapid growth of education = increased demand for (stupid) medicines.
  • So, animals are hunted not only for their hides but also for their bodyparts, to make those (stupid) medicines.
  • Mobiles, Internet, online money transfer, faster modes of transports= good for illegal trade.
  • Experts believe this is a multibillion dollar industry just like narcotic drugs trade.
  • International cooperation is necessary because illegal wildlife trade involves involves import and export between countries.

How does CITES work?

  • CITES has no enforcement authority (i.e. doesn’t have its own police force or militia).
  • CITES classifies species into three categories Appendix I, II and III and regulates their trade via cooperation of various nations.
Appendix I
  • There are almost 1000 plant and animal species in this list.
  • Their trade =totally banned, unless exeptional situation.
Appendix II
  • Species that are not necessarily threatened, but will get threatened if their trade is not controlled.
  • Businessmen will need to get licence from relevant authorities to export such plants/ animals/their products.
  • The Government can give licence if it certain that that trade will not be harmful to the survival of the species in the wild
Appendix III
  • list of species included at the request of any one nation but needs the cooperation of other countries to prevent unsustainable or illegal exploitation.

What is Conference of Parties?

  • The countries that have ratified the CITES are called “parties”.
  • Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties, it does not take the place of national laws. Rather it provides a framework respected by each Party. So These parties have to do two things
  1. Make laws to regulate import and export of wildlife species.
  2. Establish licenseing authority for trade of wildlife species and their products.

These Parties meet @regular interval. Such meetings are called Conference of Parties (COP).

In COP, they contemplate about progress, achievement; need to update the species appendix etc.

Criticism, limitation of CITES

#1: No police of its own

  • CITES has no enforcement authority, but rather depends on the voluntary development of laws and enforcement procedures within each nation.
  • However, laws among nations vary greatly, and even when strong laws exist, many national authorities lack the resources, political will, or both to enforce them.
  • Many believe that CITES has become a battleground between developed nations, which typically promote bans on endangered species trade, and developing nations, which often seek such trade as a viable economic strategy.

#2: Non-Native Species

  • Confiscated endangered species in some countries have been released into nature preserves without adequate consideration of potential ecological impacts.
  • For example, Malayan pangolins, does not naturally occur in China, but have been released into China, where they can compete with native animals. (Non-Native Species)

#3: Appendix are Counterproductive

  • The inclusion of a species in Appendix I can drive up black-market prices for that species, encouraging more poaching and stockpiling of commodities, including rhinoceros horn, elephant ivory, and tiger bone.
  • Sometimes it is hard to distinguish parts of an endangered species from parts of a nonendangered species. For example, all bear gallbladders look to that of nonendangered animals as domestic pigs= problem in legit trading of domestic pigs’ bodyparts.

#4: Not Comprehensive

  • Major threats to endangered species come from deforestation, Habitat destruction, and other environmentally destructive policies.
  • But they’re are outside the scope of CITES.

Mock questions on Environment and Biodiversity

Q. What is the correct Chronological order (older to younger)?

  4. None of Above.

Q. Which of the following is correct about Red List of Endangered species?

  1. It is jointly prepared by IUCN and UNEP under UNFCCC.
  2. It classifies species in 3 categories only.
  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both
  4. None

Q. Which of the following is correct about CITES?

  1. It contains provisions to protect wildlife species from illegal trade, habitat destruction and climate change.
  2. It releases Red List of Endangered species with the help of IUCN.
  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both
  4. None

Descriptive questions:

  1. Steps taken by India, to stop illegal trade of wildlife. 10m
  2. What do you understand by the term CITES? What steps, apart from those mentioned in CITES, should be taken to protect the wildlife? 15m
  3. Name any three critically endangered species in India, according to the IUCN Red list. Enumerate the measures taken to protect them. 25m