International Agreement Sites

In addition to treaties, there are other, less formal international agreements. These include efforts such as the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and the G7 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Mass Destruction. Although the PSI has a “Declaration of Prohibition Principles” and the G7 Global Partnership, several G7 leaders` declarations, neither has a legally binding document, which sets out specific commitments and is signed or ratified by member states. Widely disseminated information on the threatened status of many prominent species, such as tigers and elephants, could make the need for such a convention obvious. But when ideas for CITES first appeared in the 1960s, the international debate over regulating trade in wild animals for nature protection was relatively new. In retrospect, the need for CITES is clear. Every year, international wildlife trade is estimated at billions of dollars and includes hundreds of millions of plant and animal samples. Trade is varied, ranging from living flora and fauna to a multitude of wildlife products, including food, exotic leather goods, wooden musical instruments, wood, tourist attractions and medicines. Exploitation of certain animal and plant species is high and trade in these species, as well as other factors such as habitat loss, is capable of severely depleting their populations and even bringing some species closer to extinction. Many species of wild animals in trade are not threatened, but the existence of an agreement guaranteeing the sustainability of trade is important to protect these resources for the future.

Treaties and other international agreements are written agreements between sovereign states (or between states and international organizations) subject to international law. The United States concludes more than 200 treaties and other international agreements each year. CITES is an international agreement that is voluntarily followed by States and regional economic integration organizations. States that have agreed to be bound by the Convention (“adherent” to CITES) are designated as Parties. . . .

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