UNCTAD in joint work on traceability system for snake skins

12 March 2013

UNCTAD and the secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) have held a roundtable meeting, with relevant experts, to prepare a platform for an international traceability system for snake skins.

PosterThe meeting took place on 12 March 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand, during the sixteenth meeting of the CITES Conference of the Parties, and brought together over 100 participants.

Mr. John Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES, gave the opening remarks, accompanied by Mr. David Morgan, Head of the CITES Scientific Unit, and Mr. Bonapas Onguglo, Head of UNCTAD's Trade, Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Branch.

The panellists included representatives of CITES, key range countries (Indonesia), and the private sector (PPR Group/Gucci), as well as an independent expert closely linked with Italian tanners. The event was moderated by the Chairman of the Working Group on Snakes and the CITES Management Authority in Switzerland. All speakers supported the need for traceability.

UNCTAD and CITES have been in extensive collaboration, based on a memorandum of understanding, to ensure sustainable and regulated trade in CITES-listed species. The UNCTAD/CITES roundtable supported the preparation of a "scoping study" on the design of a traceability system and sustainable sourcing of reptile skins.

The roundtable provided a platform for sharing information about preparation of the traceability scoping study, and helped to promote higher levels of confidence in effective sustainable management systems for trade in CITES-listed species.

The scoping study will cover (a) sustainability concerns, traceability, "tag" options, and other technological options; (b) compliance with standards and regulations; (c) available institutional frameworks; (d) the value of capacity-building, guidance and manuals on traceability; and (e) the need for increased engagement from the private sector and conservation organizations.

It will serve as the basis for further recommendations for the CITES Standing Committee on the topic, and for discussions within CITES's Animals Committee on the most appropriate traceability system for trade in snake skins.

The roundtable was staged with financial support from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) under the second phase of the UNCTAD BioTrade Facilitation Programme.