On June 15, the Secretariat of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) held a workshop on eCITES permit management in support of the implementation of the Convention in the Caribbean region.
The workshop aimed to raise awareness of the potential benefits of automated permitting systems, the increased transparency and control they can bring to the supply chain and the role they can play in the development of electronic risk management systems.
CARICOM has 15 Member States that are also Parties to CITES and the Caribbean region is extremely biodiverse and home to numerous species that are listed in the CITES Appendices. Delegates of nine CARICOM Member States attended the workshop, including representatives of CITES Management Authorities, Customs, forestry, fisheries and environment agencies.
Participants were briefed on efforts aimed at implementing systems for electronic permitting for CITES trade in other regions, and on the training, legislation and law enforcement efforts this entailed. They also discussed the status of the ASYCUDA projects in the Caribbean context, supported by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and how these illustrated reforms efforts in the region to automate customs and trade procedures.
With CARICOM’s coordination, participants provided feedback on their countries’ ability to implement electronic solutions. This will help establish the specific needs of individual CITES Parties in the Caribbean for the development of a simplified permit process that is compatible with the eCITES tool.
This is the latest step in a series of efforts aimed at supporting Caribbean Parties in their implementation of electronic solutions for CITES trade. This was initially discussed at a side-event organized by UNCTAD at the margins of the 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties, in 2019, which introduced eCITES to representatives of Caribbean States. The CITES Secretariat then co-hosted an informal meeting with Caribbean Parties in June 2020, confirming this process as a capacity-building priority for Parties in attendance and helping identify their needs to achieve it.
This joint workshop is part of a wider capacity-building project aimed at supporting African, Caribbean and Pacific countries in their efforts to address a number of challenges associated with implementing multilateral environment agreements such as CITES.