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Johannesburg host meeting on wildlife protection across Africa

JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua) -- South Africa is making preparations to host an international meeting on wildlife protection in Africa, the government has said.

The 17th Conference of Parties (COP17) to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) will kick off in Johannesburg on September 24.

CITES CoP17 are expected to see countries debating the plight of the rhino, the threats being faced by the African elephant, pangolin and implementation issues, such as coordination of initiatives by Parties, according to the Department of Environmental Affairs.

CITES CoP17 will bring the global community together to tackle the world’s biggest wildlife challenges and opportunities.

"We are very proud to be part of CITES.

"It is body based on science and it is possible that if 181 countries were not members of CITES there could have been an extinction of several species without anyone noticing.

"So we are helping the world to preserve species that could be threatened," said Molewa.

On Thursday, the minister went on an inspection visit to the conference venue with CITES Secretary-General John E. Scanlon.

They were provided with an overview of the City of Johannesburg’s capability and ability to host CITES CoP17.

With 181 parties, CITES remains one of the world’s most powerful tools for biodiversity conservation through the regulation of trade in wild fauna and flora.

Thousands of species are internationally traded and used by people in their daily lives for food, housing, health care, ecotourism, cosmetics or fashion.

CITES regulates international trade in over 35,000 species of plants and animals, including their products and derivatives, ensuring their survival in the wild with benefits for the livelihoods of local people and the global environment.

The CITES permit system seeks to ensure that international trade in listed species is sustainable, legal and traceable.



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