CITES is a wonderful example of what can be achieved by the international community to deal with the loss of biodiversity, with the substantial increase in CITES membership over the years indicating international concern for conservation. There is no denying, however, that CITES has been a controversial treaty generating considerable debate about the conflicting goals of conservation and development. This is particularly so in developing countries. Despite its shortcomings, CITES is an important tool for conserving the world's rapidly diminishing biodiversity. It also provides invaluable information on global trade patterns for numerous threatened species. The ultimate success of CITES will depend on the willingness of all of the Parties to abide by the provisions of the Convention, and to ensure citizen compliance as well. It is also important to remember that CITES will not achieve the conservation of biodiversity on its own. Many other initiatives are needed, including strong domestic legislation and enforcement. Other international conventions like the Convention on Biological Diversity and the World Heritage Convention also have an important role to play in protecting the biodiversity of the planet. The author concludes thatw ithout CITES more of the world's endangered species would probably have vanished from the earth.
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