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Proposed amendment would alter compliance requirements for illegally harvested timber species

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) held its regular global meeting Aug. 17–28 in Geneva, Switzerland. During this event, CITES considered amendments and proposals to increase or decrease protection for certain species, as well as other matters of protocol. One of the featured discussions involved the illegal trade in rosewood, a hardwood used in musical instruments and high-end furniture. According to an article in National Geographic, the trade in rosewood has an estimated value of more than USD 1 billion per year and is currently the “world’s most trafficked wild product by value or volume — more than ivory, rhino horn, and pangolin scales combined.”

CITES requirements cover some 35,000 species of plants and animals, and compliance with the trade measures is determined by the member states and their national laws. Non-compliance can result in several sanctions from CITES itself, as well as significant reputational damage to the countries involved. Fines and sanctions levied on organizations by specific national laws may also apply for certain species.

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