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Guidelines to "Non-Detriment Findings" available to support CITES implementation for plants

Voluntary guidelines have been produced to support CITES Scientific Authorities to implement the NDF processApril 2014 — New guidelines have been produced outlining straightforward steps for determining whether trade in a particular plant species is likely to be detrimental to its survival, a key requirement for countries before allowing export of their wildlife resources.

The new guidelines are aimed at helping government authorities decide whether a Non-Detriment Finding (NDF) can be issued and export permits granted to allow trade to proceed for a species listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This process affects a number of plants of commercial importance, which have been listed in Appendices to CITES as a protection measure.

Determining a robust NDF is one of the key challenges facing governments in implementing their obligations under CITES and some CITES Scientific Authorities have struggled to implement this rather complex process. In recent years there has been a focus on developing guidance for different taxa.

Now, thanks to funding provided by the German Government’s BfN and WWF Germany, new guidelines have been developed by TRAFFIC to assist CITES Scientific Authorities in determining NDFs for perennial plants.

The NDF guidelines lead the reader through a simple step-by-step process to determine whether a recommendation for trade to proceed or not is appropriate.

The voluntary plant NDF guidelines (PDF, 2 MB), associated guidance document (PDF, 2 MB) and worksheets (Doc, 1.6 MB) will be presented at a side event held during the CITES Plants Committee meeting next month in Mexico. Their development included testing and refinement following a workshop held in Viet Nam. TRAFFIC's experience in supporting the development and implementation of the FairWild Standard was also drawn upon in creating the NDF guidelines.

The existence of the plant NDF guidance documents will be highlighted at the forthcoming CITES Plants Committee, where CITES Scientific Authorities will be actively encouraged to put them into practice to test them. Feedback from users of the guidelines is welcomed, so that they can be further developed and their applicability improved to help achieve the goal of ensuring wildlife products are properly managed.

The guidelines for perennial plants are also being used to inform development of guidelines for other taxa, with an NDF guidance document for sharks already produced.

For more information, see the original story on TRAFFIC's website.