Endangered species trade: background documents

The documents that are referred to below are essential for the understanding and proper implementation of the Convention.

Note: All links on this page point to the CITES Secretariat Website

Text of the Convention

The 25 articles of this document are the core of the Convention. They describe fundamental principles, the provisions for trade related to the Appendices, as well as the exemptions and the measures to be taken by the Parties, among other issues.

At each of its meetings, the Conference of the Parties (CoP) considers the effectiveness of the Convention as well as enforcement problems. The results of deliberations are in the form of recommendations that are recorded either in Resolutions or in Decisions of the Conference of the Parties.


The Resolutions provide interpretation to implement the Convention. The texts are periodically reviewed, amended and then adopted at each session of the Conference of the Parties, which takes place every three years. The Resolutions address specific issues (such as conservation of great apes) and provide recommendations or guidance.

Decisions of the Conference of the Parties

The Decisions of the CoP give instructions to the CITES Secretariat, specific committees, or the Parties, for work to be accomplished by the next CoP. Decisions are typically intended to remain in effect only for a short period of time, usually until a task has been completed. They are then deleted or amended at the next CoP.


The Secretariat communicates information to the Parties through Notifications. These contain information for the Parties such as the revised list of CITES-listed species (the Appendices), a change in export quotas, a change of address of a Management Authority, and so on. They are addressed to the Management Authorities, who are responsible for distributing the information at the national level.

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