CITES Secretariat


The CITES Secretariat is administered by UNEP and is located in Geneva, Switzerland. It has a pivotal role fundamental to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. The Secretariat distributes information mostly through meeting documents and notifications. Except in very few cases, all documents are made available in the three working languages of the Convention (English, French and Spanish) and are posted on the Convention website.

The Secretariat’s functions are laid down in Article XII of the text of the Convention. They include:

  • Playing a coordinating, advisory and servicing role in the working of the Convention
  • Assisting with communication and monitoring the implementation of the Convention to ensure that its provisions are respected
  • Organising meetings of the Conference of the Parties and of the permanent Committees at regular intervals and servicing those meetings 
  • Providing assistance in the fields of legislation, enforcement, science and training
  • Undertaking, under agreed programmes, occasional scientific and technical studies into issues affecting the implementation of the Convention
  • Making recommendations regarding the implementation of the Convention
  • Acting as the repository for the reports, sample permits and other information submitted by the Parties
  • Distributing information relevant to several or all Parties, for example, proposals to amend the Appendices, sample permits, information about enforcement problems, national legislation, reference material or news of a new Party
  • Issuing new editions of Appendices I, II and III, whenever there is a change, as well as of the Resolutions and Decisions adopted by the Conference of the Parties at its meetings, and information to assist identification of species listed in the Appendices
  • Preparing annual reports to the Parties on its own work and on the implementation of the Convention



International / Intergovernmental Organisation