JOHANNESBURG – The 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP17) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) currently under way at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg will have exhibitions and workshops open to members of the public for free from today to October 5.

CITES is an international agreement between governments which regulates international trade in wild fauna and flora. The objective of the convention is to ensure that international trade in species of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival and conservation.

“Levels of exploitation of some animal and plant species are high and the trade is capable of heavily depleting their populations and even bringing some species close to extinction. The existence of an agreement to ensure the sustainability of the trade is important in order to safeguard these resources for the future,” the environmental affairs department (DEA) said in a statement.

The exhibitions would showcase the work of various sectors in the wildlife economy. Exhibitors include the City of Johannesburg, the South African National Biodiversity Institute, Big Game Parks, Vietnam Rhino Horn Demand Reduction Campaign, Save the Elephants, and Four Paws animal welfare organisation.

Members of the public were welcome to attend the exhibitions between 10am and 5pm daily at the Sandton Convention Centre Exhibition at 161 Maude Street. Entrance would be free, but members of the public would be required to register for the exhibition on arrival and produce a form of identification to receive a day pass.

– African News Agency