The Bern Convention and CITES in the UK: an exploration of norms and ambiguities
In the Anthropocene, humans are changing and harming the planet in significant and possibly irreversible ways. Biodiversity loss is one of the main elements of these human-caused harms. Wildlife and conservation policies, such as Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (the Bern Convention) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) are attempts to stop the loss of wildlife. This article explores the implementation of both of these conventions in the UK through a mixed-methods study including content analysis of convention documentation and eight semi-structured interviews. The findings indicate that whilst the UK has a reputation for actively engaging in wildlife conservation and being a nation of animal lovers, management of its own wildlife is under resourced and could be improved. Both conventions are complex, with different parties focusing on different aspects (i.e., commercial interests via sustainable use narratives or wildlife protection via mentions of intrinsic value). Stakeholders need to engage in dialogue about the core ethical issues regarding trade and consumption. Trying to expect the inclusion of or to add on species justice and welfare to the existing structures appears to be a step too far for the stakeholders as well as the legislative structures.
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