CITES is officially used acronym for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. It concerns an international agreement, which was negotiated in Washington, D.C., in 1973. The Convention currently has 179 state parties; the Czech Republic has been a party since 1 January 1993 (from 28 May 1992 as the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic). The main goal of the CITES convention is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival; in other words to protect endangered animal and plant species from the threat of natural extinction due to their excessive use for commercial purposes. The Convention mainly regulates trade in specimens of endangered species obtained in the wild; it also controls trade in animals bred in captivity and cultivated plants of species that are endangered in nature. Today, it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 35,000 species of animals and plants.
The Convention is implemented in a unified manner in the European Union (EU), which is based on legislation of European Community. This legislation in our country came into force on 1 May 2004 (i.e. from the date of entry to the EU).