CITES comprises of 183 sovereign states. Only they control – or should control – the outcome of the voting.
Each sovereign state member has a vote – a single vote for each item on the agenda. And those votes determine the consensus decisions that approve or disapprove every item on the agenda.
It works like this: South Africa will submit a proposal to CITES requesting permission to sell, for example, its stockpile of legal rhino horn.
The proposal will appear on the agenda of the convention’s next meeting. At that meeting, the South African proposal will be debated and the 183 sovereign state members – called the
‘Parties to the Convention’ – will each cast their vote to generate a consensus. So, majority opinion will determine whether or not South Africa will be permitted to sell its rhino horn.
The decisions made at CITES are not based on scientific fact – which is what should determine such matters. They are determined by the personal preference opinions of the individual 183 sovereign state ‘parties’.
And, of these 183 states, only ten host rhino populations.
Ten, therefore, represents the number of states who are directly affected by this vote
“It also means 173 of these states don’t own any rhinos.
They hail from every corner of the globe. Their delegates have never seen a rhino.
They don’t really, therefore, know any of the implications resultant from the outcome of the vote they have just cast.
And they are not in any way affected by the outcome. In other words, they have no accountability whatsoever for the decision that they have just made. And quite, frankly, most of them couldn’t care a damn.”