The International Working Group on Reptile Skins (IWG-RS) was initially convened in 2011 under the umbrella of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. It became the main driver for the creation of RESP.
With representatives from governments, companies, NGOs and academia, the group aims to transform the international trade system of reptile skins. Members of the IWG-RS are committed to improving current industry practices and contributing to more effective legislation and enforcement in order to make the industry conducive to the conservation of biodiversity and the wellbeing of all the stakeholders that depend on this trade for their livelihoods, while at the same time upholding the highest standards on animal welfare.
The IWG-RS' scope of work covers five main areas: traceability, production systems, animal welfare, communications and education, and conservation and livelihoods.
One example of how the IWG-RS is advancing its mission is through the development a global traceability system by the end of 2016. The group has already made recommendations on how to tackle the illegal and unregulated flow of reptile skins. It has submitted these recommendations to the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) which has agreed to consider the adoption of these recommendations as part of a broader legislation package.
In this way, the IWG-RS is directly contributing to the aims of CITES and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).