Photo: CITES

CITES Goes Digital: A Cloud-based System for Tracking and Management of CITES Review of Significant Trade

UNICC delivers CITES RST Tracking and Management System for greater efficiency

UNICC launched a project with the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in February 2020 to develop a system to track and manage a core CITES process with a cloud-based solution.

CITES is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. This new system, designed, developed, hosted and managed by UNICC, optimizes CITES’ Review of Significant Trade (RST) procedures.

The CITES Review of Significant Trade (RST) procedure was designed to identify species that may be subject to unsustainable levels of international trade, and to identify problems and solutions concerning effective implementation of the Convention.

CITES Resolution Conf. 12.8

The RST process identifies species that may be subject to unsustainable levels of international trade, and identifies recommendations and solutions to address the issue. The system provides a database for tracking these RST cases. The importance of a properly developed and delivered RST Tracking and Management System is critical to CITES’ efforts to regulate the trade of wild animals and plants across borders between countries.

The value in UNICC’s delivery of the CITES RST Tracking and Management System is rooted in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly those concerned with biodiversity (Goals 14 and 15) and international partnerships (Goal 17).

Credit: CITES

The RST Tracking and Management System also serves as an essential tool helping CITES Parties to track the RST process and provides an easy-to-use platform for communication.

Key features
The RST Tracking and Management System includes a summary of the case details and status of all ongoing RST cases, any recommendations of the CITES Animals or Plants Committee (depending on the species) or the CITES Standing Committee directed to the Party concerned, and correspondence between that Party and the CITES Secretariat.

The system provides more transparency in the process and allows Parties, that are subject to the RST process, and other interested users, to track the status of recommendations and receive alerts on outstanding actions. It also provides a portal for Parties to communicate with the CITES Secretariat on progress in the implementation of these recommendations.

Credit: CITES

For the CITES RST system we followed a two-phased approach. The first phase focussed on detailed requirements-gathering, analysis and design. The system mock-ups and the proposed solution were presented to the stakeholders, including members of the Conference of the Parties (CoP). The second phase followed an Agile development process with excellent validation from the CITES Secretariat.

Gianluca Nuzzo, Application Delivery Team Lead, UNICC

The RST Tracking and Management System was developed using a ‘best-of-breed’ solution/technology approach and according to the chosen design. It utilizes widely-recognized, open-source solutions and frameworks selected for the specific requirements of the application. The system is presented in a user-friendly, modern and intuitive design. Explore the RST Tracking and Management system here: https://rst.cites.org/public.

About CITES

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

Annually, international wildlife trade is estimated to be worth billions of dollars and to include hundreds of millions of plant and animal specimens. The trade is diverse, ranging from live animals and plants to a vast array of wildlife products derived from them, including food products, exotic leather goods, wooden musical instruments, timber, tourist curios and medicines.

Levels of exploitation of some animal and plant species are high and the trade in them, together with other factors, such as habitat loss, is capable of heavily depleting their populations and even bringing some species close to extinction. Many wildlife species in trade are not endangered, but the existence of an agreement to ensure the sustainability of the trade is important in order to safeguard these resources for the future.

Because the trade in wild animals and plants crosses borders between countries, the effort to regulate it requires international cooperation to safeguard certain species from over-exploitation. CITES was conceived in the spirit of such cooperation. Today, it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 35,000 species of animals and plants, whether they are traded as live specimens, fur coats or dried herbs.

CITES is an international agreement to which States and regional economic integration organizations adhere voluntarily. States that have agreed to be bound by the Convention (‘joined’ CITES) are known as Parties. Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties – in other words they have to implement the Convention – it does not take the place of national laws. Rather it provides a framework to be respected by each Party, which has to adopt its own domestic legislation to ensure that CITES is implemented at the national level. For many years CITES has been among the conservation agreements with the largest membership, with now 184 Parties.

Over 38,700 species – including roughly 5,950 species of animals and 32,800 species of plants – are protected by CITES against over exploitation through international trade. They are listed in three CITES Appendices. The species are grouped in the Appendices according to how threatened they are by international trade. They include some whole groups, such as primates, cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises), sea turtles, parrots, corals, cacti and orchids. But in some cases, only a subspecies or geographically separate population of a species (for example the population of just one country) is listed.

Photo: WTO

WTO Taps UNICC to Deliver its Integrated, Cost-efficient Service Management Solutions

ITSM and Enterprise Service Management with ServiceNow

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the global international organization that deals with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.

The digital transformation the WTO Secretariat is embarking on relies on how well the transformation contributes to its mandate and how this will function internally. Similar to other international organizations, WTO Members States expect the Secretariat to optimize the value they are getting from their contributions and to unleash the talent of its staff.

This is where WTO and UNICC began to collaborate, to help with greater efficiency through better service delivery, assessing and assisting with updating a ten-year old service management system sorely in need of updates to automated processes.

The need for the multilateral system to visibly help the world reach the SDGs and ride the existing crisis like COVID, Climate or Ukraine has never been so high. It needs a UNICC which delivers both reliable value for money IT services and agile digital innovative solutions. At 50, UNICC’s human force mixes the right balance between expertise and dynamism to chart an exciting course together.

Fabrice Boudou, Director of IT Solutions Division, World Trade Organization and Chair of the UNICC Management Committee

ServiceNow service management now
WTO is a long-time consumer of UNICC digital business solutions across the technology landscape. They were one of the first to leverage UNICC’s partnership with ServiceNow for end-to-end service management business needs in the cloud.

WTO ServiceNow interface. Credit: WTO

The UNICC ServiceNow solution, with full cloud security, UN system cost efficiencies through its strategic agreements and full business process support, allows organizations like WTO to digitize and automate siloed processes, dramatically improving the service management experience across the organization.

The platform optimizes processes, connects data and organizational entities and accelerates innovation at scale with a single platform for digital business. On top of this monitoring and reporting tools mean that WTO has metrics at their fingertips to meet indicators with quality performance data.

From WTO’s initial objective to migrate the legacy ITSM solution to a market leading solution like ServiceNow, UNICC has been the perfect partner to allow us to meet this objective. And to go far beyond. Going out on our own to manage such a project was not feasible in terms of budget nor resources necessary. The UNICC ServiceNow team has filled the missing gap. With UNICC, a fast and efficient path became available to migrate the legacy solution and improve many ITSM processes while providing valuable additional data invisible before but critical for ITSM governance.

Ronald Jans, Head of IT Services Branch
WTO ServiceNow data monitoring. Credit: WTO

Benefits and features of the new system include:

  • Incident management
  • Request fulfillment
  • Knowledge management
  • CMDB and configuration management
  • Centralized service catalog and its management
  • Problem management
  • Change management
  • Asset management
  • Portal for end users
  • Workflow automation (approvals, delivery)
  • Measurement of SLAs
  • Reports and dashboard.

WTO had UNICC come on in 2021 to begin the process of upgrading the service management support ecosystem. The IT division was an obvious place to start, with its global support of the organization with its service management and help desk. The legacy system was replaced with the ServiceNow cloud platform immediately putting an end to manual and duplicative processes, even managing service issues through emails.

The UNICC ServiceNow team played a key role in supporting and guiding the WTO team all along, during the analysis and development of the solution, at times challenging existing practices, so as to identify where processes could be improved. UNICC also committed resources at a substantial level to ensure the WTO Service Centre team were comfortable and confident to hit the ground running once WTO’s ServiceNow went live. This contributed to the WTO Service Centre team’s being fully on board ahead of implementation and was a strong factor in its success.

Colette O’Byrne, Systems and Operations Engineer

The UNICC team first started working on the deployment of ServiceNow for other Clients in 2020, in line with current best practices and industry standards. This framework can be replicated, tailored and implemented for any other UN Agencies. The platform was designed, configured, and deployed so that WTO, as with others, could easily integrate the framework for its own ITSM frameworks.

The project involved:

  • Assessing the environment and sharing requirements
  • Setting up a portal for end users
  • Providing a centralized service catalog
  • Ensuring workflow automation of approvals and delivery
  • Measuring SLAs
  • Streamlining the incident management process
  • Ensuring request fulfillment and knowledge management processes
  • Migrating existing data and business processes replication
  • Overseeing CMDB and configuration management as well as service catalog management processes
  • Integrating problem management and change management modules.
WTO ServiceNow ticket resolution data. Credit: WTO

Development work continued throughout the second half of 2021 and the project was delivered in six months, having the go-live on January 2022, including all of the deliverables set out in the multi-phase plan. WTO is further developing its ITSM practice by building a configuration management database (CMdB )with its associated processes.

UNICC’s professional requirements analysis, documentation and project management practices ensured success, with ongoing coordination, follow-up meeting and effective and open communication channels. The two teams were then able to validate and meet WTO’s expectations, with timely and successful delivery of expected services.

WTO is gradually extending ITSM to Enterprise Service Management. They have and are still integrating other service delivery areas such as HR, Facilities, and Language services into ServiceNow, copying the success of the ITSM implementation, combined with an internal strategy of working towards a central Service Management facility for any user request or issue – the same tool for all and the same team to coordinate for all. In areas of service management and delivery, when addressing new demands, this has led to WTO adopting a “ServiceNow first” approach – considering at the outset if ServiceNow could be the best-fit solution.

Coupled with a procurement effort to source the service centre from a lower cost base, WTO is well on the way to a real digital transformation in how internal business solutions and services are delivered to its staff.

WTO was adaptive, flexible and keen to replicate the successes seen at UNICC from the ServiceNow platform. UNICC has helped in this way to establish ServiceNow as a leading industry platform for IT and asset management processes for the UN family.