Statements made by Mr John E. Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES
CITES at 40 Marks a Major Decision Point for Sharks, Trees, Snakes, Turtles and other Wildlife Species (9 May 2013)
The 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES CoP16) held March 2013 in Bangkok, will be remembered as a defining moment in the 40 year history of the Convention.
22nd session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) (Vienna, Austria, 23 April 2013)
CITES is a global agreement with 178 States Parties and another five in the process of acceding.
CITES regulates international trade in wildlife falling under the Convention and Parties to CITES agree to take appropriate measures to enforce the Convention and to penalise trade that is in contravention of the Convention.
CITES CoP16, Bangkok 2013: A ‘Watershed Moment’ for Combating Wildlife Crime (15 April 2013)
The 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES CoP16) held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 3-14 March 2013, took decisive action to tackle the disturbing spike in the illegal killing of the African elephant and rhino and smuggling of their ivory and horn, which is the focus of this article. read more
Opening statement at the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP16, Bangkok, Thailand, 3 March 2013)
It is a great pleasure to be here in the beautiful and vibrant City of Bangkok and we express our deep gratitude to the Kingdom of Thailand and its people for the extraordinary generosity in hosting this critical meeting. read more
Wildlife under threat - time to act (3 March 2013)
With numbers as low as 2,000 in 1973, when the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was signed, the population is now more than 19,000. More than 90 percent of these animals are in South Africa as a result of both public and private management efforts, for which CITES provides a framework. read more
Tackling the illegal trade in wild animals is a matter of global urgency (1 March 2013)
Illegal trade in wildlife has now reached a scale that poses an immediate risk to wildlife and to people. Over the past five years, we have seen a dramatic spike in the poaching and illegal trade in elephants and rhinos. In 2011 an estimated 25,000 elephants were poached across Africa and in South Africa alone 668 rhinos were lost to poachers in 2012. read more
Celebration of the 40th anniversary of CITES (Palais des Nations, Geneva, 13 February 2013)
This evening we celebrate the vision and commitment of the people who pioneered this ground-breaking Convention in Washington D.C. 40 years ago, and the many thousands of people who are working on the front-lines to protect wildlife today. It is an inspiring example of successful international cooperation and national action that gives us all hope for a sustainable future in which people and wildlife can coexist in harmony. read more
Presentation at the 2nd Council Meeting of GRASP (Paris, France, 6 November 2012)
Opening presentation at the joint side-event during CBD CoP11 ( Hyderabad, India, 18 October 2012)
62nd meeting of the Standing Committee (Geneva, Switzerland, 23 July 2012)
We have a full agenda, which calls upon the Committee to find ways forward with some very challenging issues, and we meet at a time when the illegal killing and illegal trade in African elephants and rhinoceros have reached the highest levels in over a decade. read more
CITES: From Stockholm in ‘72 to Rio+20 - Back to the future ( 6 July 2012)
Travelling from the Odeon Cinema in downtown Rio de Janeiro – where we launched our film Rhinos under threat, to Riocentro in Barra de Tijuca – where the Rio+20 negotiations took place, can be a long trip. Several hours in a bus gives one a lot of time to think about a longer journey: the one that the international community has made from Stockholm in 1972 to Rio in 2012. read more
United States of America Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing (Washington D.C., the United States of America, 24 May 2012)
CITES stands at the intersection between trade, environment and development and the Convention is needed more today than it was back in March, 1973 when it was adopted right here in Washington, D.C.
CITES regulates trade in close to 35,000 species of plants and animals, including listed timber and aquatic species, to ensure that such trade is legal, sustainable and traceable. CITES holds records of over 12 million trades, with about 850,000 legal trades being reported by CITES Parties to the Secretariat annually. read more
Meeting on the Development of CITES E-Permitting Systems (Guangzhou, China, 9 May 2012)
The regulation of trade in CITES-listed species is made through a universally recognized system of permits and certificates. They are compiled every year and submitted as annual reports for inclusion in the CITES Trade Database, which is arguably the world’s most extensive global database on the sustainable use of biodiversity. read more
UNEP Governing Council and Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GMEF) (Nairobi, Kenya, 21 February 2012)
CITES sits at the intersection of trade, environment and development.
It regulates international trade in close to 35,000 species of plants and animals – with international commercial trade generally prohibited for 3% of these species, and with international commercial trade for the remaining 97% regulated to ensure the trade is legal, sustainable and traceable. read more
Heads of Police and Customs Seminar on Tiger Crime (Bangkok, Thailand, 14 February 2012)
Considerable efforts have been taken over many years to protect the tiger in the wild.
The men and women who work to protect tigers in their habitats everyday do extraordinary work under extremely difficult conditions. We recognize and applaud the activities of these officials who are serving in the front-line for their tireless efforts to save the tiger. Yet despite all of these courageous efforts tiger population numbers have continued to decrease.
The evidence suggests that much of the poaching of, and illegal trade in, tigers has the hallmarks of organized and sophisticated crime. And this is true not only for the tiger, but for illegal trade in wildlife in general, which is now estimated by some to be worth up to USD10 billion per year. read more
Joint opening Ceremony of the Heads of Police and Customs Seminar on Tiger Crime, the 23rd Meeting of the INTERPOL Wildlife Crime Working Group and the 17th Meeting of the INTERPOL Pollution Crime Working Group (Bangkok, Thailand, 13 February, 2012)
It is both a great pleasure and an honour to join you here in Bangkok for the joint opening ceremony of three important events: the Heads of Police and Customs Seminar on Tiger Crime; the 23rd Meeting of the INTERPOL Wildlife Crime Working Group, and the 17th Meeting of the INTERPOL Pollution Crime Working Group.
We extend our most sincere gratitude to the Government of Thailand for its very warm and generous hospitality, and we express our thanks to colleagues from INTERPOL for taking the lead in organizing all three of these important events. read more
UN International Year of Forests 2011 – CITES contribution ends on a high note (Geneva, Switzerland, 29 Dcember 2011)
In declaring 2011 as the International Year of Forests, the United Nations General Assembly stressed its conviction that "concerted efforts should focus on raising awareness at all levels to strengthen the sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests for the benefit of current and future generations", and called upon governments, relevant regional and international organizations, and major groups to support activities related to the International Year of Forests. read more
Eye on Earth Summit, (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 12-15 December 2011)
There are now seven billion people consuming biodiversity every day, including in the form of medicines, food, clothes, furniture, perfumes and luxury goods.
Consumption of biodiversity is growing at an unprecedented rate, and our ability to harvest wildlife knows no limits. read more
41st Council Meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) (Washington, D.C., the United States of America, 8 November 2011)
There are now seven billion people consuming biodiversity every day in the form of medicines, food, clothes, furniture, perfumes and luxury goods.
CITES stands at the intersection between trade, environment and development and the Convention is needed more today than it was back in March, 1973 when it was adopted right here in Washington, D.C. read more
CITES’ Contribution to the New Strategic Biodiversity Plan 2011-2020 and Aichi Biodiversity Targets (Geneva, Switzerland)
We need “all hands on deck” to deliver on the Strategic Plan and Aichi Biodiversity Targets! Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 provided us with a stark reminder of the challenges that lie ahead in achieving the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. The reality is there is no one convention or organization that can alone address the challenges ahead – we need “all hands on deck”! read more
Sixty-first meeting of the Standing Committee (Geneva, Switzerland, 15 August 2011)
We have all had an extremely busy time since the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) in Doha, as is reflected in the Agenda for this meeting. This has included: restructuring the Secretariat; several staff changes; making real progress in resolving the relationship with UNEP; advancing major issues such as Introduction from the Sea (IFS) and bringing the results to Standing Committee 61 well ahead of time; launching new initiatives such as the International Consortium to Combat Wildlife Crime (ICCWC); establishing the African Elephant Fund and Steering Committee; developing and promoting funding for CITES-MIKE Phase III, including through engaging with the Secretariat of the African Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP); developing the next phase of our joint International Tropical Timber Organization ,or ITTO, CITES Project; moving forward with a draft MOU with FAO read more
58th General Assembly of the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC) ( Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation, 12 May 2011)
Thank you for the invitation to address your General Assembly in the beautiful city of Saint Petersburg, with the theme of this year’s Assembly being “Hunting – a part of cultural heritage.” We are fortunate to be in a country with a strong tradition of conservation and management of wildlife.
The hunting and conservation communities have long recognized the need to regulate trade in game species in order to maintain viable populations in the wild, which can be dated back to the London Convention of 1900, relating to the conservation of African game animals, followed by the London Convention of 1933, which originally involved 9 States and dealt with 42 African game species. read more
CITES Asian Snake Trade Workshop (Guangzhou, China, 12 April 2011)
It is a great pleasure to be here in Guangzhou, China to open this major international workshop. I am also delighted that this event is coinciding with the 30th anniversary of China becoming Party to the Convention on International Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which entered into force in this country on 8 April 1981.
The importance the Chinese Government attaches to CITES was admirably demonstrated by the celebrations that took place in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing at the end of last week. That prestigious building - one of China’s great landmarks - saw an impressive gathering, including Minister Jia Zhibang, State Forestry Administration, together with representatives of 31 Ministries and Departments. read more
Celebration of the 30th anniversary of the entry into force of CITES to China (the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, China, 8 April 2011)
It is a great pleasure for me to join you today in this magnificent building – the most prestigious venue in China – to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in China. I am particularly delighted to be here today as this is the best possible timing for my first visit to China in my capacity as the Secretary-General of CITES. read more
30th meeting of the World Customs Organization’s Enforcement Committee (Brussels, Belgium, 21 March 2011)
It was with considerable pleasure that I accepted the kind invitation to address this Committee, as it begins its deliberations on a very wide range of enforcement-related issues. This is my first visit to the headquarters of the World Customs Organization since assuming the post of Secretary-General last May and I hope it will be the first of many.
Last year, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, commonly known as CITES or the Washington Convention, celebrated 35 years since it entered into force. read more
29th session FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) (Rome, Italy, 1 February 2011)
I am particularly delighted to be here to personally reinforce the importance of the relationship between CITES and FAO so early in my tenure. This partnership is essential to the effective implementation of the Convention in relation to commercially-exploited aquatic species, and for maximum coordination of conservation measures taken by each organization. In particular, I would like to highlight some of the good work we are doing together, as well as few areas where we could do more.
One of the recent positive aspects of our collaboration has been the CITES Secretariat’s consultation with the FAO Secretariat in preparing a discussion document on cooperation with FAO for the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES. In that document, it was noted that “FAO is a historical partner for CITES, dating back to the adoption of the Convention in 1973”. read more
Illegal Tiger Trade session of the International Tiger Forum (St Petersburg, Russian Federation, 22 November 2010)
Almost every part of a tiger has a value in the ‘black markets’ of illegal trade in wildlife. Its skin, bones, whiskers, collar bones, feet, claws, teeth, penis and tail have all been used for a variety of purposes. Illegal trade in tiger meat for human consumption appears to have increased in recent years. There is almost no end to the variety of ways in which those who trade in this animal can profit. Trade in live tigers, although very limited, also occasionally occurs, primarily for private collections of exotic species or as a status symbol.
Despite the best efforts of tiger range States, including the establishment of more and more protected areas, where one would have hoped tigers would be safe, the decline of this species in the wild seems almost unstoppable. read more
17th Special Meeting of ICCAT (Paris, France, 19 Novermber 2010)
This is the first time that a Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, known as CITES, or the Washington Convention, addresses the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas. My intervention follows the active and constructive participation of your Chair, Mr Fábio Hazin, at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, held in Doha in March this year. Mr Hazin’s participation was much appreciated by both the Parties and the Secretariat and I am pleased to be able to make a reciprocal contribution by joining you today.
Most of you will already know that CITES is a legally-binding global agreement with 175 States-Parties, including all ICCAT members except Angola, which is currently in the process of acceding to the Convention, as are several other States. The Convention was adopted in 1973 and entered into force in 1975. read more
Geneva Environment Network briefing on the Outcomes of the Nagoya Biodiversity Summit (Geneva, Switzerland, 10 November 2010)
Let me start by extending my sincere congratulations to the Government of Japan, through Minister Mizushima, for achieving a successful outcome in Nagoya. The diplomatic effort put into the meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP) – both before and during the CoP - coupled with announcements of additional financial commitments, was critical.
The diplomatic effort was obvious to many of us based here in Geneva through the various briefing sessions held by the Permanent Mission of Japan in the lead-up to the CoP, which helped to build a positive momentum in the lead-up to the Nagoya CoP.
There was also a broad community of interest in the CoP from within and outside of the United Nations (UN) system, which also helped build momentum. read more
79th Interpol General Assembly (Doha, Qatar, 8 November 2010)
I last stood in this magnificent building in March of this year, when I was introduced to the 175 Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora - widely known as CITES or the Washington Convention. I had just been selected to become the new Secretary-General of CITES, following the retirement of my predecessor.
The Government of Qatar was hosting the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES and it did an outstanding job in organizing the event. Delegates to the CITES meeting thoroughly enjoyed the arrangements and the very warm hospitality offered by the Government and people of Qatar and I'm confident that INTERPOL's General Assembly will have similar positive experiences.
As you might imagine, it was a proud and privileged day for me to take up the position as head of one of the oldest, and I like to think the most successful, multi-lateral environmental agreements. Although not nearly as old as INTERPOL, CITES celebrated 35 years of regulating international wildlife trade earlier this year. I feel no less privileged today to have been invited to address this august body. I am apparently the first Secretary-General of CITES to speak at a General Assembly of INTERPOL and I am very grateful to Secretary General Noble for inviting me to participate. I am especially pleased to be able to talk to you shortly before you consider a draft Resolution from INTERPOL's General Secretariat on the subject of environmental crime. read more
Global Tiger Initiative side-event at CBD CoP10 (Nagoya, Japan, 28 October 2010)
The subject of conservation of tigers is one that the CITES community has given a special focus to over many years. The CITES Secretariat has also been a very active player in the Global Tiger Initiative, since the President of the World Bank asked the Secretariat to take the lead in providing enforcement-related advice to the Initiative.
Many of the pressures that tigers currently face, such as loss of habitat, conflict with humans and their livestock, and a declining prey base, are being addressed by others. It is in the fields of regulating trade, or combating illegal trade, that the expertise of CITES has been called upon.
This event takes place during the Chinese Year of the Tiger, the International Year of Biodiversity and during this meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. It is an appropriate time and place to focus on the tiger as one of our planet’s flagship species. The well-being of the tiger reflects the health (or otherwise) of the forests and jungles in which it lives. Regrettably, the ever-declining numbers of tigers tell us that many of those habitats are similarly under pressure. read more
High-Level Segment of CBD COP 10 (Nagoya, Japan, 28 October 2010)
I have the honour of presenting an agreed joint statement on behalf of the Secretariats of four biodiversity-related conventions, namely the: Ramsar Convention, World Heritage Convention, CITES and CMS.
Each of the conventions I am speaking for today has a very specific mandate, and while they may be more targeted in scope than the CBD, they contribute towards achieving the same objectives of supporting the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
They are longstanding, complementary and effective tools, designed to be highly operational and to make a difference on-the-ground – with each having between 114 and 187 Parties. And it is through these Conventions that the international community has: read more
Celebration of the 35th anniversary of the entry into force of CITES (Geneva, 1 July 2010)
2010 is an important year for many reasons.
It is the International Year of Biodiversity; in March the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES took place in Doha, in the State of Qatar; we celebrate our 35th anniversary of CITES entry into force today; and the Convention on Biological Diversity holds its 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties in October in Nagoya, Japan, and I would like to recognize the attendance, today, of His Excellency the Ambassador of Japan, Mr Kenichi Suganuma. read more
Statement on concerns expressed about confiscated orangutans (Geneva, Switzerland, 20 May 2010)
The Secretariat has recently received a number of emails urging the return to Indonesia of 11 orangutans confiscated by the CITES Management Authority of Thailand in February 2009.
In keeping with its responsibilities to promote enforcement of the Convention and to assess and communicate relevant information, the Secretariat contacted the Thai Management Authority about these messages. The Thai Management Authority responded immediately, stating that the animals had been well cared for since their confiscation and that DNA analysis showed they were Bornean orangutans. It advised the Secretariat that the Thai and Indonesian authorities had been consulting about the possible return of the animals - as both countries had arranged for the return of a number of orangutans three years ago. The Thai Management Authority further stated that it had written officially to the CITES Management Authority of Indonesia earlier this month to find out whether it would like the animals to be returned at its expense – as provided under Article VIII of the Convention. read more