Ivonne Higuero, Secretary-General

Meet the CITES Secretary-General

Ms Ivonne Higuero is the current Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Secretary-General Higuero was appointed in 2018 to lead the CITES Secretariat and is the first woman to hold this post. As an environmental economist with a career spanning 26 years in international organizations in the area of sustainable development, she has experience working at the global, regional and national levels, and engaging with stakeholders across the public and private sectors.

During her 24 years with the UN, Secretary-General Higuero has held varied roles managing and overseeing the implementation of programmes of work, managing financial and human resources, and the provision of secretariat services to intergovernmental bodies. With the adoption of Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals, Ms Higuero was responsible for ensuring the alignment of programmes of work to support countries in meeting their international commitments also through cross-sectoral cooperation.

Her previous international appointments include:

  • Director of the Economic Cooperation and Trade Division - United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), where she led and supervised programmes on trade facilitation, access to markets, innovation and competitiveness policies and public-private partnerships.
  • Director of the Forests, Land and Housing Division – (UNECE) where she led and supervised programmes on forests and the forest industry and housing, land management and sustainable urban development.
  • Chief of the Operational Activities and Review Section of the UNECE’s Environment Division where she managed programmes on environmental performance reviews, environmental monitoring and assessments, and cooperation between the environment, transport and health sectors.

Ms Higuero served in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Office for Europe as the Coordinator of the Pan European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy, as regional programme coordinator, and as regional ecosystems management coordinator. She served at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi as the focal point for biodiversity related and regional sea conventions, worked on issues such as trade and environment, on valuation of natural resources, economic instruments for environmental management, amongst other natural resource management roles between 1994 and 2014.

The Secretary-General is a national of Panama and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Missouri (United States of America) and a Master of Environmental Management Degree in Natural Resource Economics and Policy from Duke University (United States of America).

Secretary General Statements

All archived statements can be found here.

Former Secretary Generals

Former SG John E. Scanlon (2010 - 2018) Former SG Willem Wijnstekers (1999-2010) Former SG Izgrev Topkov (1991-1998) Former SG Eugene Lapointe (1982-1990) Former SG Peter Sand (1978-1981)

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