Message from CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero for the 2019 Asia Environmental Enforcement Awards

Updated on 17 August 2020

Under the theme Fighting Transboundary Environmental Crime

13 November 2019, Bangkok, Thailand


Madame Ambassador Rødsmoen
Distinguished Award Winners
Ladies and Gentlemen

May I begin by warmly thanking the organizers for inviting me to this esteemed gathering, which recognizes and celebrates excellence in fighting transboundary environmental crime. I very much regret that I cannot be with you in person today.

I would like also to thank our partners in these awards, the United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and INTERPOL, and the Government of Norway for their generous financial support.

Fighting Transboundary Environmental Crime, including crime involving illegal trade of wild fauna and flora, has never been more important. Wildlife crime is today well recognized as a serious crime.

Cross-border and international cooperation, communication, and coordination are essential to combating wildlife trafficking globally, since so much of what we are facing is transboundary crime.

Wildlife crime threatens our values, our governance structures, and the rule of law. Illegal trade in wildlife also undermines the  legal and sustainable trade in endangered wildlife and forest products, for which the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES as most of you will know it, was set up to do in 1973.

Trading legally through CITES can  support local communities, support livelihoods,  conserve wild species of fauna and flora and, ultimately, have a positive impact on the Sustainable Development Goals.

This evening, at this prestigious Asia Environmental Enforcement Award ceremony, we recognize those who have led the way with distinction and have excelled in fighting transboundary environmental crime.

This award recognizes your Impact, your collaboration, and the integrity, gender leadership, innovation and cooperation you have shown in the fight against illegal trade in wildlife and other environmental crimes. In fighting against illegal trade in wildlife and forest products, you have supported the implementation of CITES globally, and its only through the support of the enforcement community that CITES can function as it does.   

Ladies and Gentlemen, tonight you will celebrate our colleagues who have excelled in their fields. I encourage you to help us share their stories so that together we can more effectively fight transboundary environmental crime. This fight is far from over, and your actions should serve as inspiration to others to persist and work vigorously against wildlife crime.  

I sincerely congratulate all of you for your individual achievements that merited your receipt of this award. Your commitment to this cause is admirable and your success stories should be shared far and wide, to inspire others to lead the way in the fight against transboundary environment crime. Your achievements are setting an example globally so all of those working to combat environmental crime will strengthen their efforts by acting with integrity, collaborating, cooperating, being innovative and advancing gender leadership.

We thank you for your service, commitment and sacrifice. Congratulations again and enjoy your evening.