CITES appoints timber officer

For use of the media only;
not an official document.


CITES appoints timber officer

Geneva, 4 February 2008 – In response to the concern expressed by governments about losing tree species through unsustainable and illegal international trade, the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has announced today the appointment of a timber officer, Mr Neil Ellis. This appointment has been made possible thanks to the generous support of the Government of Australia.

The number of tree species subject to strict trade regulations under CITES has seen a rapid rise in recent years. Since 2002, over 50 commercially valuable species have been included in CITES Appendix II and therefore require the issuance of an export permit to enter international trade. These species are exploited for timber, medicinal extracts, essence, as ornamental trees or other, and include the bigleaf mahogany, the palo brasil, the rosewood, Asian yews, all ramin and agarwood species, and various palm trees. The appointment of a new timber officer will enhance coordination of CITES efforts to attain sustainable international trade in these species.

In 2007 the CITES Secretariat partnered with the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) to secure a 3 million euro grant from the European Commission for a project designed to improve countries' capacity to implement CITES for certain key species in South America, West Africa and Southeast Asia: the African teak, the bigleaf mahogany and ramin species. The new officer will play a major role in implementing this project.

“Delivering real change on the ground to curb illegal logging and over-exploitation of commercially valuable tree species is a major challenge for exporting countries”, said CITES Secretary-General Mr Willem Wijnstekers. “In order to ensure that forests carry on supporting a rich biodiversity and mitigating the effects of climate change, improvements in the sustainability of the timber industry must be achieved. Otherwise the significant economic benefits this activity brings will be short term”, he added.

Mr Ellis is a resource and environmental management scientist with 13 years' experience in the Australian Government, the last four of which were as Director of the CITES Management Authority within the Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts.

Note to journalists:

For more information, please see or contact Juan Carlos Vasquez at +41 22 917 8156 or .


To read previous press releases, go to Archives.