Updated on 28 October 2022

Secretary-General's Opening Statement to the 74th Meeting
of the CITES Standing Committee


Mr Jean Patrick Le Duc, chief of delegation of France and Chair of the European Council,

Mr Pierre Athanaze, Vice President of the Metropole,

Ms Carolina Caceres, Chair of the CITES Standing Committee,

Distinguished Standing Committee Members, Parties, observers, Ladies and Gentlemen

Good morning to all. I am grateful to Her Excellency Barbara Pompili, Minister of Ecological Transition of France for her thoughtful video, and sorry that her excellency Bérangère ABBA, State Secretary for biodiversity, is ill. We wish her a speedy recovery.

I’m so very pleased that we are all able to be here together, in person, thanks to the generosity of our hosts, the Metropole of Lyon and the French Government. When we asked if there was any Party that was willing or able to host us in the these trying COVID times, we were thrilled that you came forward to offer us the chance to meet in this way. A special thank you to Mr Jean Patrick Le Duc who worked tirelessly to ensure this meeting could take place in Lyon. It seems that any conference or meeting that is worth attending recently, either has been or will be happening in France. That is of course until we get to our own Conference of the Parties in Panama in November. And it is to CoP19 that we must look toward. One of the most important objectives of this meeting is to advise and inform the CoP and support it to take the decisions it must take at this crucial time.

The agenda for this Standing Committee is jam-packed and covers a wide variety of issues. It will be a genuine challenge to get through the workload and we are lucky to have such an able, experienced and knowledgeable Chair to guide us through the next five days. You may need to think carefully about the

I would also recall that the success or otherwise of this meeting depends on us all collectively. We make a commitment when we come here – a commitment always to remember the importance of what it is we are doing and that each agenda item contributes to how efficiently, how constructively and how wisely you advise Parties and the CoP in the management of our endangered wild fauna and flora. We have all come a long way to put ourselves in this position and each of us is worthy of attention and respect. We must work with diligence but without delay. There are 89 items for your consideration. 117 related documents, more than 5 thousand pages. I hope it is not too brazen of me to ask you to thank my colleagues at the CITES Secretariat, the Chairs of the scientific committees and the chairs of the intersessional working groups for their hard work in preparing these documents.

The meeting is taking place during a month where there is a strong focus on environmental matters. With UNEA adopting for example a resolution to end plastic pollution and forge an international legally binding agreement by 2024; and, as mentioned by Minister Pompili and Mr Le Duc, the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and stakeholders meeting the week after SC74 to discuss the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

The 74th meeting of the Standing Committee is the CITES communities’ contribution to move the global environmental agenda forward and towards the fulfilment of the CITES strategic vision agreed by the Parties.

We should also keep in mind that we do not work in isolation. Last week was an excellent example of this. World Wildlife Day brought messages of support flooding in from the public and from the international community and NGOs, who are as invested in our success as we are. They know that our goals are all interlinked. Sustainable development, conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of the components of biodiversity will not happen without a concerted, coordinated multilateral effort. It won’t happen without us. The world is looking to us and has confidence in us to play our part in addressing these challenges.

I wish you a productive five days and an enjoyable five days. It is certainly an important five days. I know you will make the most of them and work in harmony with each other so that we can live in harmony with nature.

Thank you.