CITES Secretary-General's statement for World Environment Day 2017

‘I’m with nature’

Statement by John Scanlon, CITES Secretary-General


We share our planet with millions of species of wild animals and plants.

They keep us alive by providing us with fresh air, clean water and healthy soils, they are used every day to make medicine, food and furniture and they support cultural, recreational and tourism pursuits.

While wildlife keeps all of us alive, its future is squarely in our hands. We alone will determine the fate of the world’s wildlife and in doing so our own destiny.

At CITES we are working every day to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

We are working with governments, the United Nations, international organizations, the private sector, non-government organizations, local communities, public figures and philanthropists to combat illegal wildlife trade and to stop the over exploitation of wildlife through trade. 

Our work helps spectacular animals like CITES-listed elephants, lions, flamingos, Mountain gorillas, rhinos, tigers, sharks and rays survive in the wild so that we can all benefit from them.  This includes enjoying these beautiful animals and plants in their natural habitat through well-managed and sustainable tourism and recreation pursuits. 

Today, on World Environment Day, we celebrate and connect with nature. Feeling connected to nature, to our wild animals and plants, and everything that nature provides can give us the motivation we need to stand up for wildlife.

None of us want our children to one day be talking of any of our wild animals or plants in the same way as we talk of dinosaurs and the Dodo.

We can avoid this scenario but it needs every one of us to take up the fight for wildlife.

I do hope that no matter who you are or where you are from that you manage to get outside today, put down your phone, and find your own way to reconnect with nature. In doing so you may be inspired to do more to protect our wildlife.

Happy World Environment Day from all of us at CITES.

I’m with nature and hope you are too!