Secretary-General's statements

14 June 2019, Baku, Azerbaijan Good afternoon, Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, I am honoured to have been invited by the Secretary General of the World Customs Organization to give a keynote address at the IT Conference. My sincere apologies for not being there with you this week but I had prior commitments that made it difficult to travel to Baku. I am sure you have been enjoying the great Azerbaijani hospitality they are well known for, and which I am very sorry to have missed.
Following my messages and the updates of the Secretariat dated 21 April, 26 April, 3 May, 10 May and 17 May, where we expressed our compassion for the people of Sri Lanka for the impacts of the heinous acts committed in their country on 21 April 2019, announced the postponement of the meeting and the process in which the Secretariat engaged to address as soon as possible the delay in carrying out the 18th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, I wish to confirm the new dates and venue of the meeting to Parties and Observers: The 71st meeting of the CITES Standing Committee, the 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties and the 72nd meeting of the CITES Standing Committee will be held in Geneva, Switzerland from 16 to 28 August 2019 at the following address:
We share our planet with millions of species of wild animals and plants. We drink the same water as they do, enjoy (or survive) the same weather, and breathe the same air. Every year on World Environment Day, we acknowledge the need to protect our natural environment for the benefit of humankind. But let us at the same time also remember how our actions affect other species and the ecosystems that they create.
22 May 2019 International Day for Biological Diversity is a day to celebrate all the forms of life with which we share this planet. It is also an opportunity to raise awareness of the value of biodiversity for humankind. This year’s theme, “Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health”, underscores the extraordinary benefits that are derived from biodiversity that provide for our very existence. Food and medicine are among the most common use of the over 36,000 species of wild plants and animals that are protected by CITES through the regulation of international trade.
I wish to inform Parties and interested stakeholders about the latest developments for CITES CoP18 that was scheduled to be held from 23 May to 3 June 2019 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and the postponement as announced on 26 April via Notification to the Parties No. 2019/025. The Government of Sri Lanka has proposed alternative dates for CoP18 in Colombo of 1-13 September 2019. In line with United Nations practices, the Secretariat is, therefore, working with the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) to assess the security situation on the ground with Sri Lankan colleagues, UNDSS officials and the United Nations Resident Coordinator for the country. We expect the assessment at the end of May 2019.
Seventh session of the Plenary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES-7) (delivered by CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero on behalf of BLG members) UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France, 29 April 2019   Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention) Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention on Wetlands)
The Secretariat regrets to announce that the 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP18), originally scheduled to take place from 23 May to 3 June in Colombo, Sri Lanka, as well as the associated 71st and 72nd meetings of the Standing Committee, are being postponed. This decision has been taken out of respect for the victims of the recent attacks and the recognition by the Standing Committee, the Secretariat and the United Nations Department of Safety and Security of the time needed for the Government of Sri Lanka to address the current situation in the country.
The Secretariat expresses its heartfelt condolences to the people of Sri Lanka for the loss of lives and many injuries following the bomb blasts that struck churches and hotels today.     The Secretariat is in contact with the Sri Lankan Government and is monitoring the situation closely.   The security implications for CoP18 are being evaluated. Further information will be provided as soon as possible and in the meantime the Secretariat thanks Parties and observers for their patience and understanding. The Secretariat is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of the conference and all participants.   Ivonne Higuero CITES Secretary-General 21 April 2019
Ivonne Higuero, CITES Secretary-General The 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) will take place at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall in Colombo, Sri Lanka from 23 May to 3 June 2019. This will be the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES in South Asia since CoP3 held in New Delhi, India way back in 1981.
It is a privilege and an honour for me to address you as I officially assume the office today as the Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and to be the first woman to have been chosen to lead its Secretariat. I am grateful for the confidence shown in me by the United Nations Secretary-General to ensure that the critical work of such a long-established Convention continues to be serviced efficiently and effectively by the Secretariat.

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