Secretary-General of CITES

CITES CoP17 – A CoP of “Firsts” and a Turning Point for the World’s Wildlife

In every corner of our planet, a variety of threats such as habitat loss, climate change, over-exploitation and illegal trade put intense pressure on wild populations of animals and plants.

Illicit trafficking in wildlife now takes place at an industrial scale driven by transnational organized criminal groups. The phenomena poses a real and immediate danger to some of our most precious species.

A Virtuous Cycle for Conservation - External link

NEW YORK – Poor and rural people around the world rely on plants and animals for shelter, food, income, and medicine. In fact, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 15) on sustainable ecosystems acknowledges many developing societies’ close relationship with nature when it calls for increased “capacity of local communities to pursue sustainable livelihood opportunities.” But how is this to be achieved?

COP17 is a game-changer - External link

In every corner of the world, wild plants and animals are under intense pressure as a result of habitat destruction, climate change, over-exploitation and illegal trade, which is taking place on an industrial scale. This is why, at the start of CITES #CoP17, I said the Johannesburg World Wildlife Conference was ‘critical’ to securing the future of wildlife.

Opening Ceremony Speech by John E. Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES at the seventeenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties


John E. Scanlon, CITES Secretary General

Opening Ceremony Speech

Johannesburg, 24 September 2016


Honourable Ministers

Distinguished Guests

Friends and colleagues


Address by Mr John E. Scanlon, CITES Secretary-General for the reception organized by Tusk

Time for Change

Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, 22 September, 2016

Address by John E. Scanlon, CITES Secretary General


Thank you Hugh.

Tackling corruption will deal a lethal blow to the illegal wildlife trade - Op-Ed - External link

Talk of prohibiting, preventing and countering corruption must take centre stage when signatories to the Cites treaty on regulating the international trade in wildlife meet in Johannesburg this weekend.

The world is witnessing an unprecedented surge in wildlife trafficking that is stealing the irreplaceable natural wealth of countries, greatly hindering development, paralysing efforts to eradicate poverty, and undermining conservation efforts. This illicit trade in wildlife is well organised, transnational and happening across every region.

Illicit wildlife trafficking is about people - they alone can fix it - External link

The latest CITES meeting on 24 September in Johannesburg will be one of the most critical meetings in the Convention’s 43 year history.

The evils of the international drug trade, weapons smuggling, and human trafficking are well known. Drug turf wars devastate neighbourhoods while addicts leave behind the shattered lives of their families. The illicit weapons trade arms terrorists, brutal militias, and street gangs, while people smugglers fill leaky boats with desperate refugees and brothels with enslaved sex workers.

In a world of 7 billion people how can we protect wildlife? - Op-ed | External link

Consumers and collectors want sturgeon caviar, snakeskin bags, shark meat and fins, wild snowdrop bulbs, precious rosewood furniture, and quality agarwood oil, as well as rare birds, reptiles, cacti and orchids. But they rarely stop to think about their origins. There are now over seven billion people consuming biodiversity every day in the form of medicines, food, clothing, furniture, perfumes and luxury goods. Demand for products drawn from nature is increasing, and with it pressure is growing on some of our wildlife species.

Empowering Youth To Secure The Future Of Wildlife

“The future is in your hands.” This is an oft-repeated statement in remarks about young people meant to inspire them.
But frankly, it can also be read as a cop out, a statement that implies abdication of responsibility from our generation, as in “we’ve done all we can—it’s up to them now ...”We do not subscribe to this view.

Welcoming remarks by Mr John E. Scanlon, CITES Secretary-General for Regional Preparatory meetings for CITES CoP17 and CBD COP13


Representatives of Parties to CITES and the CBD, country representatives from hosting countries, colleagues from Convention Secretariats, regional partners, resource persons, ladies and gentleman.