We are celebrating today, 12 February 2009, the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin and the 150 anniversary of the publication of his seminal work ‘On the Origin of Species’. Like the species it deals with, CITES has continued to evolve since its origins, building on Darwin's legacy. One of the big lessons from Darwin that we need to remember nowadays is that evolution is key to survival. As we move into a period of uncertainty and dramatic environmental, social, political and economic changes, it is essential for us to continue the evolution of CITES. Many thanks Mr Darwin and happy birthday to you.