The CITES Secretariat

John E. Scanlon, Secretary-General

The CITES Secretariat is administered by UNEP and is located at Geneva, Switzerland. It has a pivotal role, fundamental to the Convention and its functions are laid down in Article XII of the text of the Convention. They include:

  • playing a coordinating, advisory and servicing role in the working of the Convention;
  • assisting with communication and monitoring the implementation of the Convention to ensure that its provisions are respected;
  • arranging meetings of the Conference of the Parties and of the permanent Committees at regular intervals and servicing those meetings (i.e. organizing them, preparing and circulating meeting documents, making necessary arrangements for delegates to attend the meetings, providing advice and support, etc.);
  • providing assistance in the fields of legislation, enforcement, science and training;
  • undertaking, under agreed programmes, occasional scientific and technical studies into issues affecting the implementation of the Convention;
  • making recommendations regarding the implementation of the Convention;
  • acting as the repository for the reports, sample permits and other information submitted by the Parties;
  • distributing information relevant to several or all Parties, for example, proposals to amend the Appendices, sample permits, information about enforcement problems, national legislation, reference material or news of a new Party;
  • issuing new editions of Appendices I, II and III, whenever there is a change, as well as of the Resolutions and Decisions adopted by the Conference of the Parties at its meetings, and information to assist identification of species listed in the Appendices; and
  • preparing annual reports to the Parties on its own work and on the implementation of the Convention;

The Secretariat distributes information to the Parties mostly through meeting documents and Notifications. Except in very few cases, all documents are made available in the three working languages of the Convention (English, French and Spanish) and are posted on this website.

Here is a list of the staff who are currently working at the Secretariat. The following charts explain how the Secretariat is organized:

  • The organizational chart for the Secretariat, which shows how the Secretariat organizes itself to deliver to the Parties the services they have requested of the Secretariat;
  • The functional chart for the Secretariat, which sets out in broad terms the functions to be carried out by the Secretariat in responding to the needs and expectations of the Parties;
  • The staffing chart for the Secretariat, which shows how staff is allocated within the Secretariat to deliver against these functions most effectively, efficiently and transparently.

Cooperation with other organizations

In an effort to realize Goal 3 of the CITES Strategic Vision: 2008-2020 ,a number of general cooperation agreements with other organizations have been established. Memoranda of Understanding are located in the Cooperation and partnerships section of the CITES website.