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CITES appoints timber officer
Geneva, 4 February 2008 – In response to the concern expressed
by governments about losing tree species through unsustainable
and illegal international trade, the Secretariat of the Convention
on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and
Flora (CITES) has announced today the appointment of a timber
officer, Mr Neil Ellis. This appointment has been made possible
thanks to the generous support of the Government of Australia.
The number of tree species subject to strict trade regulations
under CITES has seen a rapid rise in recent years. Since 2002,
over 50 commercially valuable species have been included in CITES
Appendix II and therefore require the issuance of an export permit
to enter international trade. These species are exploited for
timber, medicinal extracts, essence, as ornamental trees or other,
and include the bigleaf mahogany, the palo brasil, the rosewood,
Asian yews, all ramin and agarwood species, and various palm trees.
The appointment of a new timber officer will enhance coordination
of CITES efforts to attain sustainable international trade in
In 2007 the CITES Secretariat partnered with the International
Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) to secure a 3 million euro
grant from the European Commission for a project designed to improve
countries' capacity to implement CITES for certain key species
in South America, West Africa and Southeast Asia: the African
teak, the bigleaf mahogany and ramin species. The new officer
will play a major role in implementing this project.
“Delivering real change on the ground to curb illegal
logging and over-exploitation of commercially valuable tree species
is a major challenge for exporting countries”, said CITES
Secretary-General Mr Willem Wijnstekers. “In order to ensure
that forests carry on supporting a rich biodiversity and mitigating
the effects of climate change, improvements in the sustainability
of the timber industry must be achieved. Otherwise the significant
economic benefits this activity brings will be short term”,
Mr Ellis is a resource and environmental management scientist
with 13 years' experience in the Australian Government, the last
four of which were as Director of the CITES Management Authority
within the Australian Government Department of the Environment,
Water, Heritage and the Arts.
Note to journalists:
For more information, please see www.cites.org or contact Juan
Carlos Vasquez at +41 22 917 8156 or .
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