Secretary-General of CITES

A Virtuous Cycle for Conservation - External link to CITES Secretary-General's Op Ed

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 to CITES Secretary-General's Op Ed

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.

CITES Secretary-General's opening ceremony speech at the seventeenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties - Johannesburg, South Africa


John E. Scanlon, CITES Secretary General

Opening Ceremony Speech

Johannesburg, 24 September 2016


Honourable Ministers

Distinguished Guests

Friends and colleagues


CITES Secretary-General's address at the CITES CoP17 Ministerial Lekgotla - 23 September 2016 - Johannesburg, South Africa

CITES CoP17 - Ministerial Lekgotla - 23 September 2016, Johannesburg

Address by John E. Scanlon, Secretary-General CITES

‘CITES and its role in advancing the achievement of the SDGs through legal and sustainable trade and tackling illegal trade in wildlife’

CITES Secretary-General's address for the reception organized by Tusk - Johannesburg, South Africa

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 - External link to CITES Secretary-General's Op Ed

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 to CITES Secretary-General's Op Ed

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? - External link to CITES Secretary-General's Op Ed

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 - External link to CITES Secretary-General's Op Ed

“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.

CITES Secretary-General's opening remarks 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.