In a statement at the commencement of International Year of Forests, the CITES Secretary General highlighted the Convention's work to ensure the sustainable use of commercial tree species and urged active cooperation to achieve the conservation and sustainable use of the world's forests.
31 January 2011: John Scanlon, Secretary General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), recalling that 2011 is both the start of the UN Decade on Biodiversity and the International Year of Forests (IYF), has announced that CITES is responding to the UN General Assembly call for governments, relevant regional and international organizations, and major groups to support activities related to IYF.
Scanlon highlighted the CITES framework for tracing international trade in the approximately 34,000 species it protects (which includes around 200 tree species) and ensuring that their derivative products are from legal and sustainable sources. He indicated that the number of tree species protected by the Convention has risen in recent years, partly through the increase in exploitation and partly because the Convention is increasingly seen as an effective tool for ensuring sustainable use of commercial tree species, and described, inter alia, increasing calls for inclusion of commercially-important native trees in Appendix III (species subject to domestic regulation by a party requesting the cooperation of other parties to control international trade in that species).
Scanlon urged active cooperation to achieve the conservation and sustainable use of the world’s forests, referring to CITES’ existing collaboration with key international organizations in the field such as the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) as well as efforts that are expected to come to fruition in 2011, including cooperation with: the Forestry Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); the UN Environment Programme (UNEP); the Global Environment Facility (GEF); the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); and the International Consortium to Combat Wildlife Crime.
He emphasized that the CITES Secretariat will pay particular attention to the goals of the IYF, and will be doing its best to further promote the important role of the Convention in achieving better forest management for the benefit of forest species and of the people who depend upon them. (CITES Secretary General Scanlon’s IYF Statement)