The International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC) welcomes the new Secretary General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Secretariat, Ms. Ivonne Higuero.
Ms. Higuero is an environmental economist with a career spanning 26 years in international organizations in the area of sustainable development. She has experience working at the global, regional and national levels, and engaging with stakeholders across the public and private sectors. During her 24 years with the UN, she has held varied roles managing financial and human resources, overseeing the implementation of programs of work and the provision of secretariat services to intergovernmental bodies.
The aim of CITES is to conserve biodiversity and contribute to its sustainable use and it does this by ensuring that no species of wild fauna or flora is unsustainably exploited for international trade. CITES does not stop all trade, but dictates that the trade that does occur must be legal, sustainable, and traceable.
The CIC has always actively participated and contributed to the dialogue on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in CITES meetings and it follows the changes in CITES regulations. Therefore, every year the CIC supports the publication of new editions of “The Evolution of CITES”, written by Willem Wijnstekers, the former Secretary General of CITES. The publication helps everyone, Parties and hunters alike, to better understand the detailed workings of CITES and the critical role it plays in the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
The hunting and conservation communities have long supported the need to regulate trade in game species in order to maintain viable populations in the wild. Hunting has been recognized for its cultural and recreational values. The sustainable use of wild species, whether consumptive or non-consumptive, can provide an economically viable option for the conservation of biodiversity. By Resolution, CITES Parties have recognized that “commercial trade may be beneficial to the conservation of species and ecosystems, and/or to the development of local people, when carried out at levels that are not detrimental to the survival of the species”.
Following one of the 3 Priority Areas of the CIC, “To combat wildlife crime”, the CIC supports anti-poaching efforts and wildlife law enforcement, to tackle and address illegal trade.
The CIC has conservation objectives for game species, which are an irreplaceable part of the natural systems of the earth and which must be protected for current and future generations. These objectives support CITES as well as other biodiversity-related conventions that work collaboratively for the conservation and sustainable use of wild species. The interests of the hunting community will often extend beyond the particular mandate of CITES, to matters such as the provision of protected areas, which is, historically, perhaps the best known inter-relationship between hunters and biodiversity.
As one of the active stakeholders in the debate on sustainable use policy, the CIC reaches out to governments at the national level to have its views and experiences taken into account when their biodiversity strategies and action plans are revised.
We look forward to collaborating with Ms. Higuero on these issues and congratulate her on her appointment to this important position.