Four decades since South Africa became a Party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the 17th Conference of Parties to CITES (CoP17) will take place on South African soil. We look forward to welcoming CITES Parties and observers to our beautiful country.
I urge all delegates to use the opportunity to engage in robust discussions and come up with resolutions that take forward the work already underway around the trade in flora and fauna. I also invite delegates to experience South Africa's biodiversity and embrace the country's diverse cultural and historical heritage.
South Africa was amongst the first States to join CITES, just a few months after it came into effect in 1975, and the country has been a very active participant in the work of the Convention ever since. It is a highly appropriate location for the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (#CITESCoP17) given the frontline wildlife challenges and opportunities being tackled on the African continent.
Africa is home to a vast array of CITES-listed species and South Africa is globally recognised for ‘the Big Five’. Holding the Conference of the Parties in such surroundings should inspire all delegates, and CITES Parties and observers look forward to meeting in South Africa in 2016 for the world wildlife conference.