Day One

After months of living and breathing CITES day and night, there’s a certain amount of relief that the opening ceremony is now over and the real business of the day can begin. Delegates are still flying in from all over the world but the majority of IUCN’s CITES team is now in Doha, writes Dena Cator, Species Survival Commission Network Support Officer.

Dena Cator, Species Survival Commission Network Support Officer Photo: IUCN

I’d imagined that getting to grips with temperatures in the late 30s would take some getting used to but ice cold air-conditioning in our hotel and the conference centre means that people have been reaching for sweaters instead of chilled bottles of water to cool down. It’s only when you step outside that the full force of heat hits you.

But it’s inside the conference centre, the Sheraton hotel, that matters. And this is where discussions are likely to become heated. Marine issues will be a key focus of this CITES conference, with more commercially exploited species being considered for regulation. Yesterday, Standing Committee 59 took place and there was brief discussion on such topics as Asian big cats and Great Apes but the more substantive details will be discussed during CoP15. Also, at SC59 John Scanlon, former head of the IUCN Law Centre was named as the new Secretary General of CITES. IUCN is giving parties the scientific facts they need to help them make their decisions which will have impacts on both endangered species and economies.

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