As Secretary General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), John Scanlon has to juggle the complexities, controversies and policies around trade in species world wide. This is no easy task, and with wildlife poaching at an all time high, John is happy to argue the critical importance of a body like CITES.
As part of his job, John travels a lot. On and off planes he spends much of his time meeting with heads of state, royalty, local communities, NGO’s, military and an assortment of other government agencies within the 183 parties signed to the convention.
In speaking to John there is little to suggest he feels weariness from his monumental tasks and the travel seems to have done little to dampen his enthusiasm for his job. Happy to have a laugh off record, he is the consummate professional when speaking about his responsibilities as the Secretary General.
As the critical Conference of the Parties (CoP17) takes place later this year in Johannesburg, in this episode of MHP, John discusses some of the critical challenges involved in governing the convention, bearing witness to the burning of Ivory, why CITES must exist and if wildlife campaigns with celebrities really make a difference.
John’s road to becoming Secretary General in 2010 began with a childhood spent in nature in the Adelaide Hills of Australia. With his law degree he co-founded one of the first environmental law practices in Australia. Amongst his various career positions he has served as the head of the law program at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and has worked for and been recognised by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for his creative approaches to combatting the illegal wildlife trade. He received an Order of Australia in 2011 for his role in national and international environmental law.
You can find out more about John E. Scanlon and CITES at: https://www.cites.org
CoP17 will take place in Johannesburg 24 September to 5 October 2016
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