Statement by Margaret Everson
Principal Deputy Director, US Fish and Wildlife Service
at the closing of the 18th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES
On behalf of the United States Government and the President, I want to thank the Secretariat and the Swiss Government for their hospitality and flexibility in hosting this successful Conference of the Parties. I also want to thank both Committee Chairs, Rod Hayes and Craig Hoover, and extend our appreciation to them for leading us through a most ambitious and important agenda. Both gentlemen exhibited exceptional patience and good humor as we tackled many important agenda items.
It was an honor for me to co-lead the U.S. delegation. It has been uplifting to see the collaboration and cooperation between the Parties as we worked together on some very challenging issues to achieve goals of mutual benefit to all of us. The passion for our common conservation mission that I have witnessed during this conference has been truly heartwarming and inspirational. As the mother of two young girls, I leave the CoP today more confident than ever of the future for our children, the world, and the many species CITES is designed to conserve.
Not too far from here, the G7 was also meeting earlier this week. While that significant international forum was created to bring the world’s largest economies together to discuss economic growth, we too as delegates to CITES CoP18, play a critical role in ensuring continued economic growth. CITES, as the treaty entrusted with ensuring that international trade in plants and animals does not threaten their survival in the wild, can also support economic growth. The work we do together here is critical to both economic and wildlife health around the world.
Thank you again, Mr. Chair, to everyone who has contributed to this successful CoP. The United States looks forward to our next Conference of the Parties in beautiful Costa Rica.