The rainy season’s clouds yielded to a hot tropical sun as the nineteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP19) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) convened in the morning in Panama City, Panama. Warmly welcoming participants, Milciades Concepción, Minister of Environment of Panama, expressed his country's pride at hosting CoP19, which he called the “CoP of the Americas”. He noted that CITES had not met for a CoP in the region in 20 years, and recalled the need to ensure that initiatives and conventions coordinate between themselves to preserve both biodiversity and humanity.
Ivonne Higuero, Secretary-General, CITES, noted that it was “fitting” that the CoP took place in the same period as other meetings on wetlands, biodiversity, and climate change. She stressed that 52 amendment proposals are among the crucial issues to be discussed, as well as issues of representation and engagement with Indigenous peoples, the relations between wildlife crime and habitat degradation, and increased risks of exposures to zoonoses.
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José Gabriel Carrizo, Vice President of Panama, on behalf of President Laurentino Cortizo, welcomed delegates to his country and declared CoP19 officially open. Delegates enjoyed a series of song, video, and dance performances showcasing the natural and cultural splendors of Panama.
During the opening plenary, CoP19 participants addressed administrative and procedural issues. They also discussed proposed amendments to the Rules of Procedure.
In the afternoon, regional groups convened to prepare for the discussions in Committee I and II of the CoP during the following days.
All ENB photos are free to use with attribution. For CITES COP19 please use: Photo by IISD/ENB | Diego Noguera