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CITES to move wildlife trade summit from Colombo to Geneva this August

13 / 06 / 2019, Mongabaycom News

More than seven weeks after a series of deadly Easter Sunday bombings rocked Sri Lanka, an international summit on the wildlife trade originally scheduled to take place in Colombo last May has now been shifted to Geneva. The announcement on the rescheduling of the 18th Meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP18) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) was made June 12, amid growing concern from conservationists over the delay. The meeting will now take place from Aug. 17 to 28 in Geneva, home to the CITES headquarters, CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero said in a statement. “This conclusion was reached after a consultation process with the CITES Standing Committee where they expressed their security and other concerns, and after careful consideration of the report of the mission of the United Nations Department of Safety and Security to Sri Lanka to assess the security situation on the ground, and discussions with the Sri Lankan government,” Higuero said. Sri Lanka’s commercial capital, Colombo, had been slated to host the top-level event from May 23 through June 3. But organizers announced April 26 that the event was indefinitely postponed, in the aftermath of the devastating bomb blasts that struck a series of churches and hotels in Colombo and surrounding areas on April 21 and claimed 258 lives. The U.N., whose environmental agency administers the CITES Secretariat, carried out a security assessment to determine whether the summit could still be held in Sri Lanka, with local organizers hopeful it would…

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