Skip to Content

Minister Edna Molewa and CITES Secretary General visit venue of the 2016 World Wildlife Conference in Johannesburg

10 September 2015


The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mrs Edna Molewa, and the Secretary-General of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Mr John E. Scanlon, today (10 September 2015) met at the Sandton Convention Centre to discuss areas of mutual interest and preparations for the 17th Conference of Parties to CITES (CITES CoP17) to be held in Johannesburg in 2016.

The Minister and Mr Scanlon were provided with an overview of the City of Johannesburg’s capability and ability to host CITES CoP17. Johannesburg was announced as the host city for CITES CoP17 by the CITES Secretariat and the Department of Environmental Affairs on 19 June 2015.  The Sandton Convention Centre is the chosen venue for the world wildlife conference.

The decision follows an offer by South Africa to host the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) which was accepted by acclamation at the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (Bangkok, March 2013).

The City had, in August 2002, hosted the World Summit on Sustainable Development at which the Johannesburg Declaration was adopted in which countries committed to the interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars of sustainable development — economic development, social development and environmental protection — at the local, national, regional and global levels.

The 2002 Johannesburg Declaration had seen countries declare that through the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development an acceptable of responsibility “to one another, to the greater community of life and to our children”.

A CITES Notification to the Parties provides specific details about the strict deadlines for the submission of documents for the upcoming meeting.

This will be the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES held on the African continent since CITES came into force on 1 July 1975, but the first on the continent since 2000.

The Minister and Mr Scanlon conducted an inspection of the Sandton Convention Centre to appraise themselves of the suitability of the venue to host the more than 2 000 delegates scheduled to attend CITES CoP17.

“We are very proud to be part of CITES.  It is body based on science and it is possible that if 181 countries were not members of CITES there could have been an extinction of several species without anyone noticing. So we are helping the world to preserve species that could be threatened,” said Minister Molewa.

The Minister added that the discussions at CITES CoP17 were expected to see countries debating not only the plight of the rhino, the threats being faced by the African elephant, pangolin and implementation issues such as coordination of initiatives by Parties that arise from evidence-based information that is tabled for decision-making.

Mr Scanlon said:  “This is the place to be on 24 September 2016. There are many items on the agenda and we look forward to a rich debate where countries are expected to make decisions on a way forward on matters of interest.”

The meeting was followed by a site inspection of the venue for CITES CoP17 which will bring the global community together to tackle the world's biggest wildlife challenges and opportunities.

CITES Cop 17 will be held from the 24 September to 2 October 2016.

For media inquiries contact:

Albi Modise
Cell: 083 490 2871


With 181 Parties, CITES remains one of the world's most powerful tools for biodiversity conservation through the regulation of trade in wild fauna and flora. Thousands of species are internationally traded and used by people in their daily lives for food, housing, health care, ecotourism, cosmetics or fashion.

CITES regulates international trade in over 35,000 species of plants and animals, including their products and derivatives, ensuring their survival in the wild with benefits for the livelihoods of local people and the global environment. The CITES permit system seeks to ensure that international trade in listed species is sustainable, legal and traceable.

CITES was signed in Washington D.C. on 3 March 1973.

Learn more about CITES by visiting or connecting to: