CITES CoP18 Postponed. Statement from Y4WC.
After learning of the shocking incidents in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, we express our deepest condolences to the victims and their families and the whole of the Sri Lankan nation.
The CITES CoP18 was due to take place in Colombo in May of 2019, but due to these incidents the decision was made, by the CITES Secretariat, to postpone CoP18 until further notice. With this, the Y4WC forum has also been postponed. This is an unfortunate decision but we are sure you understand the extraordinary nature of the situation. Currently, we are waiting on news from the Sri Lankan Government and CITES Secretariat who are monitoring the situation and will provide more information before continuing.
Y4WC is committed to the safety and security of our staff, partners and delegates and we will take the appropriate and necessary steps to ensure this.
Message from Y4WC Co-Director and project organizer Josephine Crouch:
“The news from Sri Lanka has been devastating. The first thing we did was get in touch with our local partners and ensured that they were all safe. Which thankfully they were. Secondly, we had to break the news to our chosen delegates from around the world. After all the hard work they had put into achieving this opportunity, it was heart-breaking to have to tell them the news that the CoP and the forum may not go ahead as planned. That being said, the entire Y4WC team and our partners have been working on this project for over a year, and are not willing to let our efforts go to waste! We are dedicated to our mission and objectives and will be planning an alternative program to continue our work with the delegates and wider Y4WC network.
It is important to us that ending illegal wildlife trafficking and promoting a better, more sustainable world for people and wildlife remains a priority. In the midst of a human-caused extinction crisis, we must not let terror incidents and violence distract us from doing vital and important conservation work, including ensuring that applicable policy that compliments conservation practices is negotiated and formed. CITES is formed of 183 government parties from around the world, attended by local and international NGOs and stakeholders, and for the first time formally early-career conservationists. It is in this collaborative and inclusive spirit we must continue to build a better planet. For us, it starts with our commitment to wildlife conservation.
Thank you and #StayWild”.