Secretary of State, Ministers, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am enormously grateful to you all I must say for taking the trouble to attend this unbelievably important meeting, as I know that some of you have travelled tremendously long distances and may very well be suffering from some appalling jetlag or other.
I also am hugely grateful to Kate Silverton for giving up her precious time. I know she’s taken a huge interest in this particular subject for some time. Having been lucky enough to sit next to her at dinner once or twice I know how much she minds. So it really is very kind of you Kate, today.
I particularly appreciate the fact that Mr. Owen Paterson, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has agreed to join me in hosting this meeting, and I also owe a particular debt of gratitude to W.W.F. U.K. (of which I became President two years ago), as well as to TRAFFIC and the I.U.C.N. Their knowledge and expertise have been invaluable to the members of my I.S.U. in putting together this very productive gathering.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the fact that my son is here today, too, in order to support his aging father is hugely appreciated, as I know that his knowledge of, and indeed love for, Africa, its wildlife and its people has not only helped him to understand why this gathering is so important, but has meant that he has already been much involved in the field of conservation with for instance the Tusk Trust of which he is patron and indeed other organizations. I’m only sorry of course that my father could not be here. He of course has been involved for some many years in this whole question of conservation and indeed the relationship between species and their habitats and those communities who depend so much on those habitats and the biodiversity that they provide. More....