A spectacular opening ceremony with drums and traditional dancing marked the formal start of the CITES meeting here in Doha.
Around 40 dancers performed before a packed audience - and when I've found the cable to download photos from my camera, a picture of them will be posted here.
Afterwards there was the customary speeches including one by the outgoing Secretary-General Willem Wijnstekers an eloquent one by Achim Steiner Director General of UNEP.
The lack of budget hindering implementation of the Convention was noted as a significant problem that needs to be addressed. But more on that as the meeting unravels...
Media-wise, things starting to pick up nicely: a great piece by TRAFFIC on elephants and ivory sales in New Scientist, also mention in a BBC News piece about the meeting, DPA and AFP coverage.
Meanwhile, three senior staff were interviewed live by Al Jazeera TV, who have a camera crew at the meeting itself. If you didn't catch them live, don't worry, they'll be repeated till the next round, finally Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News Network broadcast an interview with TRAFFIC on two issues particularly relevant to Canada.