John Macfarlane Sellar is currently the Senior Officer, Anti-smuggling, Fraud and Organized Crime in the United Nations’ CITES Secretariat (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), Geneva, Switzerland. He has served with the Secretariat since October 1997.
His duties include assisting Parties to the Convention to enforce CITES by: providing technical advice; assisting in the coordination of international investigations regarding wildlife crime; undertaking verification and assessment missions; maintaining an overview of world-wide illegal trade; collating, analyzing and disseminating intelligence; issuing intelligence alerts providing targeting information; liaising with Interpol, the World Customs Organization, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and national and regional law enforcement bodies on a routine basis; preparing and delivering specialized and general law enforcement training; and identifying Parties where illegal trade occurs at significant levels and bringing this to the attention of the Standing Committee and Conference of the Parties.
Prior to joining the United Nations, he served as an officer in the Scottish Police Service from 1973 for 24 years, during which time he was involved in various forms of policing. He had a long period of service as a detective; investigating the full range of crimes, including murders, rapes, prison riots and human rights abuse cases. Immediately prior to moving to CITES, he was in charge of an area in Scotland where royal security and anti-terrorism activities featured prominently in his work.
Since joining CITES, Sellar has undertaken over 140 missions to 50 different countries and territories, including specialized law enforcement assessment missions regarding the illegal trade in caviar, ivory, Tibetan antelope and tiger that resulted in changes to national legislation and enforcement policies. He has lectured at several major conferences and other events around the world, including some devoted to transnational organized crime and terrorism, at such venues as Interpol headquarters, the Courmayeur Research Foundation, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, the United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, the University of California (Los Angeles), the University of Lausanne and the United Nations University.