The conference of 183 member states will run until 28 August. Fifty-seven proposals to amend the protected species listed in the appendices will be discussed, including proposals on elephants, giraffes, crowned cranes, reptiles, rays and sharks, and tropical woods. More than 80 different topics on the implementation and further development of CITES have also been submitted.
The Swiss delegation, led by Matthias Lörtscher, Head of the Species Conservation and Third-Country Imports Division at the FSVO, supports proposals for greater protection if scientifically proven and in line with the Convention criteria. However, the delegation is opposed to general prohibitions and advocates pragmatic solutions wherever possible.
Switzerland itself has submitted a proposal on the trade in marine ornamental fishes. The large volume of trade in these fishes is currently subject only to limited monitoring by CITES. Switzerland is therefore calling for investigations to establish the sustainability of trade in marine ornamental fishes.
Switzerland is also committed to digitalising enforcement work such as the issuance of permits. This will make permitting procedures more transparent, more efficient and more secure against forgery, leaving more time for other work such as inspections, sustainability assessments or criminal proceedings. This is in Switzerland’s direct interests as, of all the Parties, it issues by far the largest numbers of CITES certificates.