(Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international trade agreement aimed at controlling cross-border trade in endangered plant and animal species and preventing their over-exploitation. It was signed in Washington in 1973 and ratified by Switzerland – as one of the first member states ¬– in 1975. Also, the original document is deposited in Switzerland and the CITES Secretariat is located in Geneva. To date, 183 countries have signed the agreement, which protects a total of around 5,800 animal species and 30,000 plant species. The latter are grouped into three categories according to their vulnerability (Annexes I-III). Depending on their classification, the international trade in these species is either prohibited or subject to authorization.
The 69th meeting of the Standing Committee focused on compliance and enforcement issues, the trade in ivory and pangolins as well as Japan's trade in strictly protected sei whales, among many other things. The entire conference program can be viewed here
. The Standing Committee provides the CITES Secretariat with guidelines for the implementation of the Convention and monitors its development and realization within the Secretariat's budget. Switzerland has announced an additional one million Swiss francs per year in support of CITES.
The Standing Committee discussed a number of issues aimed at curbing the ivory trade, including the closure of national ivory markets. Legal markets ultimately enable the smuggling and trading of illegal ivory. The number of animals killed for their tusks has increased dramatically in recent years. Japan was criticized at the conference for its commercial trade in strictly protected sei whales. The country catches these animals on the high seas, outside its national territory, which is why the import of these animals to Japan qualifies as international trade according to the CITES regulations.