CITES年會中，爭議多年的象牙貿易管制議題，是最主要討論議程之一。CITES從1989年始，禁止國際商業象牙貿易。然而，波札那及納米比亞希望能放鬆交易管制；另一方面，肯亞及馬利等境內有許多非洲象分佈的國家，則在眾多重啟象牙貿易的呼聲中，提議再延長20年貿易禁令。保育人士認為，若解除現今象牙貿易禁令，將會對世界的大象帶來災難。英國「自由基金會」(Free Foundation)總裁兼「物種存續網」(Species Survival Network)執行長指出，「有強力證據指出，非法獲取象牙是象牙貿易禁令頒布17年來的最高峰，因此，要求放寬象牙貿易限制的提議，實在無法說服大家。」他繼續說：「開放任何的合法象牙貿易，均將會使現存亞、非洲的象群蒙受致命的生存壓力」。
From June 3 to 15, more than a thousand delegates from 171 countries will convene to determine the fate of 40 animal and plant species at risk of over-exploitation due to international trade. Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, CITES, are concerned about overfishing, excessive logging, whaling and the elephant ivory trade.
CITES banned the international commercial ivory trade in 1989, but the controversy over trade in African elephant ivory is once again on the CITES agenda.
Botswana and Namibia have petitioned for the weakening of international trade controls, while, Kenya and Mali, supported by numerous other African elephant range states, propose the establishment of a 20 year moratorium on even considering renewal of elephant ivory trade.
Conservationists say lifting the current ban on trading in elephant ivory could be disastrous for elephant populations worldwide.
"Proposals to further relax the current prohibition on trade in elephant ivory are particularly indefensible when evidence strongly suggests that seizures of illegal ivory are at their highest level since the ban was first introduced 17 years ago," Travers said.
"Allowing any legal trade in ivory simply will add to the deadly pressure already experienced by many elephant populations across Africa and Asia," said Travers.
This year’s meeting promises to be dominated by marine species issues. Japan has submitted a document proposing a process to circumvent international prohibitions on whaling and international commercial trade in whale products.
CITES Parties will also consider increasing protection for sawfish, cardinal fish, the Brazilian population of the spiny lobster - two species of sharks, the porbeagle and the spiny dogfish.