Online Workshop on Conservation of Amphibians (Amphibia spp.)
Opening Remarks by CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero
28 November 2023
Greetings to each of you joining from various corners of the globe for this online workshop on the status, management and trade in amphibians, in support of CITES Decision 19.197.
It is an honour to welcome you to this virtual gathering, where our shared commitment to the conservation of our planet's amphibious inhabitants brings experts, policymakers, and stakeholders together in the face of evolving challenges, with a common purpose: ensuring that amphibians will remain in the wild for future generations.
Amphibians are thought to be the most threatened class of vertebrates globally - with millions of specimens traded internationally every year for a variety of reasons, ranging from pets, to food, to specimens for biological research.
A recent Global Amphibian Assessment indicated that 41% of over 8,000 species assessed are now categorized as Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This compares with 13% of birds, 27% of mammals and 21% of reptiles.
Amphibians, with their unique ecological roles and remarkable diversity, play a crucial part in maintaining the delicate balance of our ecosystems. The threats they encounter, ranging from habitat loss to the threat from diseases such as chytrid fungus and ranavirus, to the impacts of international trade, necessitate our collective focus and collaboration.
The online format of this workshop, while different from traditional in-person gatherings, provides us with a valuable opportunity to connect and exchange ideas in an innovative way.
We are grateful to the European Union and Switzerland for providing the funding for this workshop and the preparation of the background studies that will help to inform the discussions. This background material has been prepared in collaboration with IUCN and we thank them for their work in this regard.
As we navigate the digital realm, let us foster an environment of open dialogue, mutual respect, and collaboration. I encourage you to actively engage with the process and contribute your expertise to the collective pool of knowledge.
I have no doubt that the outcomes of this online workshop will serve as a foundation for future initiatives, reinforcing our shared commitment to the conservation of amphibians on a global scale.
Thank you all for your dedication, and I look forward to the fruitful discussions and insights that will emerge from our time together during this process.