The Swiss-based eponymous Franz Weber Foundation (FFW) was launched in 1975. But it first came to world attention in 1977, when Franz Weber, a former journalist, joined the film star Brigitte Bardot in Canada to protest against seal hunting. FFW’s mission is to use investigations, exposés, debates and lobbying to increase biodiversity and to maintain natural environments in an ‘unspoiled’ condition.
Franz Weber Foundation plays a major role within CITES because it funds and manages from Switzerland the African Elephant Coalition (AEC), which represents 32 African range states, some of which have barely any elephants and others none at all. The AEC at CITES’ CoPs repeatedly tables proposals to put all of the world’s elephants in appendix I. And it uses its voting power to keep in place prohibitions on ivory sales and all other trade in elephant-related derivatives, including skins and hair. FFW opposes trophy hunting and the selling of wild elephants to zoos and circuses.
Before CoP-18, FFW and the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) met in Kenya at the AEC Summit meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. The main topic on the agenda was to, in FFW’s words, ‘discuss the joint strategy in view of the upcoming CoP-18’. Also, Franz Weber Foundation has been known to host at its expense the entire AEC – involving delegates from all 32 member states – at events held on the spectacular lakeside-frontage in Montreux, Switzerland.
Franz Weber Foundation is a militant opponent of the ornamental fish trade, which it accuses of plundering wild stock to supply private and public aquariums. According to FFW, it was its lobbying that persuaded the European Union and the Unites States of America to submit a proposal to CITES CoP-18, which called for a thorough investigation into international trade of coral reef fish. This proposal was adopted by consensus and its findings will be discussed at CoP-19.
Franz Weber Foundation is a major player in Swiss politics. It regularly launches petitions and funds campaigns that trigger and win national law-making referenda. For example, to ban hunting, reduce noise pollution, prevent the construction of second homes and to call a halt to road construction.
Anna Zangger, Head of International Campaigns.
President of the five-strong board is Vera Weber.