She welcomed the votes on Monday, and urged nations to concentrate on closing domestic ivory markets and combating the illegal international trade.
A recent census showed a 30-percent decline in the savannah elephant population over seven years, and new data released by wildlife monitor TRAFFIC showed a "rising trend in large raw ivory shipments" last year.
A coalition of 29 African countries is pressing for all African elephants to be given an Annex 1 CITES listing, which bans all international trade, but other delegates believe this would fuel the booming illegal market.
The conference in Johannesburg, which ends on Wednesday, is sifting through 62 proposals to tighten or loosen trade restrictions on around 500 species.
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Delegates at the weekend adopted a recommendation aimed at clamping down on domestic ivory markets "contributing to poaching or illegal trade."
Illegal trade in wildlife is valued at around $20 billion (18 billion euros) a year, according to CITES.
Vietnam, a key consumer of rhino horn, has faced severe criticism at the conference, which is held every three years.
The CITES treaty, signed by 182 countries and the European Union, protects about 5,600 animal and 30,000 plant species from over-exploitation through commercial trade.
Delegates have already voted to ban all international trade in African grey parrots, one of the world's most trafficked birds, and in shy, scale-covered pangolin.