Montreal, 26th October 2011—A new United Nations report says resolving the crisis in the harvesting of bushmeat is possible if governments combine new management models, including community-based management, game-ranching and hunting tourism, with new mechanisms for monitoring and law enforcement.
The report, Livelihood Alternatives for the Unsustainable Use of Bushmeat (PDF, 1.2 MB) (CBD Technical Series No. 60) prepared for the Bushmeat Liaison Group of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), with assistance from TRAFFIC and financial support from the European Union, comes at a time when the overexploitation of wild mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians is increasingly threatening food security and livelihoods in many tropical and subtropical countries and is a major cause of biodiversity loss.
International and domestic commercial, and often illegal, trade in the meat and other parts of wild animals (“bushmeat”) is growing significantly and is replacing legitimate subsistence hunting. Together with population growth, poverty in rural areas and increased urban consumption, the absence of livelihood alternatives to bushmeat hunting and trade is a major factor contributing to unsustainable levels of bushmeat harvesting.
"This study lies at the nexus of conservation and development, biodiversity and human livelihoods,” Steven Broad, Executive Director of TRAFFIC.
Key recommendations of the report include:
• Implement community wildlife management and other improved wildlife management approaches, such as game-ranching and hunting tourism;
• Increase raising of “mini-livestock'”(wild animals such as cane rats raised in small farms);
• Support sustainable harvesting of non-timber forest products, for example, through bee keeping.
The report also recognizes the need to clarify and define land-tenure and access rights, improve monitoring of bushmeat harvesting and trade, and enhance bushmeat-related law enforcement.
The findings are the results of discussions by 55 experts representing 43 Governments and United Nations agencies, international and national organizations, and indigenous and local-community organizations, who met in Nairobi from 7 to 10 June 2011.
Participants in the meeting recognized that classic approaches and international efforts are not reversing this growing trend of unsustainable bushmeat harvesting, and adopted a set of recommendations to the international community and to concerned national Governments and stakeholders.
Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, said: “I trust that this publication will encourage concrete action to halt the overharvesting of bushmeat and the loss of biodiversity, and thus maintain essential ecosystem services and improve the quality of life for the rural poor in tropical and subtropical countries.”
Steven Broad, Executive Director of TRAFFIC, said: “Sustainable utilization of wild resources can both guarantee human well-being and the long-term survival of those animal species targeted for consumption by millions of people world-wide. This study lies at the nexus of conservation and development, biodiversity and human livelihoods.”
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
Opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and entering into force in December 1993, the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international treaty for the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of the components of biodiversity and the equitable sharing of the benefits derived from the use of genetic resources. With 193 Parties, the Convention has near universal participation among countries. The Convention seeks to address all threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services, including threats from climate change, through scientific assessments, the development of tools, incentives and processes, the transfer of technologies and good practices and the full and active involvement of relevant stakeholders including indigenous and local communities, youth, non-governmental organizations, women and the business community. The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety is a subsidiary agreement to the Convention. It seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology. To date, 160 countries plus the European Union have ratified the Cartagena Protocol. The Secretariat of the Convention and its Cartagena Protocol is located in Montreal. For more information visit www.cbd.int
TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, works to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature. TRAFFIC is a joint programme of IUCN and WWF.
The CBD Liaison Group on Bushmeat
In 2008, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity identified the unsustainable hunting of bushmeat, and its effect on non-target species, as a priority to be addressed by Parties (decision IX/5). In October 2009, the Liaison Group on Bushmeat held its first meeting and developed national and international recommendations towards the sustainable use of bushmeat, based on information contained in CBD Technical Series No. 33, Conservation and Use of Wildlife-Based Resources: The Bushmeat Crisis. The meeting was convened in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as well as the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC). The second meeting of the Liaison Group on Bushmeat was convened in Nairobi from 7 to 10 June 2011, jointly with the CITES Central Africa Bushmeat Working Group. The Group consists of more than 50 experts from 20 countries, and more than 20 international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and indigenous and local community representatives.
The CBD Liaison Group on Bushmeat defines bushmeat (or wild meat) hunting as the harvesting of wild animals in tropical and sub-tropical countries for food and for non-food purposes, including for medicinal use.
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