The black duiker: managed hunting provides a sustainable source of wild meat for local communities © cuatrok77 / Creative Commons 2.0

The black duiker: managed hunting provides a sustainable source of wild meat for local communities © cuatrok77 / Creative Commons 2.0


Published 12 December 2017

Growing attention to sustainable wildlife management in international biodiversity agreements

Montreal, Canada, 12th December 2017—The issue of sustainable wildlife management in all its dimensions—ranging from sustainability tools and engagement of local communities to food security and sustainable livelihoods—is receiving growing attention from biodiversity conventions such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES).

The 21st meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-21) of the CBD opened this week in Montreal, Canada, and on the agenda are discussions on guidance that has been developed for a sustainable wild meat sector. 

The guidance aims to support the work of the CBD Parties and other stakeholders to promote, implement and accelerate integrated action and initiatives to ensure that the supply of wild meat is sustainably managed at the source; control the excessive demand for wild meat in towns and cities; and create an enabling environment for the sustainable management of wild meat. 

TRAFFIC's Director of Policy Sabri Zain welcomed the development of the guidance, noting that it will greatly enhance the governance for a sustainable, participatory and inclusive wild meat sector that will allow for the sound management of the species concerned to sustain their populations and habitats, while considering the socio-economic needs of the local communities involved.

While there has been significantly growing international attention to poaching and illegal wildlife trade at the international political level in recent years, there is an urgent need for more work to be done to ensure that the related issue of sustainable wildlife management receives similar profile and attention. 

Sabri Zain, TRAFFIC's Director of Policy

Zain stressed that for efforts aimed at tackling poaching and illegal wildlife trade to be effective and sustainable in the long term, they need to be complemented by efforts to ensure the sound management of wildlife species that takes into account the socio-economic needs of human populations and other ecosystem functions. “We hope that the development of the wild meat guidance can serve as a model for the application of such sound management.”

Similar progress was made earlier this month at the 69th Meeting of the CITES Standing Committee (SC69), where working groups were established to address the issues of CITES and livelihoods, food security and engagement of local communities. “The work of these Working Groups will not only enhance the effectiveness of CITES, particularly with regard to sustainable use but will also better take into account socio-economic impacts of CITES decisions, including effects on livelihoods, and ensure stronger alignment between CITES and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” Zain added.

Making an intervention at SC69 on behalf of the Collaborative Partnership on Sustainable Wildlife Management (CPW), the Forestry Officer of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Kristina Rodina said that rural communities that live in close proximity to wildlife are best placed to contribute to its sustainable management and conservation. “Efforts towards sustainable wildlife management can benefit from their traditional knowledge and practices and they have powerful incentives for conservation when they are able to use and benefit from wildlife.”

“Loss or unsustainable use of wildlife can significantly undermine the livelihoods of such communities. At the same time, however, the same communities bear the cost of living in such close proximity to wildlife, including damage to property and livestock, personal injury and even death,” Rodina added.

The CPW is a voluntary partnership of 14 international organizations, including the Secretariats of the CBD, the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) and CITES, as well as NGOs such as TRAFFIC. The CPW was established pursuant to Decision XI/25 taken at the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, with the aim of promoting the sustainable management of terrestrial vertebrate wildlife in all biomes and geographic areas, contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and to human food security, livelihoods.

“The CPW welcomes the opportunity to contribute our collective knowledge and experience to the Standing Committee’s work on the issue of engagement of rural communities and on livelihoods,” said Rodina. “We also stand ready to support and assist Parties and other stakeholders in line with our respective mandates in ensuring that sustainable wildlife management approaches can play a key role in the conservation of species and the sustainable development of those communities.”