Welcome to our third edition of SULiNews. The last few months have been dominated by two major international meetings – the World Conservation Congress and the Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of the Parties. At these meetings ideas have been raised, decisions made, directions set, partnerships announced – with potentially major long-term impacts for the practice of sustainable use of wild resources on the ground. So I encourage you to read the feedback and reports on these meetings here.
At the moment it feels to me that there is little appetite in many quarters for taking ideas and action on sustainable use forward. The intensifying wave of illegal exploitation that is decimating forest elephants in Central Africa, killing over a rhino a day in South Africa, and cleaning out forests from Asia to Latin America is sending conservation discourse back to the familiar prescriptions of enforcement, enforcement, enforcement. Enforcement is of course necessary under any management regime. But if equal attention is not given – with the same level of urgency – to creating incentives (based on use or otherwise) for people to live with and protect biodiversity, and to creating management structures that recognise and empower indigenous people and local communities as key players, it is hard to see how this is going to achieve more than buy a bit of extra time, against the even greater waves of agricultural expansion, land grabs, settlements, resource extraction and so forth.
On a closer to home note, and relatedly, SULi is working with IUCN PACO (Central and West Africa Program) and TRAFFIC developing a project to distil lessons from experience with community based NRM in Cameroon for policy and management on wildmeat. It is being submitted to the Darwin Initiative this month. Mike Murphree, Nathalie Van Vliet, and Lawrence Baya from SULi are all involved. The Sustainability Modeling Group led by David Lusseau, aiming to use agent based modeling and resilience concepts to better understand the dynamics of social-ecological systems of use, is taking shape, with expertise from economics, resource management, and social sciences. Ben Ramalingam, Mike Jones, Mike Murphree again, and Jennifer Strickland-Munro are involved in this, and please do get in touch if you are interested. SULi is also involved with and supporting a process in southern Africa to tackle wildmeat, led by the WCS/ZSL Rangewide Program for Cheetah and Wild Dog.
As most of you will know we are in the slightly painful process at the moment of reviewing and renewing our membership, which was very out of date. Many thanks to all of you who have expressed your interest in participating in SULi in the future. If you haven’t, or if you are not a member and want to be, if you’re quick you might just make this round of review.
Finally, a warm thanks as ever to our editors Robin and David for all their work in bringing this to you.