Artículo | 20 Ene, 2021

Building capacity for engaging communities in tackling illegal wildlife trade

CEESP News: by Dilys Roe, Chair of the IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (SULI) and Principal Researcher at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) *

Between September and November 2020, the joint SSC/CEESP Sustainale Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group partnered with the IUCN East and Southern Africa Regional Office (IUCN ESARO) and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) to deliver a series of online training sessions on different approaches to engaging communities to tackle illegal wildlife trade (IWT).

Photo: Scoring the importance of different pathways to community engagement in Olderkesi Conservancy, Kenya

The online series was funded through a USAID Kenya and East Africa programme called ‘Conserving Natural Capital and Enhancing Collaborative Management of Transboundary Resources (CONNECT)’ which specifically focusses on the East African region but the content is relevant to all working on this IWT.

The series was based on the application of the ‘Local Communities: First Line of Defence against Illegal Wildlife Trade’ (FLoD) approach, which aims to support designers and implementers of anti-IWT strategies and projects to effectively engage local communities as partners.

The FLoD approach takes advantage of an iterative learning process to help local communities, project designers and implementers at site and landscape levels to understand the context-specific motivations and assumptions that underpin the activities (legal and illegal) of local communities.

Building capacity for engaging communities in tackling illegal wildlife tradePhoto: TBD
As Holly Dublin, SULi steering committee member highlighted “We have found that many times anti-IWT interventions weren’t based on local realities. The FLoD tool helps to empower those communities, strengthen their voice and enhance collaboration while building trust. Ultimately it helps in the design of more effective interventions to combat IWT with the help of communities.”

Photo left: SULi Chair Dilys Roe and SC member Holly Dublin working with the maasai community at Olderkesi, Kenya, to test the FLoD methodology

Recordings and presentations from the training sessions are available at and will supplement a comprehensive training course on FLoD, which is currently under development with support from the BIOPAMA programme supported by the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States. And you can read a Q&A with some of the participants here:

The IIED/SULi web portal - - includes a database of over 100 case studies from around the world and in a fantastic resource for anyone interested in exploring practical examples of community engagement. We are always looking for more examples, so if you have case studies you would like to add please get in touch!


Dilys Roe Dilys Roe Photo: Dilys Roe
* Dilys Roe is a Principal Researcher at the Londonbased International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) where she leads the Institute’s work on biodiversity and conservation. Her work focuses on the human dimensions of conservation – including understanding and supporting the necessary conditions for effective communitybased conservation. A strong element of her current work is on engaging local communities in tackling illegal wildlife trade and, more broadly, enhancing community voices in conservation policymaking and strategies for linking biodiversity conservation with human wellbeing and social justice.