In February 2015, IUCN CEESP/SSC Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (SULi), the International Institute for Environment and Development, the Austrian Ministry of Environment, the ARC Centre of Environment and Decisions at the University of Queensland, and TRAFFIC convened an international symposium in Muldersdrift in South Africa to explore whether and under what circumstances community-based interventions are likely to achieve success in combating current patterns of illegal use and trade of wildlife. Alarming rises in illegal wildlife trade over the last decade show that tougher law enforcement is not enough to stop poachers from devastating populations of iconic or endangered species. However, the trend towards increasingly militarised law enforcement can harm communities who live alongside wildlife and have real power to protect it.
At this event, over 70 researchers, community representatives, United Nations and government officials and NGOs came together. Case studies of frontline experiences across Africa, Latin America and Asia from communities on the sharp end of the illegal wildlife trade chain were shared, as well as innovative research from around the world on a diverse range of subjects from the economics of the illegal wildlife trade, to using criminology theory to understand what drivers trigger wildlife crime. The meeting issued policy conclusions and a set of recommendations on engaging communities in combating the illegal wildlife trade (IWT) at the source (please find links to report and briefing paper below).
The symposium was kindly supported by GIZ, USAID, and the Austrian Ministry of the Environment.