As the human population grows, overexploitation of wildlife for food, shelter, medicines, fuel and more, threatens the survival of many species. Effective governance of use and trade in wildlife is therefore essential.
IUCN, through its Global Species Programme and Species Survival Commission (SSC) Specialist Groups, including the CEESP/SSC Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (SULi), works to promote the conservation and sustainable use and trade of wild species.
This includes strengthening the evidence-base on the sustainable use of wildlife and the accrual of benefits to local communities and through being a partner of the Collaborative Partnership on Sustainable Wildlife Management. Using The IUCN Red List, which includes data and information on species conservation status (threat of extinction), legal and illegal trade, and conservation measures, and additional information from the SSC Specialist Groups and Red List Authorities, IUCN contributes to a variety of policy fora and key meetings, including CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), CMS (Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals), in order to assist Parties in decision-making.
IUCN also produces, in conjunction with TRAFFIC, an objective and science-based assessment of proposed amendments to the CITES Appendices, through the IUCN/TRAFFIC CITES Analyses project. This involves reviewing the proposals which determine the placement of species on Appendix I, II or III.
IUCN is also playing a key role in the global movement to tackle illegal wildlife trade, which is estimated to be worth US$50-150 billion per year (UNEP 2014 Year Book). Illegal trade in elephant ivory, pangolins and rhino horn are currently at very high levels and many other species of mammals, birds, amphibians, fish, reptiles, fungi and plants are threatened by illegal trade.
IUCN provides information on illegal trade to CITES; advancing understanding of the role that local communities can play in responses to wildlife crime; providing advice to the GEF (Global Environment Facility) Global Wildlife Program focused on tackling illegal wildlife trade, and through contributing to solutions as a coalition partner of United for Wildlife.
IUCN is also engaged through field-based projects addressing illegal trade, including SOS (Save Our Species) and the Integrated Tiger and Habitat Conservation Programme (ITHCP). In addition, IUCN’s Commission on Ecosystem Management Fisheries Expert Group provides specialist advice to international meetings on dynamics of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and IUCN’s Environmental Law Centre works to, inter alia, review implementation of wildlife trade regulations.