This conference was attended by some 3500 delegates from around the globe under the title of “Forests & People: Investing in a Sustainable Future”. The IAF had a stand in the Exhibition Hall to display the role played by falconers from around the Globe in Conservation. IAF was assisted by falconers from the South African Falconry Association. Special thanks go to the SAFA Secretary, Bruce Padbury, and Natal Falconers Association members who organized the setting up and manning of the stand.
From a Falconry perspective, the most significant event in the Conference was the one day “Wildlife Forum” organized by the Collaborative Partnership on Wildlife Management which took place on 9th September. The focus of the Forum was “How to Achieve Sustainable Wildlife Management and Improve Local Livelihoods”.
The opening plenary was facilitated by Eduardo Mansur of FAO and the keynote speakers were Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias of CBD and John Scanlon of CITES. Mr Diaz referred to the Aichi Targets for 2020 and called on parties to push the boundaries to find innovative solutions to stop biodiversity loss and to involve local communities and livelihoods. John Scanlon reviewed the 42 year history of CITES and stated that this convention is more relevant today than at its inception; it controls 15 million transactions per year. He outlined the scourge of the illegal trade in wildlife which is worth over 20 billion dollars annually.
IAF President, Adrian Lombard presented on “Falconers and Forests”. He described the involvement of Falconers in conservation and showed that the link between Forests, Falconers, Communities and Livelihoods lies in Conservation and Sustainable use. In the presentation he was able to tell the conference about the involvement of the IAF in the “Portal to Develop Trust” which is one of the Saker Global Action Plan Flagship Projects and which is funded and jointly managed by the IAF. He was also able to inform the conference about the IAF plans to develop a Breeders Registry, Studbook and DNA Bank.
The Forum outcomes were summed up by Jan Heino, CPW Vice-Chair and President of the Policy and Law division of CIC: He thanked the session’s leaders, speakers, and audience for an outstanding forum which provided abundant, timely, and cross-sectoral information.
The main messages of the Forum:
Sustainable management of wildlife is an important part of integrated approaches to the multipurpose use of natural resources. It plays a decisive role in addressing the Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainable wildlife management provides crucial benefits for food security, livelihoods, natural heritage, biodiversity, and ecosystem conservation.
Combining knowledge, through multidisciplinary approaches and strong community participation, is required to properly design sustainable wildlife management programs that allow for the sustainable use of game and the trade of wild meat and other non-timber forest products. Legal frameworks and health protocols will be strengthened; law compliance, cross-sectoral collaboration, innovative market approaches, and best practices will be promoted.
The participatory role of local communities in wildlife management is vital and must be strengthened. This includes wildlife monitoring and the fight against wildlife crime.
The sustainable harvest of wild meat and other non-timber forest products is an integral part of conservation. It improves livelihoods, food security, and nutrition. It is crucial to gain a better understanding of the causes and effects of human-wildlife conflict based on in-depth analyses of each local situation. Only then can workable models be created to mitigate conflicts and raise the awareness of local communities to positively co-exist with wildlife.
Combating the illegal trade of wildlife requires: (1) a coordinated effort at all levels to treat such crimes seriously by following the same protocol used to combat other serious crimes; (2) the involvement of local communities, recognizing that basic levels of security must be in place first in order for communities to benefit from the legal use of wildlife; (3) stronger interagency and cross-border collaboration; and (4) the deployment of innovative approaches, including the use of new identification and traceability tools, for the monitoring of wildlife populations, sustainable use, and trade