UN Environment, in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the International Institute on Environment and Development (IIED), recently launched a report proposing more action and stronger community voice on approaches to involve indigenous peoples and local communities in the fight against wildlife crime, including the illegal wildlife trade. This is great news, as local communities are not just local people, but often have strong cultural and spiritual values related to an area, thus keen to be involved.
’Wildlife, Wild livelihoods’ outlines eight actions points to improve the community-based approach, ranging from better incentives and developing a better understanding of local customs and traditions, to involving local leaders in decision-making.
According to the press release: “Local communities are on the front line and have the most to lose from the illegal wildlife trade,” Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment said. “We have to engage local communities at every level to protect our most precious natural assets against people seeking to make a profit from wildlife crimes.”
It further outlines the opportunities and constraints for communities to participate in the various key international policy forums that influence wildlife management, and takes a critical look at the increasingly militarized and top-down approach to combat illegal wildlife trade.