IUCN seeks proposals for involving indigenous communities in combating the illegal wildlife trade

News, 23 September 2016
Call for proposals for a regional workshop to be held in Vietnam on how to engage Indigenous Peoples and local communities as active partners in protecting wildlife against the illegal wildlife trade.

Pangolins are particularly at threat from the illegal wildlife trade (Photo: sk8mama, Creative Commons via Flickr)

Proposals are being invited for a Southeast Asian workshop that will explore how to engage Indigenous Peoples and local communities as active partners in protecting wildlife against the illegal wildlife trade. The workshop takes place from 15-16 November in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Globally, poaching and the associated illegal wildlife trade is devastating populations of iconic wildlife species such as rhinos and elephants, as well lesser known species. Across Asia and the Lower Mekong Basin region specifically, the illegal wildlife trade is a particular concern for elephants, big cats, primates, pangolins, reptiles, birds, precious timber species and medicinal plants.

The workshop will look at issues affecting countries in Southeast Asia, with a particular focus on the Lower Mekong region, and seeks to improve understanding and guidance on how to combat the illegal wildlife trade, through collecting and examining regional experiences and case studies.

Participants from governments, community support organisations and particularly Indigenous Peoples and/or local communities affected by or engaged in tackling the illegal wildlife trade, are invited to submit proposals before 5pm (Hanoi/Bangkok time) on 30 September 2016. 

Organisers are particularly keen to hear from people with direct experience to share or knowledge to gain from the discussion. Selected participants will be eligible for funding to cover travel, food and accommodation costs, limited to one selected participant per organisation.

Proposals are invited on any aspect of the topic, but particularly in the following areas: 

  • Impacts of enforcement on Indigenous Peoples and local communities: how are current enforcement strategies impacting on communities?
  • Understanding and quantifying the negative impact of wildlife crime on sustainable livelihoods and economic development: how is illegal wildlife trade impacting on Indigenous Peoples and local communities?
  • Engaging Indigenous Peoples and local communities in conservation: where and how has strengthening community rights to manage and use or benefit from wild resources successfully reduced wildlife crime?
  • Involving Indigenous Peoples and local communities in law enforcement efforts: where and how are communities actively engaging in enforcement efforts, and what factors underpin success?, and
  • Combating illegal wildlife hunting within Indigenous Peoples' and local communities' territories: how do communities deal with illegal hunting for IWT within their community-managed hunting zones and territories more broadly?

This workshop has been organised by the IUCN CEESP/SSC Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (IUCN SULi), IUCN Viet Nam, the IUCN Indo-Burma Group, IIED, and TRAFFIC. It follows an international symposium that met in February 2015. Download the preliminary agenda (PDF).

The symposium evaluated whether and under what circumstances community-based interventions are likely to achieve success in combating current patterns of illegal use and trade of wildlife. 

IIED's work includes research on community-based solutions to the illegal wildlife trade, and the institute is also seeking submissions of case studies for a new online wildlife crime resource: the Conservation, crime and communities database. To access the database and submit case studies, see http://communitiesforwildlife.iied.org/.

The 'Beyond enforcement: involving Indigenous Peoples and local communities in combating illegal wildlife trade: Regional workshop for Southeast Asia with a focus on the Lower Mekong Region' workshop is supported by the Austrian Ministry of the Environment; the German Polifund project, implemented by GIZ; and the Wildlife Trafficking Response, Assessment and Priority Setting (Wildlife TRAPS) Project (PDF), supported by USAID.


Dilys Roe (dilys.roe@iied.org), principal researcher and team leader (biodiversity), IIED's Natural Resources research group

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