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Towards a sustainable and legal wildlife trade
An international 2-day symposium
Thursday, 18th June and Friday, 19th June, 2015

Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology,
School of Anthropology & Conservation, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK

 

 

Scientific and Policy Background

People Engaged In DialogueThe conservation of flora and fauna is in crisis. Poaching and the illegal trade in wildlife are pushing a number of iconic species towards extinction. In the legal trade there is a mixed picture of successful trade models combined with unsustainable harvesting levels of animals, plants and timber, and poor animal welfare and governance.

Conservation and development goals from the wildlife trade will only be achieved through effective collaboration and dialogue among governments, practitioners and the private sector, supported by state-of-the-art research.  Despite the global importance of the wildlife trade in political, economic and cultural terms, policy development and implementation remains poorly supported by research. 

In this 2 day symposium we aimed to enhance understanding on how to support a trade in wildlife that is sustainable, legal and consistent with the principles of sustainable development. Key objectives were to:

  • foster dialogue between researchers, economists, policy makers, the private sector and other conservation-related disciplines.
  • provide evidence-based options for improved conservation trade policy.
  • establish a research agenda for wildlife trade in the global economy.

The event is of interest to conservation experts, researchers, managers and officials from government, private sector, NGOs, international organizations and universities.

Selected papers and case studies were collected in a book to be published as proceedings of the conference.

Format

The symposium ran over 2 days:

Day 1 focused on how economics can contribute to evidence-based policy-making for conservation, including relevant case studies.
Day 2 explored research frontiers in wildlife trade from a variety of disciplinary perspectives including anthropology, sociology, criminology, biology and computer science.   

Each day began with a keynote speech, followed by three thematic sessions with contributed papers.  There was also plenty of time for informal discussion and social interaction. A poster session over lunchtime on both days, with additional research papers and case studies, was also be organized.

The full schedule for the event can be found here. For those who are interested in topics covered but were unable to attend, there is the opportunity to watch a recording of each session.

More details about each day can be found here:

DAY ONE: Thursday 18th June 2015

The economics of a sustainable and legal wildlife trade
Evidence-based policy options to govern the legal trade in animals and plants

Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology,
School of Anthropology & Conservation, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK

 

Scientific and Policy Background

Crocodile Egg IncubatorConservation goals can be achieved through efficient and effective policy design, which entails effective collaboration and dialogues among governments, practitioners and the private sector. Economic analysis can provide the tools to design policies that result in the sustainable use and conservation of flora and fauna. However, there is a need to share knowledge and experience on how economics can contribute to sustainability outcomes in this way.
The Symposium resulted in greater understanding of how economics can contribute to evidence-based policy making for conservation including relevant case studies. Key objectives were to:

  • foster dialogue between economists, policy makers, the private sector and other conservation-related disciplines.
  • provide evidence-based options for improved conservation trade policy.
  • explore the barriers to change and the role of institutions in conservation policy formulation.
  • enhance understanding on how to support a trade in wildlife that is sustainable, legal & traceable.

The event will be of interest to conservation experts, researchers, managers and officials from government, private sector, NGOs, international organizations and universities.

Day One Themes (non-exclusive)

Contributors were invited to submit abstracts of their research papers in the following three subject areas:

  1. Nile CrocodileEconomic dimensions of the illegal trade in wildlife
    This session analysed the socio-economics of illicit trade flows of wildlife. Questions addressed included: what are the incentive structures for communities and illegal operators?; what are the institutional and economic constraints to implementation of enforcement policy?; what are the dynamics of corruption at the field-level as well as business and customs points?; what does a value chain for the illegal trade look like, and are there other illicit trades that share similar features to the illegal wildlife trade?
  2. Economic dimensions of the legal wildlife trade
    This session analysed the socio-economics of legal wildlife trade. What are the incentive structures for communities, traders, processors and exporters? What is the role of the consumer, retailer and designer? What are the different models of legal trade ranging from wild harvest of plants, commercial timber operations, farming and domestication of animals and plants, and the trophy hunting of game? What is the role for corporate social responsibility, certification, traceability and other mechanisms to assure quality and sustainability of sourcing?
  3. New ways forward. What are the most effective policy instruments to end poaching?
    This session looked at the barriers to change, the role of institutions and the interplay between legal and illegal segments of markets. During this session, speakers discussed what can be the most effective policy instruments to end poaching, including licensed trade, trade bans and rights-based approaches.

DAY ONE Organizing Committee

Dr. Rosie Cooney, Chair, IUCN CEESP/SSC (SULi): Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group
Professor Douglas C MacMillan
Professor of Environmental and Ecosystem Economics, DICE, School of Anthropology & Conservation, the University of Kent.
Dr. Alexander Kasterine Head, Trade and Environment Unit at the International Trade Centre (UN/WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland
Dr. Helen Crowley, Head of Sustainable Sourcing Innovation, KERING
Professor Jon Hutton, UNEP-WCMC and Honorary Professor of Sustainable Resource Use at DICE
Professor Nigel Leader Williams, Director of Conservation Leadership in the Department of Geography, and a Fellow of Churchill College, University of Cambridge
Professor EJ Milner Gulland, Professor in Conservation Science, Division of Biology, Imperial College, London
Michael ‘tSas Rolfes, Independent natural resource economist

DAY ONE Keynote Speakers

Dr. Vanda Felbab-Brown, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy The Brookings Institution. Washington, DC USA
Professor Brendan Moyle,Senior Lecturer, Massey University, Massey New Zealand

DAY TWO: Friday 19th June 2015

New frontiers in wildlife trade research
New knowledge, methodologies and technologies for understanding the wildlife trade in the 21st Century

Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology,
School of Anthropology & Conservation, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK

 

Scientific and Policy Background

The wildlife trade is global, complex, dynamic and is difficult to research.  Biological information on many endangered species is not available, social research is constrained by social, legal and cultural barriers, and research funding is limited by political sensitivities. Despite its importance to livelihoods and to the future conservation of endangered species, there remains no clear understanding of what knowledge is required, how it can be acquired, and how it can be deployed to support decisions and policies that might lead to more sustainable and equitable wildlife trade outcomes.  

SnakesThe School of Anthropology and Conservation in association with Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology (DICE) and the Centre for Bio-Cultural Diversity at the University of Kent, were therefore delighted to host Day Two of this symposium exploring ‘New Frontiers in Wildlife Trade Research.’ 

The symposium was multi-disciplinary and highlighted cutting-edge research in both the natural and social sciences.  We welcome papers on any theme and will seek to achieve a balance between social and natural sciences, theory, methods and case studies, and socio-ecological contexts.

Day Two Themes (non-exclusive)

Snake SkinsContributors were invited to submit abstracts of their research papers in all aspects of wildlife trade. Possible topics included:

  • The role of emerging technologies in regulating and monitoring trade (tracking systems, drones, genetic marking etc.)
  • The contribution of local communities in tackling the illegal wildlife trade in different legal and socio-ecological systems.
  • Wild harvesting and its role in maintaining bio-cultural diversity, human wellbeing and resilience. 
  • Effectiveness and ethics of demand reduction strategies and programmes.
  • Research methods for understanding clandestine activities.

The day concluded with a general discussion that sought to establish a research agenda that might illuminate a path toward a more sustainable wildlife trade.

DAY TWO Organizing Committee

Dr. Dave Roberts, Senior Lecturer in Biodiversity Conservation, DICE, School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent.
Dr. Freya St John, Research Fellow, DICE, School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent.
Dr. Miguel Alexiades, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Anthropology, School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent.
Dr. Raj Puri, Director of the Centre for CBCD, School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent.
Professor Richard Griffiths, Director of DICE, School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent.
Professor Douglas C MacMillan Professor of Environmental and Ecosystem Economics, DICE, School of Anthropology and Conservation, the University of Kent.
Dr. Alexander Kasterine Head, Trade and Environment Unit at the International Trade Centre (UN/WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland..

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Last Updated: 16/07/2015