Monday, June 03, 2019 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM EAT
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IUCN Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office,
Mukoma Road, off Magadi Road, Nairobi

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Evelyn Namvua
Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group
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Local Communities: First Line of Defence against Illegal Wildlife Trade 

Photo credit Akshay Vishwanath IUCN

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Engaging communities as partners in combatting illegal wildlife trade (IWT) is increasingly recognized as critical, but has proven difficult to operationalise in a meaningful and sustainable manner. While there is increasing recognition among practitioners and policy makers of the need to engage rural communities that neighbour or live with wildlife as key partners in tackling IWT, a clear framework to guide, monitor, and assess such action has been lacking. With some exceptions, the role of rural communities in combatting escalating IWT in high-value species and the conditions under which community engagement does and does not work have received little attention. This has hampered efforts to effectively partner with communities in the fight against wildlife crime. Reports of serious violations of human rights by heavy-handed law enforcement operations raise grave concerns about current practices.

In this presentation, Holly Dublin and Akshay Vishwanath will take you through an innovative initiative - Local Communities: First Line of Defence against Illegal Wildlife Trade (FLoD). The FLoD initiative takes an action research approach to testing, investigating, comparing and contrasting the assumptions, perceptions, and logic flows of IWT project designers and target communities. The FLoD initiative takes advantage of an iterative learning process to help local communities, project designers and implementers at site and landscape levels to understand the context-specific motivations and assumptions that underpin the activities (legal and illegal) of local communities. Lessons learned serve as important guidance for policy-makers, practitioners and donors.

Find out more at www.iucn.org/flod    

Speakers Bio

Holly Dublin, Senior Associate at the International Institute for Environment and Development, and a Senior Advisor to IUCN’s Regional Office for Eastern and Southern Africa

For more than three decades, Dr Holly Dublin has worked as a practitioner in the field of sustainability - linking the inherent values of biodiversity and ecosystem services to human livelihoods and well-being. She began as an African systems ecologist and over the course of her career has become a global expert in community-based conservation, governance and collaborative management approaches; the international trade and use of wild species of animals and plants; long-term ecological monitoring; measuring and valuing corporate impacts and dependencies on natural and social capital; strategic planning, programme implementation and evaluation in the conservation and development sectors. She has mentored young professionals across the developing world throughout her career. Holly is currently a Senior Associate at the International Institute for Environment and Development and a Senior Advisor to IUCN’s Regional Office for Eastern and Southern Africa. She is also on the Steering Committee of IUCN’s Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group, having served as the Chair of the IUCN African Elephant Specialist Group for 26 years and on the Governing Council of IUCN as the elected Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission.  She participated in the development of the “Beyond Enforcement” initiative and is one of the designers and implementers of the “Local Communities: First Line of Defence Against Illegal Wildlife Trade” (FLoD) approach. As an active proponent for building community voice, Holly has been deeply engaged in helping establish the Rural Communities Working Group of CITES and is one of the authors of “Wild Life Wild Livelihoods”.   

Akshay Vishwanath, Senior Programme Officer, IUCN Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office 

Akshay Vishwanath is a Senior Programme Officer with the Conservation Areas and Species Programme of IUCN’s Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office. Akshay has over 10 years of wide-ranging experience in sustainable development, biodiversity, environmental awareness, community conservation and natural resource management, particularly in Eastern and Southern Africa. Akshay strives to find solutions to environmental challenges that are both socio-economically viable and beneficial to ecosystem health and biodiversity.