Globally, combating illegal wildlife trade (IWT) is at the top of the conservation policy agenda. This is for good reason - poaching for IWT is decimating populations of iconic species (rhinos, elephants, pangolins, primates), as well as a host of lesser known plants and animals, while jeopardising human security and livelihood assets. Narratives, policy and practice around poaching for IWT have increasingly adopted the language and approaches of militarisation, with heavy emphasis on law enforcement along the supply chain. However, insights from several lines of research emphasise the need for a new paradigm in combating IWT, to addressing the underlying causes and drivers of poaching. This talk presents the case for moving from a focus on militarised/hi tech approaches to catching poachers, to nuanced, locally sensitive approaches that change the incentives facing local actors and reduce poaching at source. It draws on several years of work on community-based approaches to IWT led by the speaker for IUCN CEESP/SSC Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group, in collaboration with the Institute for Environment and Development, London; TRAFFIC; and many local partners.
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About the speaker
Rosie Cooney works at the interface of science, society and policy in international biodiversity conservation, with a focus on the governance, conservation and livelihood dimensions of legal and illegal use and trade of wild species. She has extensive experience in the international NGO sector, working for sustainable development and nature conservation organisations on a range of emerging issues. She is the Chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature CEESP/SSC Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group, a global network of over 300 experts. In this role Rosie works with an array of stakeholders, with a focus on convening, building knowledge, and influencing practice and policy. She is affiliated with the Fenner School, as well as Deputy Chair of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Collaborative Partnership on Wildlife; a lead author in the IPBES Asia-Pacific Regional Assessment; Honorary Fellow of the ICCA Consortium; and member of the Steering Committees of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission and Commission for Environmental, Economic and Social Policy. She also served on the United Nations Secretary-General’s Science Advisory Board, advising Ban Ki Moon on science for sustainable development.