Michael t’Sas-Rolfes sends a brief report

Several members of SULi took part in the 59th General Assembly of CIC (International Game and Wildlife Council) in Cape Town, South Africa, from the 8th to the 11th of May this year.  Kule Chitepo was officially representing SULi, and Shane Mahoney, Brian Child, and myself were also participants.  The theme was “Economics of Wildlife Conservation”. This is a crucial and timely issue, given that governments and societies worldwide are, for better or worse, responsive primarily to economic pressures and the economic contributions of wildlife are grossly overlooked. The program consisted of a number of presentations that dealt with the subject of sustainable use as seen from an economic perspective.  Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the CBD, encouraged participation in the proposed Collaborative Partnership in Sustainable Wildlife Management, while Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP, highlighted TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) project.

Several of the individual presenters, including SULi colleagues, also participated in a panel discussion that explored the relationship between hunting and other forms of sustainable use, economics and conservation.  Through its Technical Series, the CIC has already published useful research in this area.  Most participants agreed not only on a need for further research, but also for this to be channelled into stronger communication of the benefits of sustainable use to policy-makers and the general public, if the conservation and livelihood values inherent in it are to be realised. see http://www.cic-wildlife.org/index.php?id=783 for full story and pictures.

Michael 't Sas-Rolfes is an independent conservation economist based in Cape Town, South Africa. He has worked extensively on issues relating to trade in endangered species and institutional arrangements and incentives relating to biodiversity conservation and protected area management. A former member of SASUSG, Michael has recently resumed active involvement with SULi after an extended break from conservation-related work.