COP 11 was held in Hyderabad, India, and IUCN sent a strong and well organised delegation managed by Dr Jane Smart of the Species Program. SULi was involved in the lead up work, developing input on agenda items related to sustainable use, and I was planning to attend until a last minute visa hitch (of my own making, unfortunately) meant I could not attend. Fortunately Tahir Rasheed, of SULi in Central Asia, manager of the Torghar Conservation Project, was able to attend and engage in a number of events and processes on behalf of SULi. Tahir attended primarily to engage on agenda items related to the CBD’s Programme of Work on Protected Areas (PoWPA), linked with the CBD Alliance, a group of civil society organisations working to strengthen civil society input into the Convention. He shares the following reflections with us:

“The flight back to home gave me enough time to ponder over the time spent in Hyderabad, India and to address the question of my inner soul: "was it worth spending 15 days away from work to participate in the CoP and visit INDIA?" The answer I got was YES. I looked at the expectations I had before attending the CoP and found not only that all of them were met, but I got much more than expected. The CoP was indeed a forum that gathered thousands of experienced participants from different countries for a common goal and objectives, in a quiet environment, based in a beautiful city, in a wonderful country, and by an enthusiastic group of organizers. It was amazing to note how people were from a wide range of cultures and a wide range of age groups, sharing a single objective, and all coming out very satisfied and better learned than they started. I was really impressed the way ICCA (the Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas Consortium), Kalpavriksh and other members of CBD Alliance were active and influencing/sharing the parties about their concerns on each and every lines of the articles. Being the only representative/ ambassador of SULi I tried my level best to cultivate recognition of the need for and importance of sustainable use in different talks/discussions, quite successfully. The civil society statement on PAs is the outcome of the extensive discussions, and conveys their concerns on the slow implementation of Element 2 of the PoWPA, on Governance, Equity, Participation and Benefit-sharing, especially in achieving the Aichi target 11.”

While there were a number of agenda items with some relevance to sustainable use, the key issue was the discussion and adoption of a set of recommendations for addressing bushmeat and the related progress toward a Collaborative Partnership on Wildlife focused on bushmeat. The recommendations on bushmeat were forwarded to the COP from the SBSTTA15 Recommendation XV/6, developed originally by the CBD Liaison Group on Bushmeat. IUCN supported adoption of these recommendations with minor changes (see IUCN position on sustainable use within this document). The recommendations (Decision XI/25) were adopted only with minor discussion on the need of developing non-market activities for conservation of biodiversity based on sustainable use; and on the need to include tropical and sub-tropical regions. They are welcomed by the Decision as a potential complement to the Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines for the Sustainable Use of Biodiversity related to sustainable wildlife management in tropical and subtropical countries.

Related to this agenda item was discussion of the formation of a collaborative partnership on sustainable wildlife management. The CBD Secretariat had carried out an earlier consultation on this issue, and SULi prepared IUCN’s submission based on extensive discussion and consultation (link to document). This idea (see report from Jeju above) was initiated by CIC, and was endorsed by the IUCN Congress at WCC. In the margins of the COP, after some discussion the FAO made an announcement that it, with the CBD Secretariat, would convene a meeting of the partnership early in 2013, with the participation of all relevant stakeholders, including representatives of indigenous and local communities. FAO offered to host the secretariat for the Partnership to provide the technical and operational support required for its establishment and functioning. The collaborative partnership will have an initial focus on implementing the recommendations on bushmeat. An initial meeting may be held alongside the CITES COP in Bangkok in March 2013.

Among the side-events, two were of key interest for SULi. The first, led by TRAFFIC and co-organised by SULi, Zoological Society of London, COMIFAC (Central Africa Forests Commission) and the CBD Secretariat, focused on sharing experiences on bushmeat (wildmeat). SULi members Bernardo Ortiz, Nathalie Van Vliet, Mike Murphree and Lawrence Baya provided case studies and expertise in pulling together a presentation on the relevance of community-based management for sustainability and livelihood benefit of wild meat. Tahir Rashid of SULi in Central Asia kindly stepped in at short notice to deliver this presentation, drawing on his own deep experience of community based wildlife management. Positive coverage of the event was made in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin and in the Indian press.

The second was the presentation of CIC’s Markhor Award to the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism and to NACSO, the Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations. SULi nominated these organisations for this award, and many of us were delighted that they were successful. The ceremony took place towards the end of the CoP, during the high-level segment. Dr Samuel Mbambo, Namibian High Commissioner to India, and Maxi Louis from NACSO received the award on behalf of the two institutions. The award was handed over by the Executive Secretary of the CBD, Dr. Braulio Dias, together with Tamás Marghescu, Director General of the CIC. Tamas highlighted in his speech that a very important commonality running through the three winners to date of the award was the empowerment of communities to manage their own wildlife. This was echoed by Maxi Louis who said: “In Namibia, our people made a choice to say ‘We will live with wildlife' and we do, with great success!” We wish this outstanding and ongoing conservation success story all the best for the future, and hope its lessons about community empowerment and sustainable use of wildlife are widely understood and applied.

Rosie Cooney is SULi Chair

Photo: Presentation of the 2012 Markhor Award. From left: Tamás Marghescu, Jackie Hindjou, Dr. Samuel Mbambo and Maxi Louis. Credit: K. Hecker CIC.