Greetings, and welcome to this inaugural edition of SULiNews. SULi is above all a network, and one of its primary functions is to connect you with others working on sustainable use and livelihoods so that as a group we can pool our expertise to contribute to IUCN’s work. I very much hope you will find this a valuable resource.

These are exciting times for SULi. The linking of SSC and CEESP – bringing together biological science and socio-political expertise – in this new group is enormously positive, and lays exactly the right foundation for our work, from which we can reach out to other relevant constituencies such as CEM in particular. I’d like to recognise and thank all the people who worked through the difficult and lengthy process of crafting this new collaboration, particularly Holly Dublin, and Commission Chairs Simon Stuart and Aroha Mead. I’d also like to recognise the great generosity of the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency, which is supporting our work, along with hosting the SSC Chairs’ meeting earlier this year in Abu Dhabi. This meeting was an extraordinary gathering of around 300+ people, including regional Chairs of (then) SUSG Robert Kenward (Europe), Shane Mahoney (North America), Brahim Haddane (North Africa) and Kule Chitepo (Southern Africa). This allowed us to constitute an ad hoc ExCo (to take us up to the World Conservation Congress in September), meet and mingle with other Specialist Groups, many of whom have enormous expertise in managing use, and start planning for the work of the group.

You may well be wondering about how the new group is to be structured and coordinated. In a proposal currently being discussed and refined in our ad hoc ExCo, I propose that instead of the decentralised regional structure under SUSG, we operate as a single, more integrated global group. This is a flatter structure with many more cross-regional linkages, enabling people to work together at regional level where appropriate, but also in thematic groups cutting across regional boundaries. This model is fully consistent with SULi meetings, work and projects being pursued at regional level, but ensures these activities are strongly linked into a global whole. Crucially, this model is, I believe, less dependent on the availability of resources and time of Chairs at regional level, yet supports strong regional work where the capacity and resources are available. The detailed model will shortly be made available on the listserv and your thoughts and comments will be very welcome.

While establishment of the groups’ communications, structure and initial planning are still underway, SULi is engaging on a number of fronts, some of which you’ll read about here. SULi has played an important role in contributing to draft SSC guidance on trophy hunting as a conservation tool, discussed here by Rich Harris of the Caprinae Specialist Group. Another important area is food security, the focus of articles by Iain Davidson-Hunt, CEESP Regional Vice-Chair, North America and the Caribbean, and Arlyne Johnson of the Wildlife Conservation Society. In this regard, SULi is leading on developing IUCN’s input into the Convention on Biological Diversity’s proposed Collaborative Partnership on Sustainable Wildlife Management. This is a potentially extremely important global platform for coordination and stimulus of action addressing bushmeat and medicinal harvest in the tropics and sub-tropics and encompassing sustainability, livelihoods and food security dimensions. We also have articles on OXFAM’s recent thought-provoking discussion paper on “the doughnut” we should be aiming for in resource use; a new proposed freshwater fish certification scheme; sustainability modeling; the rhino poaching crisis in South Africa, and the plight and conservation prospects of the saker falcon. And our guest Specialist Group for this edition is the Shark Specialist Group, with Nick Dulvy on sawfishes.

All eyes are starting to turn toward Jeju – IUCN’s fifth World Conservation Congress is to be held in Korea in September. If you’re interested, this is the time to register (www.iucnworldconservationcongress.org), and to get involved in planning our proposed workshops and events, including a workshop organized by SULi and partners, and several Pavilion events. Many SULi members are involved in events in Jeju, and our second SULiNews edition will be released several weeks before the Congress and showcase many of these. Please get in touch if you’re planning on attending so we can coordinate preparations. This is a big year for major conservation/sustainable development meetings – there is also Rio +20 in Brazil next month and the CBD Cop in Hyderabad, India in September – do please let us know if you’re attending or organizing events at either of these.

Finally, I’d like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the editors David and Robin for so generously volunteering their time and expertise in pulling this together.

Rosie

Photo: Rosie Cooney. Credit: Monika Bohm.