Dear SULi members,

Greetings to everyone. It is constantly exciting to hear of the enormous diversity of work that SULi members are engaged in – there is an enormous breadth of expertise within the network, and this is reflected in the array of articles and perspectives in this second SULiNews.

In the SULi Steering Committee we have been discussing priorities for work for SULi, as a basis for developing an Action Plan for the next few years, and I have been consulting with many people across the IUCN network over the past six months. The problems (and opportunities) clearly vary enormously across regions, with differing exploitation histories, governance systems, wealth, reliance on wild species for subsistence culture and so forth, and many issues are best pursued at regional or national level. However, some of the key areas that are emerging as important global needs, where we may be well placed to contribute in partnership with other parts of IUCN (through convening, research synthesis, policy influence etc) include:

  • escalating international commercial trade, frequently illegal and sometimes involving organised crime, to service expanding wealth and consumption in consumer centres (particularly in China): this affects medicinal plants, rhinos, freshwater turtles, and many many others. The profits to be made can overwhelm existing governance structures and lead to rapid overexploitation;
  • at the same time, the potential of community-based resource management to provide a sound and resilient basis for sustainability and for community empowerment remains only marginally explored, with many obstacles to its operationalisation;
  • use of wild living resources and food security: wild resources can be critical for food security – think wild meat in the Congo basin, for example. Yet this is often overlooked in mainstream development policy and sometimes in conservation interventions;
  • technical tools to support sustainable use: we talk about adaptive management a lot, but do we really know how to do it, for harvested species? Good examples are rare, particularly ones that integrate traditional/local forms of knowledge with scientific;
  • fisheries: of all sectors of use, fisheries probably provide the most dismally compelling litany of management and governance failures, from Lake Nicaraguan sawfish to bluefin tuna, and commercial overexploitation has profound impacts on artisanal fisher communities;
  • climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction: managing natural resources, including wildlife, can be integral to reducing community vulnerability to climatic, conflict-related and other shocks and stressors;
  • incentives for conservation: one of the key messages of the IUCN policy statement on sustainable use is that the benefits from well managed use give people a reason to value and conserve wild nature – but this message still lacks broad-based and carefully documented case examples and this hinders its acceptance.

What do you think are the most important issues that we, as a network, should prioritise for global attention in SULi? Those of you attending the World Conservation Congress in a few weeks will have the chance to hear many of these issues aired at greater length in the SULi workshop and have your say – others are encouraged to get in touch with me or with any of the SULi Steering Committee – listed here with emails, to voice your thoughts. You might even want to write an article for SULiNews!

Masego Madzwamuse
Brahim Haddane
Steve Broad
Kule Chitepo
Vivienne Solis
Iain Davidson-Hunt
Robert Kenward
Thomasina Oldfield
Holly Dublin
Shane Mahoney
Bernardo Ortiz

Talking of the WCC, it is of course the major focus of activity right now, with SULi involved in organising four events, SULi members leading or participating in an enormous array of others (covered in detail in this issue), and SULi working with the CIC-led SUN (Sustainable Use Network) to coordinate participation and motions negotiation in Jeju. The action and energy expected at Congress will make a refreshing counterpoint to the official outcome of Rio+20 (also covered here), which largely provides an impressive testament of faith in our collective ability to square “sustained economic growth” with a finite resource base.

Finally, a huge thanks to Robin and David for all their work on this edition, and to all of the contributors who have shared their experience and thoughts with us.


Photo: Rosie Cooney. Credit: Monika Bohm.