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According to the Convention on Biological Diversity, sustainable wildlife management is the sound management of wildlife species to sustain their populations and habitat over time, considering the socioeconomic needs of human populations (Decision 14/7).

Over the years, the Convention has focused its work on the following areas:

  • Sustainable management of wildlife used for food, or wild meat, also known as bushmeat;
  • Monitoring tools and databases;
  • Multidisciplinary approaches in sustainable wildlife management, including alternative livelihoods;
  • Subsistence use of wildlife; and
  • Wild meat and food security.

This is because the meat of wild animals is an essential source of protein and income for millions of indigenous peoples and local communities worldwide. Yet, the unsustainable harvesting rates continue to cause declines in many species, impacting global biodiversity, threatening the integrity of ecosystems, and endangering the livelihoods and food security of indigenous peoples and local communities (Coad et al. 2019).

In 2008, the Conference of the Parties considered sustainable wildlife management an effective low impact mechanism to deliver sustainable incomes to indigenous and local communities and encouraged Parties to enhance sustainable wildlife management through land-use planning to minimize human-wildlife conflicts and achieve the sustainable use of wildlife (Decision 9/17). It also identified the unsustainable hunting of wild meat and its effect on species as a priority to be addressed by Parties (Decision 9/5).

These decisions, linked with articles 10 (c) on customary sustainable use rights, and 8(j) on traditional ecological knowledge, led the Convention to seek to incorporate the cultural, nutritional, medicinal and economic values of wildlife in any strategy aimed at reducing the impacts on wildlife populations and ecosystems integrity.

However, as pressures on wildlife resources, notably wild meat, continued to increase, the question of how to ensure sustainable management, in support of both people and wildlife remained unsolved.

In response to this question, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity has adopted a number of subsequent decisions on sustainable wildlife management, focusing on the management of wild meat species. These decisions culminated with the welcoming of the voluntary guidance for a sustainable wild meat sector (Decision 14/7, annex) at the fourteen meeting of the Conference of the Parties, held in December 2018, in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme