Hunting is Part of the “Green Economy”
CIC on the Rio+20 Conference
"Wildlife management and hunting are an integral part of the 'green economy' ", said CIC-President Bernard Lozé ahead of the Rio+20 World Summit on sustainable development.
Close to 20,000 participants from all over the world met in Rio de Janeiro from 13 June 2012 onwards, including many heads of states, with aim to try to move the world closer to sustainable development. "Green economy" is one of the major topics: Using the economic potentials of nature without sacrificing ecology.
"Whereas the economics of fisheries and forestry will be debated, wildlife and its sustainable use is widely overlooked", said the CIC-President. However, in many developing countries, in particular in Africa, poor rural communities still depend on game to a great extent for food. They also bear the economic costs of wildlife. The annual trade of bush meat alone has a value of no less than half a billion US$ and is socially accepted despite being illegal. The challenge is to make such utilization sustainable. Hunting, which includes hunting tourism, has shown that it has the potential to generate substantial revenues at the local level and contribute to poverty alleviation and rural livelihoods. At the same time it has produced considerable conservation results. Wildlife management can be a strong tool in a "green economy", in line with the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Rio+20 process.
Hunters in many parts of the world have proven this. In their "Green Economy Report 2011" the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) recognizes the benefits of investments and hunting in the reduction of poverty. In Namibia for example, poor communities benefit from hunting on their land. In South Africa, the private game ranching industry now covers nearly three times as much land as all public national parks. The 12,000 wildlife ranches contribute greatly to economic growth, with an annual turnover of around 500 million US$. Both countries now have more game than at any time during the last one hundred years, including species which have been brought back from the brink of extinction. In Benin, Mozambique or Tanzania many protected areas could not be maintained without the revenues from hunting-tourism. In Asia, species like the Markhor (Capra falconeri) have been saved from extinction by giving them a value for local people through trophy hunting. Even in industrialized countries, hunting is a major instrument for economical, beneficial, and sustainable land use. In the USA for example, hunters spend 25 billion US$ a year and at the same time conserve wild lands. In Germany alone, the monetary value of meat from hunted game is around 200 million Euros a year.
Bernard Lozé: "The conservation and management of wildlife as part of a green economy does not receive the attention it deserves in the Rio process. Yet wildlife and hunting contribute considerably to national economies, and this in a nature-friendly way. Sustainable game management is consequently a must in the struggle to conserve biodiversity and to support rural livelihoods."
The economics of ecosystem services and biodiversity is and will, therefore, continue to be a major working topic for the CIC in the future as agreed at its recent General Assembly in South Africa. The goal is to assess the economic contribution of sustainable wildlife management at all levels. In addition, the CIC will engage with other bodies to establish a global voluntary platform entitled "Collaborative Partnership on Wildlife Conservation" in order to address wildlife issues in an integrated manner and importantly from a conservation perspective, but also from the perspective of food security, health and culture.