21st African Wildlife Consultative Forum 2023

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Safari Club International Foundation (SCIF) and the Namibian Ministry for Environment, Forestry and Tourism hosted the 21st African Wildlife Consultative Forum (AWCF) this week in Windhoek, Namibia, bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss sustainable use and wildlife conservation issues across Africa.

The AWCF is hosted annually by SCIF and takes place in different a country each year, allowing government officials, community-based support organisations, international experts and wildlife biologists to convene as part of an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas and policies.

After a week of rich dialogue and concrete case studies amongst Southern African Development Community (SADC) governments and key stakeholders, the event concluded today with a clear action agenda. The discussions underlined a unified voice on the role that hunting and sustainable use can play for conservation in the region, while exploring how African voices can be heard in international fora such as CITES.

Sebastian Winkler, Director General of the CIC, and Willy Pabst, CIC Advisor and CEO of the Sango Wildlife Conservancy in Zimbabwe, were present in Windhoek to take part in Forum proceedings.

In particular, input was provided to the establishment of three Working Groups:

  1. Strengthening the hunting sector with data, standards and the sector’s contribution to the 2030 global goals and the Global Biodiversity Framework;
  2. Consolidating governance of elephant and rhino conservation in the SADC region by addressing sustainable use and conservation management challenges coordinated by the SADC Secretariat;
  3. Building trust and empowerment for Community Based Natural Resources Management to move towards a renewed positive narrative and a rights based approach ensuring a fair deal for communities.

During the week, the CIC Delegation also had the opportunity to meet with its Namibian constituency and other international stakeholders.

From left to right: Willy Pabst (CIC Advisor), Michael ‘t Sas-Rolfes (CIC Expert Member), Hon. Minister Pohamba Shifeta (Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism), Sebastian Winkler (CIC Director General), Elly Hamunyela (Namibian Focal Point to CITES) and Dr. Clemens von Doderer (Head of the Namibian CIC Delegation)

At meeting with the Namibian Ministry for Environment, Forestry and Tourism within its capacity as a CIC State Member – represented by the Honourable Minister Pohamba Shifeta – talks centred on areas of further collaboration and ways to strengthen the Namibian Delegation of the CIC. In particular, much focus was placed on the framework of KAZA and SADC, with a look to strengthen the wildlife economy sector and ensure European support for regional efforts.

In addition, an informal dinner hosted by the incoming German Ambassador to Namibia – joined by his French and EU colleagues – embraced those in the international community of Namibia to discuss greater support and synergies in supporting SADC in its conservation efforts and its efforts to build a US$30 billion wildlife economy.

The CIC will continue its support in implementing the outcomes of AWCF by summarising the positive, scientific-based sustainable use outcomes from the Forum in a bullet point summary for use in the public domain. Ongoing CIC efforts to service State Members in the region will continue, with a significant focus on building a US$30 billion wildlife economy while strengthening its existing presence in southern Africa.