IIFB statement on bush meat, UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/15/12
Thank you, Mr Chair,
I am reading this statement on behalf of the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity( IIFB).
As you may remember, when the first set of recommendations of the Liaison Group on Bushmeat was presented last SBSTTA in Nairobi and again at COP10 in Nagoya, indigenous peoples and local communities were not pleased, as the recommendations were developed without their participation and did not represent and address their views and concerns.
We appreciate it that since Nagoya a more participatory process was set up with a view to revise the recommendations, this time taking into consideration the views and suggestions of the local users of biodiversity.
At the expert meeting on Bushmeat held in Nairobi this year, we highlighted a few points that need to be taken into account when progressing the work concerning bush meat. I would briefly like to summarize these here:
• First of all, addressing the unsustainable harvesting of bushmeat and illegal trade of meat is also important for us: these activities also adversely effect our livelihoods which depend on forest and wildlife resources. We advised that solutions for the ‘bush meat crisis’ should not only focus on the effects of unsustainable harvest and illegal trade of bush meat on biodiversity, but also on biodiversity-dependent livelihoods. Moreover, we should not only consider the dietary value of bush meat, but also the spiritual/cultural value that hunting/gathering has for many of our peoples.
• Secondly, we underlined that indigenous peoples and local communities need to be fully involved in the development of solutions. Top-down processes that are exclusively conservation-oriented do not work. Community input and traditional knowledge are fundamental in addressing the issue. Approaches to meet the ‘bush meat crisis’ should incorporate traditional knowledge and customary practices, and local solutions and strategies.
• As we explained last June and again yesterday at the side event; we have customary rules and laws that ensure sustainability of biodiversity in our territories. These laws and rules should be respected and supported – in line with Article 10(c) to protect and encourage customary sustainable use of biodiversity – and this can also be done by supporting our traditional institutions. Having secure rights to lands, territories and resources is fundamental in maintaining and carrying out these customary practices, as they are connected to our territories and resources that we have used for generations.
• We agree that alternative income-generating projects, to reduce dependency on bushmeat, can be a good idea, but only if a few conditions are met:
o They must be culturally appropriate
o They also need to be established and implemented bottom-up (by and with communities, not top-down)
o In this regard, there is a need for funds and support to assist communities in their own community-based livelihood and income projects.
• Mr. chair, we also pointed out that underlying causes of wildlife degradation, such as opening of the forest for logging and mining and other extractive activities and the construction of roads, must be addressed: we should not only look at the actual killing of wild animals. We are noticing that our areas are becoming more accessible to outsiders such as sports hunters and poachers, and mining and logging activities (use of light and heavy noise) drives the animals further into the forest. These causes of habitat loss and unsustainable hunting need to be tackled as soon as possible.
Lastly, we think that the establishment of protected areas or wildlife management areas could be a solution, but only if indigenous peoples and local communities are fully and effectively involved in this, and if our rights and customary sustainable use are fully respected.
Looking back at the outcome of the Joint meeting of the Liaison Group on Bushmeat in Nairobi last June, we were pleased to observe that most of the input that we provided was agreed and accepted.
Given that these revised recommendations were developed by an expert group with the participation of indigenous peoples and local communities, we call on Parties to support these recommendations and adopt them as they are.
Thank you Mr Chair.