Wildlife & Biodiversity

Survey results on voluntary meat regulation released

The result, released at United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), did not carry voices from indigenous communities  

Published: Friday 28 February 2020

The ongoing open-ended meeting for a post-2020 framework of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Rome, Italy, has released the results of a survey on voluntary guidance for regulating wild meat sector.

The open survey — conducted between July 31, 2019 and September 20, 2019 — was the first since the adoption of sustainable wildlife management by the 14th Conference of Parties to the convention in 2018.

It asked respondents to assess the coverage of voluntary guidance of wild meat, which aims to enforce sustainable meat trade. According to studies, there has been a decline in wildlife due to wild meat trade. 

Wild meat is an essential source of protein and livelihood for forest dwelling indigenous communities. According to the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), recent surge in commercial trade in wild meat has led to decline of wildlife.  “Measured per capita wild meat consumption in different tropical regions ranges from 0.05 to 0.28 kg/person/day,” according to CIFOR assessment.

However, survey results threw a notable miss in the category of respondents — that of people from indigenous communities. Absence of response from the indigenous communities overshadowed the results that overwhelmingly supported a sustainable wildlife management regime.

“No indigenous people and local communities or women’s groups responded to the survey,” according to the survey result report.

According to the report, over three-fifth of the respondents belonged to organisations working in related field; two-fifth of them were parties to CBD.

The survey presented several questions to participants. Over half of them did not consider voluntary guidance for sustainable wild meat sector. However, when asked whether they would support the voluntary regime to regulate wild meat, 54 per cent answered in affirmative.

According to the report, over 90 per cent of the respondents held that wildlife management was a significant part of governance in their countries/areas of work. However, 50 per cent of them said that the voluntary wild meat guidance was not yet part of the governance framework on wildlife.

About 23 per cent said the voluntary regime was an integral part of their respective wildlife governance framework.

CBD’s adopted guidance expects parties to it "reduce demand for unsustainably managed wild meat” and "create enabling conditions for legal, regulated, and sustainable wild meat sector”.

The results showed that across the world, parties to CBD have laws recognising indigenous communities’ right to sustainably use wildlife for consumption as well as livelihood purposes.

Increasing consumption of wild meat in urban areas triggered the need to regulate the sector. In African countries, wild meat is increasingly being consumed in urban areas, according to recent studies. In the Congo Basin, around 65 per cent of wild meat hunted is traded for consumption by urban dwellers.

On whether the countries have taken up steps to reduce demand of wild meat, the survey showed some disappointing results. Only half of the respondents said there were strategies to reduce demand for wild meat in urban areas that led to a boom in the commercial sector.

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