Time to act on our World Conservation Congress commitments

Back from the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Korea, I am worried if we do not start to “walk our talk” as my colleagues say, we will be in real danger of losing the last remaining opportunities to slow and ideally stop the loss of many of the world’s animal species.

A number of steps agreed to at the congress in Korea may bring real improvement for the welfare of wildlife. One of the outstanding examples may be that, finally, animal welfare has been recognised as a necessary component when developing wildlife conservation and management solutions.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare now shall be invited into a collaborative partnership of all stakeholders to develop real ecologically sustainable concepts to overcome several major issues threatening many wildlife species and populations. For example, the so-called bushmeat crisis in Africa.

Other positive commitments at the congress, like shutting down bear farms in Vietnam and Korea, give me hope, despite the lack of similar commitment from China. The delegates from China were not able to accept more than committing to investigate how bear farms fuel poaching of wild bears and the illegal trade in bear products – but they agreed to that at least, which is progress.

The fight against the poaching of elephants in Africa is set to become a much higher priority.

Threatened dolphins and sharks will be better protected and threats to wildlife habitats shall be decreased.

This is all good, while not good enough yet; in fact there remains a tremendous amount to be done.

Good animal welfare standards, which are not yet accepted as of any conservation concept, must be integrated into all relevant mainstream policies and management concepts.

All bear farms (as any other wildlife farms causing unacceptable cruelty) must be closed.

Ivory markets need to be shut as long as elephants are being killed for their ivory. Generally, governments must put the “precautionary approach” into action and manage human impact on nature by primary consideration for the well-being of individual animals, their wild populations and the ecosystems they live in.

That way we may succeed to halt the loss of biodiversity by progressing towards a more “peaceful co-existence between nature and humanity “, the vision expressed by the Minister for the Environment of Korea in his opening speech at the congress.  

We need to convert the good commitments from the congress into action.

We have no time to waste, but must collectively “walk that talk” or we will lose out on a tremendous opportunity.  

--PP

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Experts

Azzedine Downes,Executive Vice President for International Operations, VP of P
President and Chief Executive Officer
Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Dr. Ralf (Perry) Sonntag, Country Director, Germany
Country Director, Germany
Erica Martin, Vice President of Communications
Vice President of Communications
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Isabel McCrea, Regional Director, Oceania
Regional Director, Oceania
Jason Bell, Program Director, Elephants Regional Director, South Africa
Program Director, Elephants, Regional Director, South Africa
Jeffrey Flocken, Regional Director, North America
Regional Director, North America
Jordi Casamitjana, Campaigns and Enforcement Manager, IFAW UK
Campaigns and Enforcement Manager, IFAW UK
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Whales
Peter Pueschel, Director, International Environmental Agreements
Director, International Environmental Agreements
Sonja Van Tichelen, Regional Director, European Union
Regional Director, European Union
Tania McCrea-Steele, Campaigns and Enforcement Manager, IFAW UK
Campaigns and Enforcement Manager, IFAW UK