Evidence to Action Symposium 9th October 2018 Zoological Society, London

12 Oct 2018 - 09:15

Francis Massé of the University of Sheffield and Annette Hübschle are co-hosting a mini-workshop at the Evidence to Action Symposium.  More than 250 International Wildlife Trade experts will come together at the symposium to explore how evidence can help prompt effective policy and action against illegal trade in wildlife.  At Francis and Annette's mini-workshop, a diverse set of scholars will explore policy, practice, rationales and impacts of wildlife protection economies.

Understanding Conservation Protection Economies: Policy, Practice, Rationales, and Impacts. (Concept Note)

The intensification in commercial poaching, trafficking and the illicit trade in flora and fauna has led to a parallel intensification in efforts to disrupt illicit wildlife economies. Most notably, there is a wealth of policy, practice, and research activity on anti-poaching and law enforcement in protected areas in source countries. Of course, interventions to address IWT are not limited to these spaces and the illicit extraction of biodiversity, but are also focused at and across many scales associated with the IWT supply chain.

Given the sense of urgency attached to the rise in IWT, there is a necessity to understand the challenges and opportunities as well as the impacts of wildlife protection economies on conservation and law enforcement personnel and people living in and around source areas. Recognizing the theoretical paradigms and empirical bases on which IWT-related policing, enforcement, and other responses are based and how this shapes interventions, or not, is equally important. Hence, taking stock of current approaches to address IWT, understanding their challenges, successes, and effects to date, and shedding light on areas where more attention, resources, and research are needed, is a necessary step in shaping informed policy and practice.

The diversity of approaches in social science research is well-positioned to do just this. Indeed, there is an increasing amount of research by geographers, sociologists, criminologists, crime scientists, anthropologists and more on anti-poaching, conservation law enforcement, and the broad range of efforts being implemented to address IWT. Much of this is complemented by colleagues and research in the natural and conservation sciences.

With this in mind, we invite panellists from a variety of backgrounds and approaches to contribute to our mini workshop as part of the Evidence to Action event. We hope to contribute to an informed and enhanced understanding of the landscape of interventions to address IWT. 

Specifically, we seek panellists who can speak to one or more of the following themes and questions: 

● What does your research method or disciplinary approach offer to an understanding of IWT-related policing, enforcement, and responses?

● Empirical cases of the successes and challenges of different anti-poaching, law enforcement and policing response and lessons learned.

● Comparable case studies on protection economies, illegal markets or criminal networks outside of IWT 

● How might interventions to address IWT be more socially, economically and ecologically just and sustainable?

The 2018 IWT event was jointly organised by Oxford Martin Programme on the Illegal Wildlife Trade, BIOSEC University of Sheffield, Lancaster Environment Centre, the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, the Zoological Society of London.

On 11th-12th October 2018, the UK Government host a major Heads of Government conference on tackling the illegal wildlife trade (IWT), the London 2018 IWT Conference. One of its central aims is to build coalitions between sectors, including researchers, private sector, NGOs, civil society (including the media) and governments.

To support this aim, five of the UK’s most active IWT research organisations are organising a novel event entitled ‘Evidence to Action: Research to Address the Illegal Wildlife Trade’ to be held at the Zoological Society of London on October 9, 2018. The event will bring together researchers and end-users from across all sectors working on IWT, to find new ways of working together to tackle this complex topic. Research plays a central role in finding real-world solutions to the challenges posed by IWT, in ways that are evidence-based, and effective.