IIED is inviting policymakers, practitioners and researchers to submit case studies to a new online database focused on local communities and illegal wildlife trade.
The Conservation, crime and communities database is designed to provide a central reference point for practitioners and policymakers seeking ways to reduce wildlife crime by engaging with local communities. It aims to gather detailed information about different mechanisms for engaging communities and to highlight what works, and why.
Case study information can be submitted by completing a summary document, available in English and French, and emailing it and any related photos to IIED. Researchers will review the submissions and then post the case studies online.
IIED is particularly interested to hear about different mechanisms for engaging communities in tackling wildlife crime, such as:
- Schemes that generate revenue for local people based on sustainable wildlife use
- Schemes that engage community scouts and game guards to undertake anti-poaching activities
- Initiatives that reward communities for intelligence on poaching activities, or
- Initiatives that reduce or mitigate the costs of living with wildlife.
The submission templates include questions about what did and what did not work in relation to community engagement. Policymakers and researchers will be able to use the database to search for evidence about different types of project and to identify the key ingredients needed for successful interventions.
The database, which has been developed with funding from the UK's Department for International Development (DfID), is searchable by country and species. It also features overviews of national policy contexts for the illegal wildlife trade and community engagement.
Capturing the stories of what works
To date, most countries affected by wildlife crime have focused on reducing demand and increasing law enforcement. IIED is working with partners to show how involving local communities can be a powerful driver for successfully tackling the issue.
Dilys Roe, principal researcher in IIED's Natural Resources research group, says the case studies will provide profile for some excellent initiatives that are not currently widely known, and a source of ideas and inspiration for others looking to develop something similar. She said: "While it has been recognised that engaging communities is critical in the fight against poaching and illegal wildlife trade, there is no one-size-fits-all approach and so all too often it is easier not to bother.
"This database is intended to capture stories of what has worked – and equally what has not worked so well – in order to help and inspire others to try something similar."
Dilys added: "Please help us to make this a useful resource by validating the information it currently contains, and by adding new information."
To submit a case study, practitioners should visit the Conservation, crime and communities website submissions page and download and complete the contributor template, then email it back.
Contributors can also submit publications which detail case studies: to do this email Dilys Roe via firstname.lastname@example.org.