Engaging local communities is recognised as a key approach to tackling the trade in illegal wildlife. But how is such engagement done effectively? A new report led by CEED Research Fellow Duan Biggs has developed a ‘theory of change’ that seeks to answer this challenge.
The report, Engaging local communities in tackling illegal wildlife trade. Can a ‘theory of change’ help? is a co-production of the International Institute for Environment and Development (iied), the IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (SULi) and CEED.
Poaching and the associated illegal wildlife trade are devastating populations of iconic species such as rhinos, elephants and tigers, as well as a host of lesser known species.
Current approaches to tackling the problem focus on law enforcement, reducing market demand and supporting local communities that live in and around regions where the poaching takes place. To date, most attention has been paid to the first two approaches with relatively limited attention given to the third. The reason is that, while people agree we need to engage local communities in order to tackle illegal trade in wildlife effectively, they don’t know what to do, or how to do it.