(Maputo, Mozambique) – Last week, Safari Club International Foundation (SCIF) hosted its 20th annual African Wildlife Consultative Forum (AWCF) in Maputo, Mozambique. This year’s Forum once again brought together a diverse group of international stakeholders—from African government officials to wildlife biologists.
Sessions during the five-day event focused on the upcoming Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and strategic agenda items for the upcoming 19th Conference of the Parties (CoP19) in Panama City, Panama. Safari Club International (SCI) and SCIF are ready, now more than ever, to take the insights gained from these fruitful discussions and defend African leadership and engagement from local communities as crucial for the success of wildlife conservation.
Fighting misguided bans against the importation of legally harvested wildlife from African nations also took the forefront of discussions. The sentiment among all participants was that these policy proposals from Western governments and ideologists are baseless and pose legitimate threats to maintaining rural communities and wildlife populations. It is imperative that African countries’ right to manage their own wildlife be respected on a global scale and recognized as effective in conservation, as it has scientifically proven to be.
Other critical topics during the Forum consisted of community-based natural resource management, human-wildlife conflict, trans-continental conservation, and international sustainable use policy.
This remarkable event was made possible in large part by the Hunter Legacy 100 Fund (HLF), which awarded SCIF nearly $500,000 for AWCF, representing the endowment fund’s long-term commitment to and a historic investment in SCIF’s conservation capacity in Africa. SCIF is incredibly grateful for this funding and proud to have brought together the world’s most influential advocates and leaders of the African hunting and conservation fields.
SCI and SCIF CEO W. Laird Hamberlin on the 20th anniversary of AWCF said, “Once again, the Forum proved to be a success for African countries and conservation worldwide. Two decades of the AWCF is a reminder of how essential it is to work collaboratively on these issues that impact African livelihoods and their wildlife. It provides us with a roadmap of where the work needs to be done and how we will do it efficiently and effectively.”
SCIF’s Conservation Manager Joe Goergen noted, “Another year of the full AWCF experience for the 20th annual conference was vital to accomplishing discussions around African wildlife conservation issues. I am proud of the work that we accomplished and eager to watch it unfold throughout the year, particularly with CITES at this year’s 19th Conference of the Parties.”