Safari Club International Foundation’s leadership and conservation team is set to host the 17th African Wildlife Consultative Forum together with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe this month.
This forum, better known as AWCF, started in 2002 and was last held in Zimbabwe nine years ago. Since then, AWCF has grown into a unique meeting of high-level government delegations, professional hunting association leadership, the USFWS, other NGOs, policy experts and wildlife biologists all gathering under the SCIF banner. This year, we are expecting 100 people from 12 African nations, a landmark level of attendance.
On the meeting’s agenda will be CITES strategy following the CoP18, which left the Southern African Development Community feeling frustrated and threatening to leave the Convention. On the positive side, Botswana will be presenting on its recent wildlife sector reform that reopened tourist hunting and community-based sustainable use. Other topics of discussion will include transfrontier conservation collaboration, importing policy with the United States and European Union, international policy arenas such as CMS and IUCN, trends in concession abandonment and large carnivore research.
SCIF has been actively working to increase representation from local communities and their support organizations. This year, community-based natural resource management or CBNRM will be officially recognized as the third major stakeholder group together with governments and PHs. As communities are critical to the future of Africa’s wildlife, AWCF is providing a venue for communities to organize and better engage in decision making processes.
Given the significant threats to trophy hunting in Africa, via policy or in the media, the AWCF group will be joining forces and focusing more than ever on addressing the need to reposition the industry and change its public image.