The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has received €25 million in additional funding from the European Union to extend and scale up the Sustainable Wildlife Management (SWM) programme.
The initiative has been working with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries since 2017 to “strengthen people’s livelihoods” and food security, reduce unsustainable wildlife hunting and conserve wildlife.
The investment marks the second phase of the initiative, which will run from August 2023 to May 2029. It will form part of NaturAfrica, a new EU initiative for biodiversity conservation in Africa. The first phase of the initiative received €45 million, with co-funding from the French Global Environment Facility and French Development Agency.
FAO says it will continue to lead a consortium of partners, which includes the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development, the Center for International Forestry Research and the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Maria Helena Semedo, deputy director-general, FAO, said: “The SWM programme has a significant contribution to make as we work towards a sustainable and food-secure world for all. The initiative contributes to the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework as well as to the ‘four betters’ in the new FAO Strategic Framework 2022–2031.”
She added: “For example, the programme is working towards ‘better nutrition’ by promoting safe food across wild and domestic meat value chains, and towards ‘better environment’ by developing innovative approaches to improve practices, build capacities to reduce zoonotic risks and protect ecosystems”.
The partnership is working with national and regional administrations, with over 80 local and indigenous communities in 16 countries.
Marjeta Jager, deputy director-general, directorate-general for International Partnerships, European Commission, commented: “Building scalable new models to conserve wildlife and improve food security takes time. We need to further develop the models tested by the SWM Programme and to disseminate and scale up the programme’s findings, results and approaches to achieve greater impacts. For this reason, the EU seeks to provide additional funding to continue the SWM programme until June 2029.”
An increasing demand for wild meat, especially in urban areas, is threatening wildlife populations, ecosystem balance and food security of indigenous and rural communities in tropical and subtropical regions, according to the FAO.
The SWM programme aims to improve the sustainable and legal use of wild animal populations through participatory management of hunting, fishing and wildlife. It also works on reducing urban consumption of wild meat from unsustainable sources by encouraging healthy and sustainable livestock, poultry and fish farming value chains.
The new EU funding will be used to boost the impact and sustainability of the programme by completing the models and sharing tools and innovations at national, regional and international levels.
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