CITES Standing Committee Meeting in Lyon
A small WCS team attended the CITES Standing Committee (SC74) meeting in Lyon, France (March 7-11). The in-person WCS delegation led by Sue Lieberman included colleagues from different programs and regions: Alfred DeGemmis (International Policy), Santi Saypanya (Lao Program), Luke Warwick and Dana Tricarico (Sharks & Rays Program), and Arnaud Goessens (EU Policy). SC74 was especially noteworthy since it was the last CITES meeting before CoP19 that will take place in Panama from November 14 to November 25, 2022. Our WCS policy briefing in English, French, and Spanish is found at www.wcs.org/our-work/solutions/international-policy, under CITES.
Virtual Dialogue on Wildlife Trafficking
On the occasion of World Wildlife Day, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) organised a virtual dialogue on 3rd March 2022 to present lessons learned and discuss challenges and opportunities for a renewed EU Action Plan to tackle wildlife trafficking, including how the EU can support the fight against wildlife trafficking in the field in partner countries. WCS's Arnaud Goessens, Associate Director, EU Policy, presented key elements that could be strengthened in a renewed EU Action Plan and what is important at the policy level that has not been addressed yet. WCS's Yovana Murillo, Program Manager for Counter Wildlife Trafficking in AAO, presented the Alliance for Wildlife and Forest, which seeks to improve the understanding of the dynamics of wildlife and timber trafficking, to develop collaboration mechanisms between civil society and governments, and to engage civil society. More information is available here.
6th EU - AU summit & Africa-Europe week
European Union and African Union leaders met in Brussels for the 6th European Union - African Union summit on 17 and 18 February 2022. In the run-up to the summit, the first edition of the Africa-Europe week took place from 14 to 18 February 2022, a key moment that brought together young people, civil society and the private sector from Africa and Europe to discuss the aspects of the Africa-EU Partnership that matter to them the most. The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), CAN Europe, Red Cross EU, and the African Womens Communication and Developmnet Network (FEMNET) co-organised an event on 15 February 2022 titled 'From Local to Global Green Action: African EU cooperation to tackle the interlinked climate, health and biodiversity crises'. Mr. Gaspard Abitsi, WCS Gabon Country Program Director, discussed international biodiversity negotiations and their relationship to the AU-EU partnership, NaturAfrica, and the interlinkages between climate change, biodiversity loss, and pandemics. More information is available here.
BEOH Web Conference 2021 : Joining Belgian forces for a One Health Green Deal
The Belgian One Health network (BEOH) organized a virtual Belgian One Health conference on the 23th of November 2021. The BEOH network invited Belgian scientists, policy makers and civil society to discuss how the European Green Deal can be best supported in Belgium from a One Health perspective. Belgian experts discussed various themes such as the farm to fork strategy, circular economy, biodiversity, and climate change, and presented cross-cutting recommendations on how to operationalize the One Health approach in Belgium. Speakers included Mr. Frank Vandenbroucke, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Social Affairs and Public Health, Dr. Laetitia Lempereur, Research Coordinator at the Belgian Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment, Mr. Tony Agotha, Senior Diplomatic Expert to European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans, and Mr. Arnaud Goessens, Senior Manager for EU Policy at WCS EU, among others. More information is available here.
Arnaud Goessens, WCS EU, presenting at the Belgian One Health Conference
Official launch of Biodiversa+, the European Biodiversity Partnership
The official launch of Biodiversa+, the new co-funded biodiversity partnership – jointly developed by BiodivERsA and the European Commission (DG Environment and DG Research & Innovation) – took place on 17th November 2021, in Brussels. Part of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, Biodiversa+ gathers 75 research programmers and funders and environmental policy actors from 37 European and associated countries to build the bridge between science, policy and practice. Speakers at the official launch included Ms. Hilde Eggermont, Biodiversa+ Chair & Coordinator, Belgian Science Policy Office, Ms. Joanna Drake, DG Research & Innovation Deputy Director General, Mr. Patrick Child, DG Environment Deputy Director General, Ms. Anne Teller, DG Environment, and Dr. Janice Weatherley-Singh, WCS EU. Dr. Weatherley-Singh presented the international policy landscape: needs and opportunities for Biodiversa+ to partner up. More information is available here.
Dr. Janice Weatherley-Singh, WCS EU, presenting at the official launch of Biodiversa+
Preventing the Next Pandemic: One Health, emerging infectious diseases and wildlife trade
On 28th September 2021, the MEPs for Wildlife, a cross-party interest group at the European Parliament, organized a webinar titled 'Preventing the Next Pandemic: One Health, emerging infectious diseases and wildlife trade', in partnership with WCS EU, Humane Society International/Europe (HSI) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Speakers including Dr. Chris Walzer, Executive Director, WCS Health Program, discussed the on-the-ground impact of markets for live wildlife, particularly for human consumption, and associated wildlife trade, the links to biodiversity, climate, security, and health and how to address these threats through an integrated One Health approach. More information is available here.
Prof. Dr. Chris Walzer, Executive Director, Health Program, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), presenting during the webinar
Virtual launch of the EU-funded project to protect the 5 Great Forests of Mesoamerica
The virtual launch of the EU-funded project to protect the 5 Great Forests of Mesoamerica took place on 16th September 2021. Through partnerships between governments, civil society, research partners, and Indigenous Peoples, the initiative aims to transform agriculture and food systems and protect intact forested ecosystems in Mesoamerica’s Five Forests, in order to adapt to and mitigate climate change, protect biodiversity, and improve livelihoods. The event included interventions from H.E. Mr. François Roudié – Ambassador of the EU to El Salvador, H.E. Mr. Mario Rojas Espino – Ministro de Ambiente y Recursos Naturales de Guatemala y Presidente Pro Tempore de la CCAD, and Dr. Jeremy Radachowsky – WCS Regional Director for Mesoamerica and Caribe, among others. More information is available here.
Dr. Jeremy Radachowsky presenting the 5 Great Forests initiative
IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille, France
The IUCN World Conservation Congress took place from 3-11 September 2021 in Marseille, France, in a hybrid format with nearly 6,000 registered participants on site and more than 3,500 online participants. As a founding and very active member of IUCN, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) participated in the main three components of the congress: The Members' Assembly, The Forum, and the Exhibition. WCS speakers included, among others, Dr. Madhu Rao – Senior Advisor for WCS Asia, Ms. Diana Paredes – Landscape Ecology Coordinator at WCS Ecuador, Mr. Arnaud Goessens – Senior Manager for EU Policy, and Dr. Inaoyom Imong – Cross River Landscape Director at WCS Nigeria. More information is available here.
Presentation of the Sustainable Wildlife Management (SWM) Programme at the EU pavilion
European Development Days
On 15th and 16th June 2021, the European Commission organised the European Development Days (EDD), a fully digital and interactive conference, which included more than 90 online sessions, 300+ speakers and 10,600+ participants, around the theme ‘The Green Deal for a Sustainable Future’. The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) participated in several sessions on topics such as biodiversity conservation, protected areas, wildlife crime, and youth engagement. WCS speakers included, among others, Dr. Cristián Samper – President and CEO, Dr. Michel Masozera – Director of Policy and Institutional Partnerships for Africa, and Ms. Yovano Murillo – Program Manager for Counter Wildlife Trafficking in Andes-Amazon-Orinoco. More information is available here.
Addressing the Biodiversity Crisis: The Role of the Africa-EU Partnership
On 17th March 2021, Dr. Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, European Parliament Rapporteur for the new EU-Africa Strategy, in partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) organised a virtual high-level conference titled “Addressing the Biodiversity Crisis: The Role of the Africa-EU Partnership”. The conference was moderated by Dr. Susan Lieberman – WCS Vice President for International Policy, and included interventions from H.E. Ms. Jutta Urpilainen – EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, H.E. Hon. Ms. Sharon Ikeazor – Nigeria Environment Minister of State, Dr. Emma Stokes – WCS Regional Director for Central Africa, Mr. Rémy Rioux – CEO of the French Development Agency (AFD), and Dr. Michel Masozera – WCS Director of Policy and Institutional Partnerships for Africa, among others. More information is available here.
EU Parliament's ENVI Committee public hearing
On 14th January 2021, the EU Parliament's ENVI Committee organised a public hearing on “Facing the sixth mass extinction and increasing risk of pandemics: what role for the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030”, which included an intervention by Dr. Chris Walzer, Executive Director, WCS Health Program (see the full programme here and the video recording here). In the context of this event, WCS EU developed a document with several recommendations on how the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2030 can help reduce the risk of pandemics of zoonotic origin. To access the document please click here.
Dr. Chris Walzer, Executive Director, WCS Health Program at the EU Parliament's ENVI Committee public hearing on 14th January
One Planet Summit in Paris
On 11th January 2021, a One Planet Summit on Biodiversity was held in Paris, under the leadership of President Macron, gathering political leaders and CEOs, pledging to reverse the destruction of nature (see the video recording here). This high-level event included an intervention by Dr. Cristián Samper, WCS President and CEO. To access the full statement please click here.
(From left to right): French President Emmanuel Macron and WCS President and CEO, Dr. Cristián Samper at the One Planet Summit, January 11, 2021
Webinar on a "Forest-First Approach"
WCS hosted a virtual event on 11th December on the ‘Forest-First Approach’, a new framing that addresses supply chain risk and reduces deforestation and biodiversity loss at the forest and farm frontier. This webinar engaged government, scientists and civil society representatives in a panel discussion. The panellists discussed how different stakeholders can work together to ensure that supporting actions can accompany new legal tools to have the highest impact on effectively combatting deforestation and forest degradation linked to commodity production in producer countries. More information available here.
(From top to bottom, left to right): Janice Weatherley-Singh (WCS EU), Leonie Lawrence (WCS), Jeni Pareira (WCS Indonesia), Daphne Hewitt (FAO), Chantal Marijnissen (DG DEVCO), Justin Adams (TFA), Lisa Kirfel-Rühle (BMZ)
One Planet, One Health, One Future
The German Federal Foreign Office (FFO) in partnership with WCS co-hosted a two day virtual conference “One Planet, One Health, One Future: Moving forward in a post-COVID19 world” in November 2020. This conference built on the 2019 One World, One Health, One Future conference and the Berlin Principles on One Health, which were launched at the 2019 event. Event speakers and participants warned of the dire impact on our global society if we kept ignoring the interconnected issues relevant to human, animal and environmental health – also known as the One Health approach. A few months later, the COVID-19 pandemic gave a devastating wake-up call for the global community. More information available here.
(From left to right): Dr. Susan Lieberman, WCS Vice President for International Policy and Mr. Niels Annen, Minister of State, German Federal Foreign Office
Webinar on “Building back better with Nature-based Solutions”
WCS EU and IUCN jointly hosted a virtual European Green Week partner event on 16 October: “Building back better with Nature-based Solutions”. This webinar engaged government, scientists and civil society representatives in a panel discussion to share knowledge and ideas that inspire action to upscale Nature-based Solutions in Europe and globally, including as part of green recovery plans being developed in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Nature-based solutions can help to bring life and integrity back to damaged ecosystems to improve wildlife habitats, protect soils and watersheds, support economic resiliency, and better confront a changing climate. More information available here.
(From top to bottom, left to right): Janice Weatherley-Singh (WCS EU), Zacharie Mechali (AFD), Erica ten Broeke (Commonland), Hilde Eggermont (Belgian Biodiversity Platform/BiodivERsA), Chantal van Ham (IUCN), Elena Visnar Malinovska (DG CLIMA)
13th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CMS, India
WCS, WCS India and WCS EU attended the thirteenth meeting of Conference of Parties (CoP13) to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), which took place in Gandhinagar, India, from 15-22 February 2020. This year the CoP convened under the theme: “Migratory species connect the planet and together we welcome them home.” We worked closely with CMS Parties to share our scientific, technical, and policy expertise. In total, 10 new species were added to the CMS Appendices, of which seven were added to Appendix I, including the Asian elephant, jaguar, great Indian bustard, Bengal florican, little bustard, antipodean albatross and the oceanic white-tip shark. The Urial, jaguar, smooth hammerhead shark, and the tope shark were listed for protection under Appendix II. New and extended Concerted Actions with targeted conservation plans were approved for 14 species. More information here.
WCS Team Members (from left to right): Aristo Mendis, Ramya Roopa, Avik Banerjee, Arnaud Goessens, Sue Lieberman, Luke Warwick, Aditi Rajan, Alfred DeGemmis
Reception on the CBD Post-2020 Framework in Brussels
WCS EU hosted a reception for officials from the European Commission and EU Member State governments involved in UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) negotiations, on Monday 28th October. Opening remarks were given by Ms. Marina Von Weissenberg from the Finnish government, before a presentation was made by WCS’ Dr. Tom Evans. Dr. Evans made the case for a new post-2020 CBD target related to ecosystem integrity, before presenting the new ‘Forest Health Index’ as a means by which to measure forest ecological integrity and forest degradation. The reception was attended with government representatives from Germany, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Denmark, Austria and Croatia as well as staff from the European Commission, FAO, IUCN and various NGOs.
Left to right: Tom Evans (WCS), Janice Weatherley-Singh (WCS EU), Marina Von Weissenberg (Finnish Government)
Second Steering Committee meeting of the Sustainable Wildlife Management (SWM) Programme
On 25th September, the partners of the Sustainable Wildlife Management (SWM) Programme gathered in Brussels for the second Steering Committee meeting. The objective of the SWM Programme is to reconcile the challenges of wildlife conservation with those of food security in a set of key socio-ecosystems. It is an initiative of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states and funded by the European Union. Led by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the programme also relies on the expertise of the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) and WCS.
Top to bottom, left to right: Myrto Arvaniti (FAO), Filippo Saracco (European Commission), Arnaud Goessens (WCS EU), Motooa Rammoneng (ACP), Alain Billand (CIRAD), John Fa (CIFOR), Conrad Aveling, Tiina Vahanen (FAO), Philippe Mayaux (European Commission), Olusola Ojo (ACP), Hubert Boulet (FAO)
CITES holds first workshop on the legal acquisition of wildlife in Brussels
Over 80 participants representing Parties, Intergovernmental Organisations and NGOs from around the world met in Brussels from 13 to 15 June to help design guidelines for the making of legal acquisition findings. The participants discussed guiding principles, methodologies, practical tools, required documentation, forensic expertise, and other resources needed by Management Authorities to verify the legal acquisition of specimens of CITES-listed species to be exported. The European Union provided financial, technical and logistic support for the workshop. Representatives from various NGOs, including CIEL, Defenders of Wildlife, EAZA, EIA, NRDC, Pro Wildlife, WCS, and WWF attended the workshop. More information can be found here.
Left to right: Arnaud Goessens (WCS), Colman O Criodain (WWF), Sandra Altherr (Pro Wildlife), Alejandra Goyenechea (Defenders of Wildlife), Melissa Blue Sky (CIEL), Allan Muir (EAZA), Vanessa Richardson (EIA), Sue Lieberman (WCS), Paul Todd (NRDC). Credit: Juan Carlos Vasquez/CITES
DG DEVCO launches the “Larger than Tigers” study in Brussels
On May 22nd 2018, DG DEVCO launched the 'Larger than Tigers: Asia strategic approach for biodiversity conservation' study. The report provides valuable information and analysis in support of a strategic approach to halt environmental degradation and biodiversity loss in Asia. The launch event comprised a presentation by Pete Wood - lead author of the study, and a panel discussion with Stefano Manservisi, Director General of DG DEVCO, Joe Walston, WCS Vice President for Global Conservation, Sugoto Roy from the IUCN Tiger Programme, and Claire Doole as moderator. The event was well attended, with representatives from the European Commission, European Parliament, and various environmental organisations.
Left to right: Stefano Manservisi (DG DEVCO), Joe Walston (WCS), Sugoto Roy (IUCN), Claire Doole. Credit: Bernal Revert/BR&U
Presenting WCS's work with local communities in Africa at the European Parliament
On March 6th 2018, MEP Karl-Heinz Florenz hosted an event at the European Parliament to discuss the important role that local communities play in wildlife conservation in Africa. The event comprised a panel discussion with Ali Kaka - Vice-President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature - as moderator, H.E. Tadeous Chifamba - Ambassador of Zimbabwe, Joanna Drake - Deputy Director-General of DG Environment, Arnaud Goessens - EU Policy Manager at the Wildlife Conservation Society, Maxi Louis - Director of NACSO, H.E. Prof. Kaire Mbuende - Ambassador of Namibia, Wilfried Pabst - Zimbabwean landowner, and Joanna Yawitch - Chairperson of the South African National Parks.
Left to right: Wilfried Pabst, Joanna Drake, Karl-Heinz Florenz, Arnaud Goessens, Joanna Yawitch, H.E. Tadeous Chifamba, Maxi Louis, H.E. Prof. Kaire Mbuende. Credit: Alexander Louvet
Dr. Cristián Samper, WCS President and CEO, visits Brussels
On April 24th 2017, Dr. Cristián Samper, WCS President and CEO, visited Brussels for various meetings with EU Officials. During his visit, Dr. Samper met with Karmenu Vella (EU Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries) and Stefano Manservisi (Director-General of DG DEVCO) to discuss WCS’ priorities, including the illegal wildlife trade, ivory, oceans, forest policy and development aid funding for biodiversity.
Left to right: Karmenu Vella, EU ENV Commissioner, and Cristián Samper, WCS President and CEO
DEVCO Environment Week
The DEVCO Environment Week 2017 took place from 6 - 10 February 2017 in Brussels. The week comprised two seminars on “Implementing the Environmental Dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” and "Conservation, Development and Security: Implementing the external dimension of EU biodiversity policies". There was a strong participation by WCS staff members who gave several presentations, including on IWT in Latin America (by Adrian Reuter); SMART (by Emma Stokes); Conservation and security in the CAR/South-Sudan/DRC/Chad trans-border region (by Paul Elkan); Panel discussion on Conservation and Development (by David Wilkie); and ‘Larger than Tigers’ Strategic approach to protecting wildlife in Asia (by Tom Clements & Madhu Rao). More information is available here. After the conference, WCS co-organised an evening reception for the participants together with WWF, IFAW, IUCN, African Parks, AWF and TRAFFIC.
Credit: Anouska Plasmeijer/IUCN
EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking event at the European Parliament
On March 2nd 2016, MEP Catherine Bearder hosted an event at the European Parliament for the launch of the EU’s Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking. The event comprised a panel discussion with MEP Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy as Chair, Veronique Lorenzo from DG DEVCO, Mark Jones from Born Free, Janice Weatherley-Singh from the Wildlife Conservation Society and Dagmar Zíková from the Czech Republic Permanent Representation to the EU. More information here.
Left to right: Dagmar Zíková, Janice Weatherley-Singh, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, Veronique Lorenzo, Mark Jones. Credit: MEPs4wildlife