earthmind-globeSelected events

Note: Our events are terribly out-of-date. Our apologies for this. We are building a new website which we are aiming to launch in July 2018.

Indicators for Sustainable Wild Trade: Measurement in the SDGS & Beyond @ Rhin Room, International Environment House 2
Nov 19 @ 13:00 – 17:00

2015-11-GenevaOrganised Earthmind and the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development


The recently launched Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include goals on the sustainable use of marine and terrestrial ecosystems (14 and 15) and the role of trade as means of implementation (17) – all of which are directly relevant to the challenge of ensuring that the trade in wild goods and services is sustainable. For example,

• SDG 14.4 aims to “restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield;”

• SDG 15.1 aims to ensure the “sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services;” and

• SDG 17.11 commits to “increase significantly the exports of developing countries,” which for many countries could include increasing the exports of wild goods and services

Do we have indicators – economic, social, legal, cultural and biological – for measuring and monitoring the sustainability of wild trade?

The 2030 Agenda for development, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Addis Ababa Action Agenda, sets out commitments to the sustainable use of marine and terrestrial ecosystems and to the use of trade as means of implementation for the achievement of the broader framework.  Measuring and monitoring the sustainability of trade in wildlife and ecosystem services will require a solid set of usable indicators covering the activity’s economic, social, legal, cultural and biological aspects.

This dialogue brought together a cross-section of experts working on trade, conservation, and sustainability to explore the indicators we have and the indicators we need to help policy-makers and practitioners ensure that any trade in wild goods and services is sustainable. The discussion covered indicators for wild trade and the 2030 Agenda, indicators for voluntary standards for wild trade, and a concluding session that will draw the discussion together.


13:00 – Light lunch

14:00 – Indicators for wild trade and the 2030 Agenda

This session covered the biodiversity trade related indicators under discussion in the Inter-Agency Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goals and other indicators and criteria used by governments to measure trade in biodiversity, including in the context of follow up and review of the 2030 Agenda.

Facilitator: Francis Vorhies (Earthmind)

Speakers: Alice Tipping (ICTSD), Dena Cator (IUCN)

15:00 – Indicators in voluntary standards for wild trade

This session covered the indicators for wild trade used by the private sector in setting and meeting voluntary standards.

Facilitator: Jesse Hastings (National University of Singapore)

Speakers: Michael ‘tSas-Rolfes (University of Oxford), Eduardo Escobedo (Responsible Ecosystems Sourcing Platform) Regina Taymasova (ITC)

 16:00 – Bringing it together

This session compared the evolving public and private work on indicators for wild trade and assessed their coherence, especially in the context of policy coherence between agreements.

Facilitator: Alice Tipping (ICTSD)

Speakers: Colman OCriodain (WWF), Mark Halle (IISD)

More information

ICTSD dialogue website

Recorded webinar (Note: sound is not working until 4:35 minutes, apologies!)


Trade and sustainable development: Options for follow-up and review of the trade-related elements of the Post-2015 Agenda and Financing for Development – Alice Tipping (ICTSD) and
Robert Wolfe (Queen’s University and IISD)

The trade in wildlife – A framework to improve biodiversity and livelihood outcomes – ITC and IUCN (Cooney, R., Kasterine, A., MacMillan, D., Milledge, S., Nossal, K., Roe, D. and ’t Sas-Rolfes, M)

Forum on Trade and Natural Resources @ Trade & Development Forum
Dec 15 all-day

2015-12-tdsThree sessions within the ICTSD Trade and Development Symposium

Organised by the African Wildlife Foundation, Earthmind, ICTSD, IISD, and the Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment (Oxford University)


The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and supported by the commitments made in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA), was adopted in September 2015. Among the set of global priorities, the Agenda includes reform of illegal and unsustainable resource extraction (including illegal fishing, and the poaching and trafficking of protected species) and promotion of sustainable marine and terrestrial resource use. Goals 14 and 15, in particular, establish targets around ending illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and taking urgent action to end poaching and trafficking of protected flora and fauna – a target directly linked to the work undertaken by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The targets also refer to addressing “both the demand and supply of illegal wildlife products”.

As the attention of policy-makers and civil society turns to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, the first forum on ‘wild trade,’ will be organised in parallel with the WTO’s 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya. It will explore the potential for and challenges associated with sustainable trade in wild natural resources (fish, trees, other wildlife, and ecosystem services) and its support to different aspects of sustainable development, including environmental sustainability and health, livelihoods and inclusive economic growth, governance and the rule of law.

The Forum will consist of three sessions exploring the critical issues of addressing illegal trade in wild natural resources, voluntary standards for sustainable wild trade, and options for building coherent policy frameworks addressing trade in wild resources as part of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Session 1: Addressing Illegal Trade in Natural Resources

14:00-15:30 – Amboseli Room – Live coverage on the TDS webpage


Identify the distinct challenges associated with trade in illegal, unreported and unregulated fish catch; trade in illegally sourced timber; and trade in other wildlife (flora and fauna) that violates international agreements or domestic laws, as well the impact of these activities on different aspects of sustainable development (e.g. health, livelihoods, governance).

Explore how cooperative international trade policy measures by governments as well as private initiatives could help to address these challenges.


U. Rashid SUMAILA (Professor & Director, Fisheries Economics Research Unit & OceanCanada Partnership Research Director, University of British Columbia)

Paul Gathitu MASELA (Wildlife Manager, Kenya Wildlife Services)

Philip MURUTHI (Vice President for Species Conservation, African Wildlife Foundation)

Juan Carlos VASQUEZ (Legal Affairs and Trade Policy Unit of the CITES Secretariat – United Nations Environment Programme)

Mohamed AWER (Country Director, WWF Kenya)


Alice TIPPING (Senior Programme Officer, Environment and Natural Resources, ICTSD)

Session 2: Voluntary Standards for Sustainable Trade in Natural Resources

15:45-17:15 – Ivory Room –  Live coverage on the TDS webpage


Explore the opportunities and challenges for developing countries associated with the role of voluntary private standards in creating demand for sustainably sourced living natural resources (fish, timber, other wildlife, and ecosystem services).

Explore how these opportunities and challenges could be addressed, including through hard or soft law, private initiatives, public-private partnerships or Aid for Trade.


Victoria CHOMO (Trade Economist, Food and Agriculture Organization)

Michael ‘t SAS-ROLFES (Independent Conservation Economist, Cape Town, South Africa & Oxford University)

Dr. Evita SCHMIEG (Research Fellow, German Institute for International and Security Affairs)

Calvin COTTAR (Director, Cottar Safaris Services)

George WATENE (Monitoring & Evaluation Manager, 4C Association)


Francis VORHIES (Founder and Executive Director, Earthmind)

Session 3: Trade, Nature and the 2030 Agenda: The Quest for Policy Coherence

17:30-19:00 – Ivory Room – Live coverage on the TDS webpage


Identify the key inter-dependencies between trade, environment, and other policy areas that need to be addressed to build a coherent policy framework to support legal and sustainable trade in natural resources and the achievement of 2030 Agenda.


Selina JACKSON (Special Representative to the UN and the WTO, World Bank)

Daudi SUMBA (Vice President, Government Relations & Program Design, African Wildlife Foundation)

David RUNNALLS (Distinguished Fellow and former President, International Institute for Sustainable Development)

Ana ESCOBEDO (Director of International Government Affairs, ArcelorMittal)

Prof. Jaime DE MELO (Emeritus Professor, University of Geneva)


Ricardo MELENDEZ-ORTIZ (Chief Executive Officer, ICTSD)


Wildlife Trade Policy and the 2030 Agenda for Trade and Sustainable Use @ CICG Room 7&8
Jan 12 @ 12:15 – 13:45

2016-01-elephantA side-event at the 66th CITES Standing Committee Meeting


CITES SC66 Agenda Item 13: UN General Assembly Resolutions on tackling illicit trafficking in wildlife and Sustainable Development Goals


Building on discussions at the Trade and Development Symposium alongside the WTO Ministerial in December 2015 in Nairobi, the side event will explore the role of CITES within international trade policy to address illegal trade, promote sustainable trade, and enhance policy coherence regarding the trade in wild goods and services.

Under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, international trade is explicitly recognised as a means of implementation and includes the following commitments expressed as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

  • 17.10 Promote a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organisation; and
  • 17.11 Significantly increase the exports of developing countries.

This side event focused on how these SDGs relate to CITES in the context the SDG following commitments relevant to the trade in wild goods and services:

  • 14.4 Effectively regulate… illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and…. implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield
  • 14.6 Prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and refrain from introducing new such subsidies
  • 15.1 Ensure the… sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services
  • 15.7 Take urgent action to… address both demand and supply of illegal wildlife products


Steven Broad, TRAFFIC


Alice Tipping, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development
Francis Vorhies, Earthmind

CITES SC66 Doc. 13: United Nations General Assembly Resolutions on Tackling Illicit Trafficking in Wildlife and the Sustainable Development Goals

Discussion note: The SDGS, the trade in wild goods and services, and CITES

A vision for a coherent African wildlife industry @ Willow Country Lodge
Mar 22 – Mar 23 all-day

2016-05-workshopThis private workshop was organised by Wildlife Ranching South Africa to explore the following issues:

A strategy and process for acquiring relevant standardised information and data on the African wildlife industry, that will enable on-going credible research on the socio-economic costs and benefits of alternative forms of land use related to wildlife in southern and eastern Africa

A strategy for effective and coordinated future analysis and dissemination of information to policy-makers and the public

A strategy to overcome areas of contention and friction within the industry, both within and outside of South Africa

Agenda & background articles

Workshop agenda

An assessment of the economic, social and conservation value of the wildlife ranching industry and its potential to support the green economy in South Africa

The economics and institutional economics of wildlife on private land in Africa

The Kenya Story: 1977 – 2015

New directions

Technical Meeting Verified Conservation Areas @ Ministry of Infrastructure & Environment
Apr 7 @ 10:00 – 12:30

logo-nl-ministryThis meeting provided an opportunity to discuss technical issues regarding proposing and registering Verified Conservation Areas.

Chair – Wijnand Broer (CREM)

Speaker – Francis Vorhies (Earthmind)

Organiser – Steven De Bie (De Gemeynt)

More information



VCA website

hectare by hectare

Werkconferentie Verified Conservation Areas @ Madurodam
Apr 7 @ 13:30 – 16:30


This multi-stakeholder meeting opened with several keynote presentations on the Verified Conservation Area (VCA) Approach. These were followed by an interactive discussion on the scaling up the VCA Approach. The workshop concluded with thee announcement of three new Proposed VCAs – two in the Netherlands and one in South Africa.

Chair – Steven De Bie (De Gemeynt)

Speakers included Piet Wit (IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management), Hans Alders (VCA Board Chair), and Francis Vorhies (Earthmind)

Information (mostly in Dutch)

2016-04-07-workshop-photoConference Agenda

Conference Slides

Conference Report

Presentation – IUCN CEM

Presentation – VCA Approach

VCA Flyer in Dutch

VCA NL Community of Practice

VCA Website




Verifying area-based conservation @ International Civil Aviation Organization
Apr 26 @ 16:15 – 17:45
logo-cbdConvention on Biological Diversity SBSTTA20 Side Event

Room 7A 3rd Floor

Verifying area-based conservation to implement Target 11 road maps

Paragraph 54 of document UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/20/2, ‘Updated Assessment of Progress Towards Selected Aichi Biodiversity Targets,’ emphasizes that the implementation of Target 11 road maps requires focused actions, funding and technical support, and monitoring and reporting.

In support of Target 11 road maps, this side event updated the Parties and stakeholders on three key initiatives verifying area-based conservation:

The IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas which aims to recognize success in achieving conservation outcomes

The Verified Conservation Area (VCA) Approach which offers an inclusive, visible, and accountable way to recognize and encourage conservation

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Forestry Management Standard which aims to contribute to the conservation of biological diversity

In this respect, the event also explored opportunities for linking Target 11 road maps to sustainable production and consumption (Target 3), sustainable productive landscapes (Target 7), ecosystem restoration (Target 15), and resource mobilization (Target 20).

vca-hosts-logosThe event was organized by Earthmind and the Global Footprint Network and with financial support from the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment.

Jessica Thomson, Canadian Forest Service

Trevor Sandwith, IUCN Global Protected Areas Programme
Francis Vorhies, Earthmind
Andrew de Vries, Sustainable Forestry Initiative

Followed by nibbles and drinks!

More information

Side event flyer

CBD webpage for the side event

VCA flyer for CBD SBSTTA20

VCA presentation for CBD SBSSTA20

IUCN Green List website

VCA Approach website

SFI website

Closing the Plastic Tap – 2nd Workshop @ Novotel Hotel
May 9 – May 10 all-day


logo-iucnOrganised by IUCN and Foundation Prince Albert II

A private consultation with the private sector to formulate solutions and partnerships to tackle a major problem for our world’s oceans.

Workshop agenda

Workshop website

Draft framework of action (revised 01 June 2016)



Transparency & accountability in area-based conservation @ Green Room
May 26 @ 11:00 – 12:00

VCA-Logo-VCA-150wUNEP UNEA2 Green Room Event 18


VCA Partners including the Global Footprint Network, the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management and the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment


The aim of the side event was to build awareness, interest and support for the VCA Approach within the UNEA community. Under Agenda 2030, we have committed “to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change.” We have also committed under SDG Target 16.5 “to develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels.”

In this respect, the Verified Conservation Area (VCA) Approach aims to support effective, transparent and accountable area-based conservation to conserve and sustainably use marine and terrestrial ecosystems as set out in SDGs 14 and 15. In so doing, it will facilitate trade, financing and partnerships for sustainable development as set out in SDG 17.

This event introduced the VCA Approach as an effective and inclusive area-based conservation measure which aims to facilitate transparency, accountability, recognition and support for sustainable production at the landscape level. The session also presented a selection of VCAs from Africa, Europe and the Middle East to demonstrate how the Approach is being used by various stakeholders, including the private sector, to conserve our planet, hectare by hectare.

It was chaired by Ali Kaka (VCA Board member) with an introductory presentation by Francis Vorhies (Earthmind) followed by a panel discussion including Per Karlsson (African Wildlife Foundation, Nik Sekhran (UNDP), and Arthur Eijs (Dutch Ministry of Environment). The session highlighted opportunities for building partnerships and scaling up the registration of VCAs.

More information

UNEP Green Room event page 

VCA presentation

VCA flyer for UNEA2

VCA website


Innovations and Partnerships for SCP @ UNEP Headquarters
May 27 @ 08:15 – 09:45

Ministerial Breakfast

Note: The Verified Conservation Areas (VCA) Approach will be considered at this event.


Sustainable consumption and production is at the heart of Agenda 2030; not only is SDG 12 dedicated to the subject, but the way we use natural resources largely determines the chances of successful implementation of other SDG’s as well.

UNEP-IRP (quick scan on SDG’s, 2015) has pointed at the cross cutting character of natural resource management and the need for more circular approaches to resource management. Among the key messages from the UNEP-IRP analysis are the need for social and technological innovations and the need for public-private partnerships to achieve decoupling of economic growth and ecological impacts.

The European Commission and The Netherlands, in this event, will present approaches to these challenges from Europe and Africa, from both an international as well as national perspective. Two examples of innovations and partnerships that will facilitate the transition towards sustainable consumption and production will be presented.

These examples will highlight different aspects and entry points for the SCP-transition, looking at the end of the product chain (waste management), and at the beginning of that product chain (enhancing transparency and accountability for land use and conservation of healthy and productive ecosystems).

More information

UNEP UNEA side event

VCA Approach website

VCA flyer for UNEA2