With more than 100 years of experience founded on science-based management; a far-reaching international network; and a history of achieving conservation results, the Association is uniquely qualified to address these challenges on behalf of our member agencies by participating in a number of important international initiatives and efforts.
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) is widely recognized as a critical component in world conservation. The Association participates in CITES activities because decisions made abroad can impact state management programs in the United States.
The Association maintains a working group of state wildlife agency representatives from each regional association that works in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to engage on CITES issues.
CITES Technical Work Group: Buddy Baker (SEAFWA); Jack Buckley (NEAFWA); Carolyn Caldwell (MAFWA); JIm Devos (WAFWA).
The last CITES Conference of the Parties (CoP 16) was held in March 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand [download report]. The last CITES meetings were the Animals Committee (CITES Technical WG Report) in April 2014 and the Standing Committee in July 2014. Go to the AFWA CITES page or www.cites.org for more information.
Southern Wings Program
The Southern Wings Program is a partnership of state agencies to provide a funding mechanism for bird conservation projects in Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Based solidly on the biology that exists about birds that occur in the U.S. and also spend time on wintering grounds, Southern Wings enables financial participation by interested states; produces enables financial participation by interested states; produces progress and accomplishments reports resulting from the states’ investments; and allows states to leverage their funds through the benefits of match. Since 2009 state agencies provided more than $850,000 USD and $550,000 in in-kind support to conservation of state agency priority birds in Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean.
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Joint Management Committee Meeting on International Humane Trapping Standards
In the U.S., state wildlife agencies depend on traps and trappers for the implementation of successful management programs of wild furbearers. Regulated trapping, as well as habitat modification, are the principal means available to many state wildlife conservation agencies for public participation in maintaining healthy furbearer populations.
Traps are utilized for management of game species, protection of threatened or endangered species, reintroduction of wildlife species to historical ranges, habitat protection and management, protection of private and public property, maintenance of public health and safety, and a wide range of research activities that require wildlife capture.
Additionally, trapping often provides for subsistence and income in rural and indigenous societies. If trappers can’t sell their fur, many are not going to trap. Such a scenario would hurt state furbearer management programs by shifting the costs of management to the agencies (which could easily rise into the millions of dollars) instead of having private licensed trappers conduct the trapping.
During the Fourth Annual Joint Management Committee for the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards held in December 2013, the U.S. delegation successfully maintained its present Agreed Minute with the European Union (EU), allowing fur harvested in the U.S. to be imported into the EU. Two delegates from the Association and three delegates from the state wildlife agencies and tribes attended the meeting to share research on trapping furbearers in the U.S. and our BMP program.
International Trapping Regulations
Modern regulated trapping plays an important role in wildlife management and conservation in North America. Its uses are many but include: capturing endangered species for reintroduction efforts; protecting threatened and endangered species from predation during nesting; and capturing animals for research purposes, prevention of overpopulation and spread of disease and the control of damage to crops and livestock.
Since 1997, the Association has participated in an international effort to improve the welfare of furbearing mammals captured in traps. Results of this research are published as Best Management Practices for Trapping in the United States (BMPs).
Approximately $9.5 million has been spent to date on this national trap testing program, including federal funds and state contributions, direct and in-kind. While the majority of funds have been used for trap testing, at least $1 million has been spent on outreach programs.
In addition, federal and state wildlife management agencies conduct related, specialized research to improve animal capture systems. BMPs are available online. These documents are used extensively in trapper education programs and research efforts.
International Union for the Conservation of Nature
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) (http://www.iucn.org/) was founded in 1948 with a mission to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.
AFWA is one of more than 1,200 member organizations that participate in IUCN. AFWA participates as a member of the Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialists Group (www.iucn.org/about/union/commissions/sustainable_use_and_livelihoods_specialist_group/). The reason for participation is to bring the state wildlife agency experience and knowledge to sustainable use issues and increase the knowledge of the North American Model of Conservation.
The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance—called the Ramsar Convention (www.ramsar.org) —is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. The Ramsar Convention is the only global environmental treaty that deals with a particular ecosystem to achieve sustainable development worldwide.
The Association serves as the Secretary of the U.S. National Ramsar Committee, which has helped designate 36 Ramsar wetlands in the U.S.; supports sites’ needs for outreach and communication; and helps address threats to Ramsar sites. The Association also represents the state agency at the Conference of the Parties.
The Association sits on the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) Hemispheric Council (www.whsrn.org/) to help conserve shorebirds with partners throughout the Western Hemisphere. We also represent state agencies’ interests in the Western Hemisphere Migratory Species Initiative (WHMSI) http://www.whmsi.net.
AFWA is also monitoring a number of other conventions and issues such as the Convention on Migratory Species, Convention on Biological Diversity and international lead and sustainable use discussions.
Tri-lateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystem
Conservation and Management
The Association and individual state agency representatives participate in the Tables of the Tri-lateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystem Conservation and Management (Trilateral) (www.trilat.org) . The Tables discuss issues related to migratory bird management, shared species and shared ecosystems with government agencies from the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
The last meeting was held on May 26-30, 2014 in Querétaro,Mexico. Go here for the report.
Amphibian and Reptile Conservation
The Association is engaged in international work as it relates to amphibian and reptile conservation. AFWA currently is working with the IUCN Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. The Association is also a member of the IUCN Amphibian Specialist Group.