We generate knowledge on the wildlife economy through identifying knowledge gaps, impactful research and thought leadership, and building an Africa-wide multidisciplinary network.
AWEI's research addresses knowledge gaps regarding our understanding of wildlife governance, management, production, trade, and utilisation to ensure that wildlife economies contribute at the landscape level to nature conservation, climate resilience, livelihoods, and community well-being. Our research framework includes the following core themes:
- Ethical context of the wildlife economy
- Enabling environment and governance of the wildlife economy
- Operations of the wildlife economy
The substantive direction of our 2023-2025 Work Plan has been shaped by research undertaken in 2021-2022 and engagement with stakeholders across the continent. Our work over the last 18 months enabled us to identify more clearly several strategic areas where knowledge gaps need to be addressed:
- Understanding the true impacts of wildlife economies including conceptual understanding of complex systems evolution, how impacts can be identified, and how we can assess and measure to provide evidence of impacts
- Understanding and promoting an enabling environment for foreign and domestic direct investment in wildlife enterprises
- Deepening engagement in policymaking processes concerning sustainable wildlife use in different countries across Africa, including support at the national, regional, and continental levels
- Building capacity to trade in wildlife products – both intra-Africa and globally – particularly in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the US African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)
- Launching a major wild meat programme to generate multidisciplinary knowledge and understanding across the policy, law, business, trade, and science elements of the wild meat value chain, exploring how wild meat, as a turnkey product, can serve as the basis for unlocking wildlife economies at a landscape level
- Extending value chain approaches across multiple products to grow wildlife economies and enhance sustainability. Using the lessons from the wild meat project to replicate and broaden the value generated by wildlife economies, bringing key skills to local communities, small and large businesses
- Partnerships at ground-level landscapes to illustrate integrated wildlife economies as complex systems that can deliver multiple benefits to stakeholders through multidisciplinary approaches to action on the ground
- Furthering and using our multidisciplinary networks to provide thought leadership on wildlife economies particularly in the context of the outcomes of the 15th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
If you are working on any of these topics or are interested in working on any of them, let's connect! Please email us.