The International Union for the
Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
The Sustainable Use and
Livelihoods Specialist Group (SULi)
Introduction to IUCN and SULi
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a United Nations Permanent Observer, was founded in 1948 as the world’s first global environmental organization. Today, IUCN has the distinction of being the largest professional, global conservation network in existence, with upwards of 16,000 experts, representing 161 countries. More than 1,000 non-governmental organizations are now part of IUCN, as well as just over 200 state and government agencies. The organization is tasked with helping the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environmental problems and development challenges; operating through six commissions, and their associated specialist groups and task forces, IUCN focuses on five broad conservation issues: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Energy, Human Well-being, and Green Economics.
The Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Initiative (SULi) is a unique entity within IUCN, a global, volunteer, expert network and Specialist Group formed by IUCN as a joint initiative of the Species Survival Commission (SSC) and the Commission on Environmental, Economic, and Social Policy (CEESP). SULi’s mission is to “promote both conservation and livelihoods through enhancing equitable and sustainable use of wild species and their associated ecosystems.” SULi bridges the social and biological strengths of SSC and CEESP, providing credible, sound technical advice on sustainable use and livelihoods, translating this information into policy objectives and outcomes, and helping to mobilize ongoing efforts to change practices on the ground. SULi’s global membership includes nearly 300 experts from around the world and encompasses intergovernmental, governmental, academic, private, and NGO sectors. SULi is sub-divided into regional groups, including SULi North America.
SULi North America
SULi North America aims to support and advance SULi’s mission at the continental level, while facilitating communication between members. It functions to give North American sustainable use experiences, policies, programs, achievements, and challenges an international platform while acting as a conduit for information on emerging international issues that will affect sustainable use activities in North America.
In late 2014, Conservation Visions established the first-ever SULi North America office. The office provides an authentic center for continuity and focus on sustainable use issues. It facilitates international information exchange, enables knowledge mobilization respecting emerging sustainable use challenges and policy issues, and serves to bring the North American achievements of wildlife conservation to the IUCN network worldwide. It serves as a forecast center respecting emerging international trends and challenges with respect to sustainable use of wildlife that have implications to hunting in North America and around the world. It also provides a capture center for positive findings, publications, and review of hunting and conservation worldwide. The office manages correspondence, distributes educational materials, prepares documents, completes summary reports, engages in research, and handles travel logistics. SULi North America’s online platform became live in August of 2016 and was designed to better enable and encourage the exchange of ideas and information among SULi’s North American representatives, while facilitating improved communication across the entire SULi network. The platform, which features a library of valuable resources related to conservation and hunting, is a new conduit for engagement with both the continental and global conservation communities.
Shane Mahoney, Vice-Chair of SULi & Chair of SULi North America
In 2016, Shane Mahoney was reconfirmed in his roles as both Vice-Chair of SULi (global) and Chair of SULi North America. In these capacities he serves as spokesperson for North American positions on hunting, angling and other sustainable use resource issues and engages directly in international debates and discussions regarding sustainable use of wildlife and other resources and the conservation and social benefits that derive from such practices.