Providing the Secretariat to the EU Platform on Coexistence Between People and Large Carnivores

Four of the large carnivore species existing in Europe are among the most challenging group of species in conservation terms on an EU level: brown bear (Ursus arctos), wolf (Canis lupus), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), and wolverines (Gulo gulo). On the one hand, this is because of their biological needs, especially their large ranges which cross borders. On the other hand, they are controversial becuase they potentially conflict with human economic activities such as farming and hunting and in rare cases threaten human safety.

The sometimes problematic relationship between humans and large carnivores stands in the way of achieving the aims of the EU Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC). In an effort to improve this coexistence and tackle the social and economic problems that can come with large carnivores' expansion in range and numbers, the European Commission in June 2014, launched the Platform on Coexistence between People and Large Carnivores. With this Platform, landowners, herders, conservationists, hunters and scientists can exchange ideas and best practices.

The following seven organisations sit on the Platform: CIC – The International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation; ELO - European Landowners’ Organization; EUROPARC Federation; FACE – The European Federation of Associations for Hunting & Conservation; Joint representatives of Finnish and Swedish Reindeer Herders; IUCN – The International Union for Conservation of Nature, European Union Representative Office; and WWF – World Wide Fund for Nature, European Policy Office. Together, they agreed to a set of core principles for working together. These include working within the legal EU framework; using scientific evidence; recognising socio-economic and cultural considerations; and engaging in constructive dialogue and cooperation.

In the second year of the project, adelphi, together with its partner Callisto provided the secretariat for the Platform. This included helping Platform members to implement the Communication Strategy, producing materials, attending conferences, management of the website and online library. In addition, the secretariat gathered good practice examples and carry out research into rural development support for coexistence. An annual meeting in Brussels and workshops in the member states was organised.