Expert Talk with Dr. François Diaz on WOAH’s activities on wildlife health and wildlife trade

The World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) is an intergovernmental organisation, that focuses on transparently disseminating information on animal diseases, improving animal health globally and thus building a safer, healthier and more sustainable world. Dr François Diaz is scientific coordinator for wildlife and bees at the WOAH Headquarters in the Preparedness and Resilience Department. He works on wildlife and biodiversity, bee health, and the international transport of diagnostic specimens. A French national, Dr François Diaz was awarded a degree of Doctor of Pharmacy and also obtained a Masters degree in International Law and Law of International Organizations.

During the Expert Talk, Diaz provided an overview of WOAH’s structure and missions. He introduced WOAH’s Working Group on Wildlife, which addresses health issues related to wild animals. Furthermore, Diaz discussed the Wildlife Health Framework developed by WOAH. The Guidelines provide an approach to facilitate key actors to identify and select disease risk reduction and intervention strategies for implementation on the ground at markets selling wildlife and along wildlife trade chains.

In his concluding remarks, Diaz highlighted the forthcoming release of updated guidelines for addressing disease risks in wildlife trade. These guidelines, expected to be available on the WOAH website by June 2023, will be disseminated to international partners and national focal points for wildlife. Diaz further gave an outlook on the implementation of the guidelines and on a working plan developed jointly with CITES.

Alliance members can find the recording and the slides of the presentation in the members area under the Expert Talk Thread in the News & Community forum. Click here to be directed to the forum.

Images ©World Organisation for Animal Health

Tags: Wildlife Health, Wildlife Trade, WOAH, Expert Talk, Diaz, Guidelines, Framework, Alliance, Event

Voices from the Ground with Indigenous Peoples Rights International

Indigenous communities play a vital role in safeguarding wildlife and hold valuable knowledge systems related to wildlife utilization and conservation. The Alliance, through ’Indigenous Peoples Rights International (IPRI) organized a virtual learning series on local realities of indigenous peoples as part of the Alliance communication format ‘Voices from the Ground’.

The first session on February 7 featured presentations from indigenous representatives in India, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and West Papua, highlighting their cultural practices, challenges, and efforts to protect wildlife. Aravind Turram and Bharath Turram from the Koya tribe in India emphasized the importance of hunting in their culture and the threats posed by infrastructure development. Thierry Birindwa Mwenge from the Bambuti Babuluko group (DRC) discussed sustainable hunting practices and the need for recognition and involvement of indigenous peoples in resource management. Maria Baru from the indigenous Miyah community in West Papua addressed illegal wildlife trade and conservation initiatives, including raising awareness and promoting eco-tourism.  

The second session on April 4 focused on the realities and challenges of indigenous groups from Latin America and the Artic. Braulina Baniwa, an indigenous activist and social anthropologist from Brazil, spoke about the need for Indigenous women to organize and defend their territories and rights. Vittus Qujaukitsoq, representing Greenland, shared how the Inuit people have adapted to the Arctic environment and utilized their traditional knowledge to survive. He discussed the role of the Fishermen’s and Hunter’s Association in Greenland in managing fishing and hunting activities, as well as their involvement in international cooperation and organizations related to wildlife conservation. Victor Manuel Vacacela from the Kichwa people in the Ecuadorian Amazon, presented the research and studies conducted by the ‘Instituto Quichua de Biotecnologia’ on traditional knowledge and sustainable resource use. He explained the Kichwa people’s holistic approach to the ecosystem and their seasonal methods of hunting, fishing, and agriculture and emphasized the importance of women in maintaining the relationship with the Earth and their role in ensuring food production and security. 

The panelists highlighted the challenges indigenous communities face in protecting their territories and conserving species. They called for increased cooperation, both at regional and international levels, to develop common strategies and address destructive practices. The presentations underscored the significance of indigenous peoples’ rights, the preservation of ecosystems, and the need for government support and enforcement of regulations. The open forum provided an opportunity for participants to exchange insights and experiences, emphasizing the close relationship between indigenous communities and wildlife.  

Overall, the sessions provided valuable insights into the experiences and efforts of Indigenous peoples in safeguarding wildlife and their traditional knowledge and practices for the benefit of present and future generations. In addition, the series aimed to raise awareness, promote collaboration, and ensure the protection of both wildlife and indigenous peoples’ livelihoods and culture, as well as the importance of their respecting and promoting their collective and individual human rights. 

For more information about the event series with IPRI and to read the detailed documentations, visit our members area.

“Guardians of the Amazon” – playfully protecting Amazonian diversity

The post below has been submitted by an individual member or a member organisation of the Alliance. Therefore, the Alliance Secretariat does not hold any responsibility or liability for the content, neither may the content be reflective of the Alliance community as such. 

THE WORST HAS HAPPENED! The Amazon, the most biodiverse place on the planet, is exploited by unscrupulous corporations and could become a dead desert. Is there any hope? Join forces with indigenous groups to give back life in its habitat. But beware: the desire for profit is a constant threat! What can we do?

The educational and collaborative Serious Game “Guardians of the Amazon” is an educational tool that aims at raising awareness and enhancing action for the protection and conservation of the Amazonian social and ecological diversity.

Initiated by a group of environmental and social scientists and educators, it was further developed with the technical support from the Faculty of Digital Media, Furtwangen University, Germany, and supported by IUCN/CEM Ecohealth Alliance together with the Gaia Foundation.  The Peruvian NGO, Red de Acción en Agricultura Alternativa, will now distribute “Guardians of the Amazon” to all nine Amazonian countries.

The game consists of 7 biotopes that need to be completed with 49 Species cards.
But 10 Threat cards that depict the drivers of the current environmental degradation and biodiversity loss currently affecting the Amazon rainforest, complicate this task. Luckily, the 20 Solutions cards help neutralize specific Threats by proposing alternatives for a rational and sustainable use of natural resources. And, the 7 Indigenous Wisdom cards, the most powerful in the game, can defuse any Threat card.

A set consists of a 9×12 cm box with 102 cards, a triptych on the rules, another on biome data, and a dice.

Players deepen their knowledge of how the Amazon biome, the planet`s largest and most biodiverse forest system, works. They learn about the intricate and, at times, incredibly subtle functional dependencies that characterize the connections between people, animals, and plants that inhabit this mega region.
Examples of these relationships include the understanding that increased wildlife encounters and illegal wildlife trade are interactions that potentially increase the risk of disease and pandemics.

“Guardians of the Amazon” provides science-based knowledge and suggests methods to safeguard biodiversity and promote the wise use of natural resources.
With the use of the game, players in different sectors, municipal officials, public officials, businesspeople, and socio-environmental and educational organizations can exchange ideas across sectors to solve complicated problems and spot opportunities to safeguard this exceptional ecosystem.
By integrating biodiversity conservation across all sectors at the local, national, and regional level, the engaging board game “Guardians of the Amazon” can undoubtedly help raise the social acceptance for biodiversity protection and sustainable environmental management in the Amazon biome.

In the second part of 2023, 100 pilot versions of “Guardians of the Amazon” will be shared with 35 partners working in the biome. Among the partners are Indigenous Peoples organizations, socio environmental NGOs, universities and public institutions, in particular Ministries of Education and of Public Health. After incorporating their feedback, the final version of the game will be printed in five languages.

Partnerships to join the second phase of the project are welcome!

For more information contact: or visit our Members Area to participate in this initiative.