Safari Club International’s statement to the United Nations
Fourth Biennial Meeting of States to Consider the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects
presented by Dr Lawrence Rudolph, President of SCI
Hunters and Shooters - Economic and Environmental Impact
Mr Chairman, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to address the Parties today. My name is Dr Lawrence Rudolph and I am the president of Safari Club International, a non-profit organization with missions including; the conservation of wildlife, protection of hunters’ rights worldwide, and the education of the public on hunting as a conservation tool. SCI has approximately 53,000 members from 106 different countries organized in 206 chapters and also represents millions of other hunters from around the world.
Hunters have always been the leaders of the conservation movement. From the restoration of America’s forests and wildlife at the beginning of the 20th century to the many conservation success stories in Africa today, it has always been hunters who have provided the resources to make these successes possible. SCI has played a huge part in those successes. In the last decade alone, SCI has provided over 47 million dollars for conservation, wildlife education and humanitarian programs.
In addition to the direct funding that SCI and other hunting organizations provide, hunters also provide developing countries with substantial economic benefits. In an effort to quantify the benefits the developing world receives from hunting, the World Forum on the Future of Sport Shooting Activities held a symposium in Namibia on the Ecological and Economic Benefits of Hunting. Some of the top minds in wildlife conservation quantified the economic benefits that developing countries receive from international hunting. The results are truly staggering. (The full report is available at the WFSA booth in the lobby.)
For example, in Namibia, the hunting industry and secondary services related to hunting accounted for over 4.5% of the country’s total GDP. The Namibian hunting sector has also been growing at the rapid pace of 12% per year over the last decade. Additionally, throughout sub-Saharan Africa, hunting tourism generates over 200 million dollars in revenue per year. Hunting has become a consistent source of revenue for developing nations, including thousands of jobs for local residents and economic development tools for local communities.
Hunting is vital to the economies of developing nations because it results in high revenues, most of which remain in the local economy. The United Nations has stated that economic stability is vital to reducing violence in developing countries. Hunting helps build that economic stability.
To continue this important work, the hunting community needs your help. Although the implements of hunting are weapons, the delegates must separate the illicit weapons trade from the trade required to serve the millions of legitimate firearms users worldwide. It is very well documented that when regulatory mechanisms become barriers to carriage, hunters are much less likely to travel to hunt. Any attempt by the United Nations to implement onerous firearms regulations or unnecessarily complex permitting processes could cripple the international hunting market and destroy this industry in the developing world. The consequences of this overbroad application of firearms restrictions will further cripple developing nations that rely on hunting for their economies.
I leave you today with only one request. Please remember the important economic role of hunting in the worldwide as you work on the Programme of Action. Consider that any action that this body takes to inhibit the transportation of firearms will not just affect the illicit trade, but will affect the millions of deserving individuals who benefit from hunting in the developing world.
Thank you for the opportunity to address a topic so vital to the success of hunting worldwide.