Dear friends and colleagues,
In May, our region was buzzing with a lot of activities: uncertainty about the future of the vaquita in Mexico, a Brazilian proposal to combat dengue and zika, new reserves for indigenous people in Peru, a Bolivian forestry model implemented in Panama, the expansion of sustainable cattle in Argentina, a pact to conserve water resources in the Colombian coffee growing region, the first steps towards a new World Heritage site in Paraguay, the crossroads at Bonn to consolidate the climate agreement, and the relentless voyage of sea turtles all over Latin America and the Caribbean. Enjoy the reading,
Despite the efforts by the Mexican government and the millions of dollars spent compensating the fishermen for not fishing over the last year, the vaquita is at the brink of extinction. The most recent population estimates, released by the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA), indicates that by December 2015 around 60 of these porpoises remained. In 2014, 97 vaquitas were estimated to survive, meaning that half its population was lost during the last year. The vaquita only exists in Mexico in the upper Gulf of California. It is at the brink of extinction because they are incidentally caught and drown in gillnets set to catch shrimp and a variety of fish, including totoabas. Stopping the illegal fishing for totoaba requires tackling the demand for its swim bladder in the Asian market. These bladders are smuggled across the Mexico-US border and trafficked to China, where they are considered a “delicacy” worth thousands of dollars. “WWF is convinced that it is still possible to save the vaquita, but this is clearly the last chance”, said Omar Vidal, Director General of WWF in Mexico.
Nearly 70% of the water Colombians consume comes from the paramos. But this high altitude ecosystem is one of the most endangered in the country. This is why WWF signed an agreement for the protection of 7 paramos in the Northern Andean region with governmental institutions, environmental authorities and conservation organizations. WWF’s work is focused in the Nevados National Park, a vital area for the Tolima and Coffee Triangle department’s water resources. The action will include sustainable farming, the promotion of civil society natural reserves, ecotourism and the ecosystem recuperation.
On Thursday 19th of May, the categorization of the Indigenous Reserves Mashco Piro, Murunahua and Isconahua, in the Ucayali Region were approved. For the first time in 10 years after the enactment of Law for the Protection of the Native or Indigenous People in Isolation and Initial Contact, Peru will have three Indigenous Reserves. WWF Peru led the development of the Additional Categorization Studies of the Territorial Reserves as well as the Protection Plans. This ensures the protection of a total of 1,584,849 ha.
Aiming to establish transparency standards to forest-based activities, the Ministry of Environment of Panama presented the forestry control and tracking project, built on innovative features of the Bolivian model of forest certification, which include modern tracking devices (tags) that rely on smartphone technology. WWF Bolivia, in collaboration with other offices in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Panama, has developed a transformational proposal that seeks to scale-up further impacts and lessons related to certification and forest incentives in Bolivia, seeking to generate a radical change in the sector and achieve increased sustainability and legality.
In promoting the formal request to preserve this natural space by both international and national entities, a specialized team from WWF-Paraguay participated in a multi-sector meeting on the candidacy of the Defensores del Chaco National Park as a Unesco World Heritage site. Surrounded by flat plains, this highly unique mountain range is located in the middle of the world’s largest neotropical dry forest, called the South American Gran Chaco. The national park, known globally as Cerro Léon, is a symbol of conservation in Paraguay.
Vida Silvestre is starting the project "Expanding sustainable grassland livestock in Argentina to increase production and biodiversity conservation", supported and funded by the National Ministry of Agroindustry. The initiative will be co-executed with Aves Argentinas (partner of Birdlife International), as a continuation of the work that both institutions have been developing in the previous years. The project highlights the incidence of Vida Silvestre's work in grasslands conservation: among the main activities Vida Silvestre and Aves Argentinas willl train producers and key actors in sustainable livestock management. The duration of the project is expected to last for a year.
From WWF-Brazil: We need your vote WWF is one of the finalists in the Brazilian edition of Google Social Impact Challenge 2016 with an initiative that promotes citizen engagement in the fight against Aedes mosquitoes, which is now competing for the prize of R$ 1,5 million. Please find out more about this important project, vote for WWF and help us spread the word with some suggested tweets! People all over the world can vote until 13 June - vote for WWF-Brazil here! http://migre.me/tW0pW
On May 23 we celebrated World Turtle Day, which like many other species are subject to numerous threats. As a part of the strategy and actions to minimize the risk to which six species of sea turtles in Latin America are exposed, WWF published the Sea Turtles Action Plan for Latin America and the Caribbean.
A meeting in Bonn, Germany was the first opportunity for governments to add content to key elements of the climate agreement since its adoption in Paris last year. “The Paris Agreement commits countries to their best efforts to keep warming under 1.5° Celsius above pre-industrial times. 1.5°Celsius of warming is the line in the sand for many vulnerable countries, communities and ecosystems. To fulfil this commitment countries urgently need to increase their national efforts to cut emissions, particularly through scaling up renewable energy, getting rid of dirty fossil fuels, protecting forests and delivering climate finance,” said Samantha Smith, leader of WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative.