The CARE-WWF Alliance aims to improve the lives of the poor while restoring healthy and resilient ecosystems. Building on lessons learned from the development and conservation communities, the Alliance addresses the root causes of poverty and environmental degradation beyond geographic and political boundaries.
The Alliance was formed with the fact in mind that environmental degradation and poverty cannot be understood separately, and that solutions must tackle both simultaneously.
Some of the world’s poorest people, a majority of whom are women, live in the world’s most naturally-rich and increasingly-fragile places. Vulnerable communities that rely primarily on the degrading natural resource base for their survival face acute threats due toballooning population in the context of finite resources and a changing climate. CARE and WWF recognize that they cannot effectively redress these challenges without engaging as partners—not only with each other, but also with local communities, the private sector and regional and national governments.
Beyond implementing joint programs in discreet places, the Alliance is making a long-term commitment to effectively integrating development and conservation on a scale never before achieved. Only by working across multiple geographies with diverse stakeholders can the Alliance create the economic and political conditions that will enable vulnerable communities’ increased control and improved decision-making around the natural resources on which their livelihoods and the earth’s sustainability depends.
This new way of thinking and working draws on learning from the two organizations’ long and rich field experiences around the world. The Alliance’s partnerships for programming and advocacy draw upon these key lessons:
1. Village councils to parliaments.We collaborate with private and government actors at all levels to simultaneously alleviate poverty and conserve biodiversity with and for local communities.
2. Win-win to trade-offs. We explicitly engage partners in negotiating trade-offs to ensure that long-term conservation efforts benefit, rather than slight, the short-term needs of the local poor.
3. Generic focus on “poverty” to nuanced understanding of “poor people, especially women”. Given that community elites too often capture the benefits of conservation and development interventions, we ensure that the most vulnerable community members have the knowledge and tools necessary to influence the decision-makers that shape their livelihood constraints and opportunities.
4. Individual projects to long-term engagement. Recognizing that social and institutional change is complex and time-intensive, we work across multiple levels over a sustained period of time.
Success on the ground in Mozambique already attests to the power of conservation and development communities working together in these ways. At the local level, communities’ sustainable management of natural resources is providing more income and food, more productive ecosystems and reduced vulnerability to increasingly- regular and severe natural disasters. In rural northern Mozambique, the Alliance has facilitated the establishment of commercial associations that negotiate more favorable prices for nearly 3,400 small-scale producers. The CARE-WWF Alliance has, further, established two marine sanctuaries where fish stocks are recovering and three mangrove management projects that offer communities natural protection against cyclones.
In order to scale up and sustain impacts, the Alliance empowers poor people and prioritizes their needs through advocacy for and implementation of policies and practices that expands vulnerable communities’ stewardship and ownership of their resources and lives. For instance, the CARE-WWF Alliance is working side by side with the government of Mozambique to ensure that the 6,500 mi² Primeiras and Segundas Archipelago will become a national reserve benefiting the poorest community members by the end of the year. This is part of a larger strategy to transform governance by ensuring that decision-making not only recognizes the connections between development and the environment but also integrates best practices and information into natural resource management for pro-poor development.