The EU’s Development Programme (COFED) and WWF have signed a EUR17 million financing agreement for the Salonga Complex Conservation and Rural Agriculture Programme.
Developed by WWF, OXFAM and the community development organization ISCO, this promotes Salonga’s unique rainforest biodiversity, including such endangered endemic species as bonobos and forest elephants; introduces sustainability into agricultural and forestry practices within the park; and protects the ecosystem services that the forest provides for the social and economic development of local communities and the wider Congo Basin.
The Salonga National Park, created in 1970 and a World Heritage site since 1984, is the largest protected rainforest and national park in Africa, covering 3.6 million hectares of the Congo Basin. The new funding will accelerate implementation of the 2015 Salonga co-management agreement signed between WWF and the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN)
“Water is vital for local communities, the natural environment and business,” said International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) CEO, Tom Butler, at the launch of his organization’s new commitments to water stewardship, adding, “ICMM is pleased to commit its members to applying strong and transparent water governance; managing water at operations effectively; and collaborating to achieve responsible and sustainable water use”.
The ICMM, whose members account for around a third of global mining activity and include 23 of the world’s leading mining companies, works closely with WWF on water stewardship, integrated resource corridors and the conservation of World Heritage sites. With more than 2 billion people living with water scarcity and natural habitats facing growing threats, ICMM has a vital role to play in tackling one of today’s most significant global challenges – the availability of sufficient freshwater.
Since publication of its ground-breaking 2016 report Green Bonds Must Keep the Green Promise!, WWF has advocated the use of sovereign green bonds – financial mechanisms for raising the huge amounts of capital needed to tackle climate change and protect the natural world. So we welcome the launch of France’s inaugural sovereign bond of up to EUR13 billion, which takes many of WWF’s recommendations into account.
The bond uses best market practice and will finance (or refinance) government-funded projects in France, many of which are directly relevant to WWF’s global goals: climate and energy efficiency, sustainable infrastructure, sustainable food production through organic agriculture, sustainable forest management, sustainable consumption and production, and biodiversity conservation in French marine and terrestrial national parks.
A ground-breaking WWF report, Reviving the Western Indian Ocean Economy: Actions for a Sustainable Future, conservatively values the regions’ ocean resources at US$333.8 billion, pinpointing fisheries, mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs as the region’s most valuable assets, with the adjacent coastal and carbon-absorbing ecosystems also being central to community well-being and the health of the ocean economy.
But without stronger conservation action, the region’s ocean-based economies and food supplies face significant challenges. Country Director of WWF-Madagascar and Western Indian Ocean Islands, Nanie Ratsifandrihamanana, said, “Leaders of the Western Indian Ocean face a clear and urgent choice: continuing with business-as-usual, overseeing a steady decline, or seizing the moment to secure the natural ocean assets that will be crucial for the future of fast-growing coastal communities and economies”.
The Snow Leopard Conservation Action Plan 2017–2021 sets the stage for Nepal to achieve its goal of ensuring that at least 100 snow leopards of breeding age populate each three of its landscapes by 2020. Only around 4,000 snow leopards, prized for their fur but also the subject of human-wildlife conflict, are left in the wild across 12 range states, and their numbers have been declining by four a week since 2008.
WWF Nepal played a pivotal role in providing financial and technical support in the development of the action plan, which was made under the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program (GSLEP), a combined effort of all 12 snow range countries. It will address the urgent need to continue research and monitoring; improve habitat and corridors; mitigate conflict through community engagement; reduce wildlife crime; and strengthen transboundary coordination and cooperation.
Land fragmentation, over-grazing and fencing – all of which reduce ranges for wild animals and increase human-wildlife conflict – influenced the Maasi community in Mara Siana to take responsibility for local conservation, backed by WWF.
Collectively, they agreed to stop these unsustainable activities and each of the 1,251 landowners set aside 2.5 hectares to establish a 3,200-hectare conservancy, now an important breeding ground for elephant and lion.
The community has benefited through employment in hotels and lodges within the conservancy – at least 80 per cent of employees in the camps and lodges will come from amongst them – and some of their young people have been trained to work as scouts. And the improvement in livelihoods from annual land lease fees from tourism partners is now allowing residents to send their children to school.