Conservation Pulse mar 2019 | WWF
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Our latest conservation wins

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Earth Hour 2019: world unites to put spotlight on nature

8:30 p.m. on Saturday, 30 March – the moment had come for Earth Hour, the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment. Individuals, businesses and cities in 188 countries and territories worldwide joined Earth Hour to speak up for nature and inspire urgent action for the environment − and thousands of landmarks switched off their lights in solidarity for the planet. The results were outstanding: #EarthHour, #Connect2Earth and related hashtags trended in over 25 countries and generated over two billion impressions, and people pledged their support for the planet and challenged world leaders to push the issue up the global agenda. “Mass participation in Earth Hour has shown that people globally demand urgent action for nature,” said WWF International’s Director General Marco Lambertini. “Millions of people have spoken, many urging world leaders to secure an international commitment to stop and reverse the loss of nature. We need a New Deal for Nature and People as comprehensive and ambitious as the Paris Agreement on climate change, universally endorsed from political and business leaders to communities and individuals.” WWF and many others will be working hard for a New Deal in the coming year.

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New global initiative to help transform the rubber market

We’re proud to be a founding member of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber, an important new initiative to help increase the supply and use of sustainably produced natural rubber. Unsustainable and illegal rubber production is threatening many Southeast Asian forests and is increasing in Central Africa. Consumption of natural rubber has doubled over the past 40 years, driven mainly by the demand for vehicle tyres. Unsustainable rubber production can lead to deforestation and forest degradation − impacting wildlife, such as elephants and tigers, and the communities who rely on forests for their livelihoods. The 39 founding members of the Global Platform include tyre companies, car makers, civil society organizations and rubber producers, processors and traders. The platform will develop sustainable natural rubber standards, as well as ways for these to be implemented and monitored to ensure companies live up to their commitments.

Pictured is rubber farm owner Aung Khon in Myanmar.

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New hope for restoring world’s forests

Over one billion people live in and around forests, depending on them for fuel, food, medicines and building materials. But human impacts have already led to the loss of around 40% of the world’s forests. WWF therefore welcomes a new UN declaration on restoring the world’s deforested and degraded landscapes in the coming decade. With over two billion hectares worldwide offering opportunities for restoration, the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration will help energize action on global restoration commitments. WWF Forest Practice Leader Alistair Monument said: “By creating productive landscapes out of this degraded land, we can reduce the pressure on natural forests and help slow down deforestation and forest degradation. Forest landscape restoration presents a huge opportunity for countries to meet their global climate and biodiversity targets and expand economic opportunities. It also brings numerous benefits to people through increased forest area and improved livelihoods.” WWF works with partners around the world to help create and accelerate restoration initiatives.

Pictured is a forest landscape restoration nursery in Uganda.

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Bankable projects help Turkish textile companies improve water use

An innovative WWF-backed initiative is helping to improve water use and reduce pollution in Turkey’s Büyük Menderes river basin – home to two globally important wetlands. The WWF-Turkey and South Aegean Development Agency (GEKA) programme helps textile companies to adopt processes that use less water, chemicals and energy, and reduce solid waste and wastewater. Just one year since its launch, the programme has inspired seven companies to invest €6.5 million in production techniques that save 1.5 million cubic metres of water a year – and encouraged 12 more textile producers to commit €3 million to investing in cleaner processes. Four fashion brands – Altınyıldız, Boyner Group, Koton and Yünsa – have also joined efforts, pioneered by H&M and strengthened by the involvement of Inditex (Zara), to transform water usage in the river basin. These efforts are inspired by WWF’s global efforts to find bankable projects that both protect nature and are good for business. In addition to the environmental benefits, cleaner production helps companies reduce production and waste-management costs, comply with environmental regulations, align with the demands of multinationals, and increase brand value.

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Logging regulations in Russian Caucasus to protect biodiversity

We need to maintain a rich biodiversity – the huge variety of life on Earth – to help nature cope with climate change and other threats. So we welcome news that the 11 regions of the Russian Caucasus have adopted WWF-backed logging regulations to help conserve biodiversity. The rules, which will remain in force until 2028, require loggers to protect forest areas that play an important role in maintaining biological diversity. This would include, for example, trees where rare birds nest. “We’re glad that all the regions of the Russian Caucasus recognized the importance of sustainable forest management,” said WWF-Russia’s Elena Cherkasova. “The Caucasus is one of the richest parts of Russia in terms of species diversity. Our goal is to conserve and protect the biological diversity and natural resources of the territory.” WWF-Russia’s efforts to require biodiversity protection in logging operations has so far been adopted in 39 Russian regions.

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Efforts to curb wildlife trafficking in Africa

The latest in a series of workshops to tackle the illegal wildlife trade in Africa has taken place in Botswana and Kenya. China’s National Forestry and Grassland Administration (NFGA) and WWF, supported by the Chinese embassies in Nairobi and Gaborone, have run workshops on wildlife trafficking for Chinese nationals living and working in the two countries. Chinese consumer demand is a strong driver of the illegal wildlife trade, which threatens many species including elephants and rhinos. The Chinese Government has responded in a number of ways: closing its domestic ivory market, banning commercial processing of rhino horn and tiger bone, and tightening legislation on trade in other endangered species. The workshops back up this work by helping to inform Chinese nationals about wildlife trade regulations and the penalties for breaking the law. This was the 15th outreach workshop of its kind to be jointly run by WWF and NFGA in collaboration with various Chinese embassies in Africa.

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