Advancing Environmental & Social Safeguards and Social Policies
Safeguards are designed to manage risks, uphold human rights, and ensure conservation projects deliver better outcomes for communities and nature. WWF uses safeguards to identify, avoid and mitigate any negative social and environmental impacts within our work. We apply safeguards in the design, implementation, and monitoring of all of our field-based activities in landscapes and seascapes.
- Undertaking safeguards screening for all landscapes and seascapes we work in to surface risks, including those related to community engagement and consultation, access to natural resources, and indigenous people.
- Addressing risk through the development of mitigation plans, budgeted implementation programs, and oversight systems.
- Engaging communities throughout project design, implementation and monitoring.
- Setting up grievance mechanisms for communities and other stakeholders to voice any project-related concerns and seek their resolution
- Public disclosure of safeguarding actions. A specific webpage to hosts a ‘landscape portal’ is coming soon, which will provide access to risk categorizations, mitigation frameworks and monitoring plans for landscapes and seascapes
- Making our 10 supporting E&S Safeguard Standards publicly available as support materials to the Independent Review WWF Response. They will undergo a formal public consultation in early 2021, revised versions will be approved by the International Board, and subsequently made permanently publicly accessible.
Mainstreaming WWF policy commitments to Indigenous Peoples
The WWF Network adopted the “Statement of Principles on Indigenous Peoples and Conservation” (hereafter “WWF policy”) in recognition of the need to make special efforts to respect and protect indigenous rights in relation to conservation initiatives. The following guidance document describes practical ways of mainstreaming the WWF policy commitments to indigenous peoples and their rights in the context of applying WWF Standards for Project and Programme Management.
Guidelines on the Prevention of Restriction of Rights
WWF shall not promote or support activities or policies that lead to involuntary curtailment of rights of local communities to land and natural resources, nor will be involved in activities that lead to involuntary relocation. Our guidelines aim to ensure that WWF acknowledges and respects the rights of indigenous people and local communities (IPLCs)1 to land, water and other resources, positively contributes to the exercise of these rights, avoids directly or indirectly undermining and infringing on these rights or causing additional costs to people through our policy and/or fieldwork, projects and activities.
Engagement with Civil Society Organizations
Civil society is one of three key agents for change – governments, private sector and civil society – that WWF engages with in order to bring about sustainable development, equitable governance of common public goods and respect for human rights. WWF has a long experience of engagement with civil society organisations (CSOs), communities, community-based organisations (CBOs), and civic institutions in a wide range of countries, contexts and forms. Building on the diverse experiences from our global network – as well as from the broader CSO community we describe WWF's engagement with civil society, and suggest key approaches and principles to guide how various offices in the network can work with civil society more strategically and effectively.
The following principles are fundamental to creating effective, lasting and equitable solutions to today’s environmental challenges, and ensure their sustainability into the future.
- Respect people’s rights in accordance with customary, national and international human rights laws;
- Promote equity within the scope of our projects, programmes and policies at multiple levels, and promote these principles in policy fora/advocacy work at national and global levels;
- Aim to enhance the natural assets of local communities, particularly the poor, and ensure that our conservation work benefits and does not harm vulnerable people;
- Address weak governance, taking into account cultural and political contexts, through improvements in tenure and income security and decision-making procedures, devolution of environmental management and empowerment to ensure that the rights (and access) of local people to natural resources, that are the basis of their livelihoods, are exercised and enforced;
- Address the inequities in the distribution of environmental costs and benefits and unsustainable production and consumption patterns at multiple levels whenever possible by influencing local policies and practice, global markets, the private sector, national, regional and global policies and processes.
The non-negotiable and aspirational social principles that WWF adheres to in its work outline our commitment to integrating a social perspective in our conservation work, and ensuring that the social dimensions are implemented and monitored across the whole organizational network.