Think of WWF and you probably think of pandas, elephants, tigers and so on. After all, saving the world’s wildlife was what we were set up to do. But there’s one species that’s central to all our work: human beings.
Ultimately, people depend on the natural world. Conserving species, protecting habitats and keeping our climate and environment healthy is good for all of us. And while it’s the pressure that human activities put on nature that is the biggest threat, it’s also people who hold the solutions.
We work with people all over the world, from a local to a global level, to take action for nature – because looking after our one and only planet is in everyone’s interests.
Conservation benefits when people benefit from conservation. Some of our most important successes have come from working with people including local and indigenous communities, finding practical ways for people and nature to thrive together.
Working with people is at the heart of everything we do. This includes working with private corporations and governments who hold powerful levers of influence and can make significant change happen. But most importantly, it means working with those often closest to the resources vital to humanity and yet, often the most vulnerable to exclusion.
In 1996, WWF became the first international conservation organization to adopt a formal policy recognizing the rights of indigenous peoples. We’ve continued to evolve our social policies to cover issues such as human rights, poverty and gender equity, and complaints resolution mechanisms.
We continue to work to know the communities we work with to hear and understand their needs, their aspirations and the challenges they face. And we – and our staff - are committed to working together with local rights holders and stakeholders to identify ways that conservation can help improve and protect their lives, rights and livelihoods.
The impact can be seen day after day on the ground, where conservation is helping improve the well-being of women, men and children:
All around the world, we’re seeing (and showing) that conservation and development needn’t be in opposition, but can go hand in hand.
Namibia is home to the greatest wildlife recovery story ever told. Following devastating poaching in the past, the numbers of elephants, rhinos, giraffes, lions and many other species have risen dramatically.
Why? Because of national laws that enable local communities to manage their own land and natural resources, including wildlife – something we’ve been supporting them to do for many years.
Now tourism is booming – and communities and wildlife are thriving together.