Whether at the community, regional or global level, WWF is working to safeguard the natural resource base that underpins well-being, livelihoods and economic prosperity.
Some of the world’s poorest people are those whose livelihoods depend
directly on the natural environment and on the benefits that it provides. Activities such as harvesting wild food, fodder for livestock, medicinal plants, fuel wood, and timber are often central to the livelihoods of impoverished families, leaving them highly vulnerable to the effects of ecosystem degradation, biodiversity loss and climate change.
WWF aims to help build a sustainable balance between people and nature by empowering local communities to make decisions that will improve their livelihoods through responsible management of their natural resources. We understand that conservation success requires an integrated approach that addresses the wide range of social, economic and cultural issues affecting how people interact with the environment.
Natural resources like land, water, trees, animals and fish, are strengths or assets that can be maintained or enhanced to improve living conditions and secure sustainable use and long-term gains for local people and communities. However, local people who depend on the natural capital for their livelihoods might be excluded from access, control or benefits generated by these assets.
We believe that local people are more likely to manage natural resources in sustainable ways if they have secure rights allowing them the use and management of environmental goods and services. Recognition of basic rights, such as right to own land and property, helps transform unequal power relationships within communities and foster better local partnerships for environmental sustainability.
The world today faces the double challenge of ensuring inclusive economic growth and environmental sustainability for current and future generations. In the face of growing inequalities in income between people and countries on one hand, and wasteful consumption and production patterns on the other, we are confronted with the need to effectively and equitably manage the competing human demands on land, water, and ecosystem services. Without a radical change, future generations will face resource scarcities and environmental degradation that will increasingly lead to conflict and insecurity.
In order to deliver economic growth that does not compromise the planetary boundaries, we need a fundamental shift in the economic paradigm from ‘brown’ (or business-as-usual) to ‘green’ economies. Green economic growth is based on effectively factoring the value of natural resources and ecosystem services in development policy and decision-making on every level, and fostering green investments and technology for the creation of green jobs and low-carbon economy.