WWF understands that conservation is about people, their behaviour, and their attitude towards nature. The decisions people take in making efforts to conserve nature are highly interlinked with culture, wealth, ethnicity, religion and gender amongst other factors. This complex system of characteristics can create connections – but also disputes– between people. To promote the protection of both people and nature, the Statements of Principles apply to everything we do at WWF.
Papua New Guinean artist carves Malagan wooden sculptures, the ceremonial art of New Ireland living culture
Why are the Statements of Principles needed?
Many of the world’s most precious natural areas are under threat, but they are also home to Indigenous Peoples and local communities whose livelihoods and cultures are closely dependent on the natural environment. Therefore, the success of our work depends on the degree to which we can preserve biodiversity; whilst respecting the rights and safeguarding the well-being of the people and communities who own or manage them. The Statements of Principles guide us towards this goal.
Previously referred to as WWF’s Social Policies, the Statements of Principles encapsulate our social commitments to respect and promote human rights, foster gender equality, and uphold the rights of Indigenous Peoples. These Statements of Principles apply in relation to all activities that we undertake, including policy advocacy, research, partnerships and communications, while also respecting national laws and the role of the state.
For place-based work that WWF undertakes within landscapes and seascapes, the Statements of Principles are implemented through the Environmental and Social Safeguards Framework.
STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES: HUMAN RIGHTS
WE RESPECT HUMAN RIGHTS IN EVERYTHING THAT WE DO
While the protection of human rights lies with states as the ‘duty-bearer’, WWF recognises that businesses and organisations, including ours, can play an important role in respecting and promoting human rights in the context of our work. These 10 principles guide us in everything that we do.DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT
STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES: GENDER EQUALITY
WE TREAT GENDER EQUALITY AS A RIGHT IN ALL OUR WORK
Gender equality is a fundamental human right, and a necessary foundation for a sustainable, resilient and peaceful world in which people live in harmony with nature. These seven principles guide us in advancing and embedding gender equality as a right in all our work.DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT
STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES: INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
WE RESPECT AND PROMOTE THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
Indigenous Peoples are stewards of much of the planet’s remaining biodiversity. Respecting and promoting the rights of Indigenous Peoples and recognising their knowledge and leadership are at the foundation of conservation efforts. These 10 principles are core to this approach and a cross-cutting theme for all our work.DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT
The Santa Rosa de Cabal community near the Orinoco River in Colombia
Principles in action
WWF has a long history of working with Indigenous Peoples and local community stewards of sustainable development in Colombia, particularly in the Chocó-Darién ecoregion. In the current situation it is vital to understand that promoting conservation can affect and even threaten people’s lives, and to take whatever steps we can to protect those we work with. As part of its efforts to integrate safeguards and human rights into its strategy and programme design, WWF-Colombia has been introducing a conflict-sensitivity approach. Following the “do no harm” principle, this has involved developing a set of guidelines to better understand the conflict dynamics, how our interventions interact with these, and the steps we need to take to ensure our work reduces negative outcomes and increases positive ones. Through this, we aim to positively contribute to social cohesion, stability, human rights and peace building. (Case study #5: Colombia, Human Rights and Environment Report 2022)