Posted on 11 November 2019
This week the 9th World Ranger Congress takes place in Nepal, bringing together over 550 participants from 70 countries, the largest gathering of rangers ever held. This is the first time the triennial Congress has been held in Asia.
Over the next five days the participants, of which 40 per cent are women, will discuss, share ideas and expertise around their work based on seven themes including rangers and local communities.
Understanding and valuing the relationship between those who safeguard and those who live in close proximity to natural resources goes to the very core of successful conservation and is a key reason why WWF is supporting the Congress.
A recent WWF survey found that over 80 per cent of rangers recognized that a significant part of a ranger’s success depended on community support, 79 per cent believed that the community members trust them and 84 per cent said their organisation showed concern for a community’s well-being and quality of life.
Despite these findings, there have been and continue to be reports of rangers mistreating communities and allegations of misconduct, with a series of media articles earlier this year making serious accusations against government eco-guards supported by WWF, alleging they were responsible for human rights abuses. WWF has commissioned an Independent Review led by former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Judge Navi Pillay, to fully understand, and act on these allegations swiftly and decisively. In parallel, we are working across our network of offices and conservation programmes to strengthen implementation of our Environmental and Social Safeguards Framework
The cornerstone of successful conservation is trust and dialogue between local communities and those supporting them, including the rangers living and working side-by-side in some of the most biodiverse and complex places on the planet; places that are also some of the most remote, challenging and dangerous in the world, where environmental threats are further exacerbated due to conflict and instability.
This week’s World Ranger Congress is an important opportunity to build on the trust and relations between rangers and communities. WWF calls on all participants to identify and enhance the kinds of tools and approaches needed to strengthen this absolutely vital relationship, as we commit to ensuring the right support reaches the rangers and communities who need it most.