Conservation Pulse apr 2019 | WWF
© Andy Cornish / WWF

Our latest conservation wins

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Netflix series highlights need for global action to protect nature

Have you seen the new Our Planet documentary series, which is available on Netflix? Our Planet, created in collaboration with WWF, looks at the most pressing challenges facing our natural world and their solutions. Each episode has a different focus, ranging from forests and jungles to fresh water and the high seas. Our Planet has already been viewed by over 25 million households and there have been 1.7 million visits to, which provides fascinating insights into the issues raised by the series. We’re delighted that so many people around the world have watched Our Planet as we urgently need their help to tackle nature loss. We are calling on the world’s governments to develop a global plan of action by 2020 to restore nature − a New Deal for Nature and People is what we call this. And each and every one of us can make their voice heard on this vitally important issue.

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WWF partner announces new $5 billion ocean action plan

WWF welcomes a new action plan from our long-term partner, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), that will provide US$5 billion to improve ocean health and sustainable marine economic activity in Asia and the Pacific. Over the coming five years, the projects will create opportunities in sustainable tourism and fisheries; protect and restore coastal, ocean and river environments; reduce land-based sources of marine pollution; and make port and coastal infrastructure development more sustainable. “This is a very important development, and we are pleased to partner with the ADB for a healthy ocean, crucial to the stability of the planet and of our society,” said WWF International Director General Marco Lambertini. “If the ocean was an economy, it would be the seventh largest in the world. But the threats of climate change, plastics pollution, habitat destruction and unsustainable fishing are pushing the ocean to the edge, and we need to act now.”

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€160 million fund to tackle climate and development issues

WWF-Netherlands is a part of a consortium of NGOs and financiers that has won a tender to manage a new €160 million fund for climate and development initiatives. The Dutch government fund offers us a massive opportunity to develop a pipeline of bankable projects that will improve the well-being, economic prospects and livelihoods of vulnerable groups (particularly women and youth); help communities and cities adapt to climate change; and enhance the health of critical natural systems, including river basins, deltas, rainforests, marshlands and mangroves. “The innovative way that the fund will finance these projects is why this is such a game-changing moment,” said Stuart Orr, Leader of WWF's Freshwater Practice, which collaborated with WWF-NL on the bid through the Bankable Water Solutions initiative. “For the first time, a development bank (FMO) and investment manager (Climate Fund Managers) have joined forces with a conservation organisation (WWF) and a development organization (SNV Netherlands Development Organization) to leverage potentially vast amounts of private financing to address biodiversity loss and climate change.”

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WWF’s ‘Dragons’ Den’ gives go-ahead to four bankable water projects

With nearly two billion people living in areas at risk from water scarcity and an alarming decline in freshwater wildlife numbers, we desperately need financial investment in sustainable water projects around the world. WWF’s Bankable Water Solutions initiative aims to encourage a stream of such projects that also deliver an acceptable return to investors. As part of this initiative, we have been running a series of events in the style of television’s Dragons’ Den to attract funding. At the most recent event in Paris, ‘dragons’ from 14 financial institutions, representing approximately  €3.3 trillion in assets, voted on four potential projects – all of which ended up securing seed funding. Each of the projects takes a different approach to making our river basins more sustainable – from a solar project in Cambodia to renewable energy in Myanmar, and from a climate resilient agri-business in Bhutan to forest landscape restoration in Uganda.

Two new reports from WWF and partners have highlighted key freshwater issues – one on the need for a renewable energy revolution and the other providing the first ever assessment of the world’s remaining free-flowing rivers.

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Momentum grows for action on ocean plastics pollution

Eight million tonnes of plastic are dumped in our oceans each year, threatening both people and wildlife. We launched a campaign against ocean plastic pollution earlier this year, with almost 500,000 people already signing our petition calling for action by the world’s governments. We warmly welcome news therefore that the governments of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden have become the first in the world to formally call for a global treaty to tackle this deepening crisis. About 180 governments have also agreed to include plastic waste in a global convention that controls the movement of hazardous wastes. This will mean contaminated and most mixes of plastic wastes will need the agreement of receiving countries before they can be traded. We also launched ReSource: Plastic, a new resource to help companies that have made ambitious plastic commitments but don’t know how to translate these into measurable action. Leading members of this new initiative include Keurig Dr Pepper, McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, Tetra Pak and The Coca-Cola Company.

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Sustainable seaweed farming success in Madagascar

Around the world, WWF is working in partnership with communities to develop sustainable livelihoods that ensure both people and nature thrive. One example is the Mahafaly coastal communities of Madagascar, where sustainable seaweed farming has become one of the main sources of income for fishers south of the city of Toliara. During the past two years, production has grown from 20 tons to 157 tons, with algae culture supporting over 1,500 people. The vast majority of seaweed farmers are women – and this livelihood has helped to give them increased financial freedom and pay for their children’s school expenses. Seaweed farmer Beveristine Razanakatsiory said: "I am happy I can afford to pay high school for my son with the money from algae. He can learn to speak French and be better prepared for a good job in the future.” This success story has been supported by WWF, a private society called Ocean Farmers and the Malagasy government’s Integrated Growth Poles project.

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New push to safeguard sharks and rays

Sharks and rays are extremely important for the future of ecosystems that many coastal communities rely on. And yet, mostly due to overfishing, a quarter of all shark and ray species are threatened with extinction, with few in recovery. Unfortunately, the situation could be even worse as there isn’t enough scientific data to decide on the threat to nearly half the species. That’s why WWF and the Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries & Aquaculture (CSTFA) at Australia’s James Cook University have developed the first ever toolkit that provides a variety of ways to collect this vital scientific data. “The more we know about the status of shark and ray populations, the more we can focus conservation efforts where they are most needed,” said WWF’s Dr Andy Cornish. “Creating protected areas has great potential to reduce the overfishing of sharks and rays if we have this basic data, but their management needs to be more effective than to date.” To that end, WWF and the CSTFA have also launched a second tool, the first-ever guide to designing and managing protected areas for sharks and rays.