Conservation Pulse Oct & Nov 2019 | WWF
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Our latest conservation wins

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Calls grow for New Deal commitment to restore nature

The science is clear – our planet is in crisis. But world leaders have an unmissable opportunity to commit to restoring nature in the coming decade – a New Deal for Nature and People – at next year’s UN General Assembly. The momentum for action is growing, with 200,000 people from around the world already pledging to raise their voice for nature on the WWF-backed online platform Voice. We have also been actively helping to build global coalitions among governments, businesses and civil society organizations to call on world leaders to do the right thing – and influential figures, including heads of government and business leaders, have attended our key awareness-raising events. We are working flat out but everyone has a role to play – including you.

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New climate action welcomed – but much more needed

While important commitments to increase climate action were made at the recent UN Climate Action Summit, much more must be done to keep warming below 1.5°C – the point at which, scientists say, the impacts of climate change become devastating. So we must keep up the pressure at the next UN Climate Change Conference starting on 2 December for significantly enhanced climate action. Meanwhile, the global groundswell for action is growing. Alliances for Climate Action – the WWF-backed global partnership of local governments, business, investors and other organisations – has announced that Vietnam and South Africa are the two latest countries to form domestic coalitions to drive climate action. Through our Science-Based Targets initiative, 675 companies have now made plans to reduce their emissions in line with climate science. And 252 cities have promised emissions reductions by joining our One Planet City Challenge.

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Pioneering partnership to manage major climate and development fund

A pioneering consortium of NGOs and financiers, including WWF-NL, will manage a €160 million Dutch government fund to help developing countries build climate-resilient economies and ecosystems. Investments from the Dutch Fund for Climate and Development will help both protect communities and cities from the increasing frequency of extreme weather events and strengthen vital natural areas that provide people with water, food, medicine and economic opportunity. They will also seek to improve the well-being, economic prospects and livelihoods of vulnerable groups, particularly women and young people. It’s a revolutionary move for a conservation NGO (WWF), a development finance institution (FMO), a social development NGO (SNV) and a private sector investment manager (Climate Fund Managers) to work together on such a large-scale climate fund.

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World’s first five-nation reserve on the cards

The first five-country biosphere reserve in the world, with major benefits for people and nature, is set to become a reality after an application was submitted to UNESCO. With a total area of around 930,000 hectares and a length of 700 kilometres, the shared nature and wildlife along the Mura, Drava and Danube rivers will become Europe's largest river protection area. Local communities will be key beneficiaries in the so-called ‘Amazon of Europe’, which criss-crosses the territories of Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Serbia. While intact floodplains will protect settlements from floods and ensure clean drinking water supplies, the spectacular landscapes will enhance the potential for sustainable tourism development. WWF, which has been seeking better protection for these rivers for over 20 years, helped the five nations prepare their joint application.

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New reserve to protect Russian forests

A new reserve has been established in Russia’s Arkhangelsk region, protecting 300,000 hectares of one of the last large expanses of pristine forest in Europe – after calls from WWF and other NGOs for the past 17 years. These intact forests are critical for maintaining the ecological balance of the region – helping to regulate the climate by absorbing greenhouse gases and releasing oxygen, protecting key rivers, and providing a home to a variety of wildlife. The forests are important also for local communities who depend on the forests for hunting, fishing and as a gathering place. Andrey Shchegolev, WWF-Russia’s Forest Programme Director, explained how they successfully dealt with difficult negotiations with local timber companies: “We managed to find a solution that would allow local companies in the area to continue operations and preserve jobs for locals while protecting the most ecologically valuable part of the intact forest from logging.”

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Further progress on tackling ocean plastics crisis

Eight million tonnes of plastics end up in our oceans every year – a threat to both people and wildlife. So one of our key priorities at the recent Our Ocean conference in Norway, attended by leaders from politics, business and civil society, was to advance our campaign for a globally binding legal commitment by governments to tackle the plastics crisis. The Norwegian Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs opened the ocean conservation event with a press conference where they stressed the importance of a global agreement to stop ocean plastics pollution and during the conference Grenada, Norway and Sweden committed to support this. Thanks to the brilliant advocacy work of our WWF-Norway team, this could prove to be a pivotal moment in building the momentum for a global treaty. And you too can help keep up the pressure by joining the 1.5 million people who have already signed our plastics pollution petition. Your voice really counts.