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WWF - Environmental News

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French-led Global Pact for the Environment opportunity to strengthen momentum on climate action

2017-09-19Tue, 19 Sep 2017 00:00:00 +0000


NEW YORK (19 September 2017) – As climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental degradation continue to impact the wellbeing of millions worldwide, the Global Pact for the Environment, presented by French President Emmanuel Macron at the UN General Assembly today, should enjoy the support of all world leaders, urges WWF.

The initiative, first announced at a conference in Paris in June, offers a high-level platform to not only maintain the global momentum on climate action but further enhance the world's environmental ambitions.

WWF International Director General Marco Lambertini said: "In the past years, UN member states have made history towards a sustainable future, embracing the Sustainable Development Goals which assert a total interdependency between the environment, society and economy, and committing unequivocally to fight climate change. But now is not the time to be complacent. The science is showing us we need to do more to bend the curves of global warming and nature loss – and fast. WWF urges member states to support the global pact for the environment and take a step forward toward ensuring the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment for all. We need to do more on climate as well as bring the loss of nature higher in the political and development debate. There will be no chance to meet the ambition of the SDGs in a destabilized climate and degraded natural environment."

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global Climate & Energy Practice said:"Never was the time more opportune to support a global pact for the environment. We face incontrovertible evidence of the loss of biodiversity, weakening nature's ability to provide the services on which human survival and wellbeing depends. And we need to do this by 2020, when there will be a convergence of milestones associated with important global instruments such as the Aichi biodiversity targets, the Sustainable Development Goals and the global Paris climate agreement, which can become a tipping point for real change. The global pact can and should serve as a platform from which to build a strong collective global vision that aligns each of these global milestones."


For further information, contact Mandy Jean Woods

Media Files:

New IPCC report to include science of attributing extreme events to climate change

2017-09-10Sun, 10 Sep 2017 00:00:00 +0000

(image) BERLIN, Germany (11 September 2017) - The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has approved the outlines of its Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) at a meeting in Montreal this week.
Dr Stephen Cornelius, Chief Adviser on Climate Change at WWF-UK said: "IPCC Assessment Reports are the authoritative source of information on climate change. The wide-ranging reports cover all aspects of climate change – from the physical science, to impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, and mitigation.
"With flooding, hurricanes and other extreme weather causing devastating impacts on people and ecosystems, an important section of the report will be the science of attributing extreme events to a changing climate.
"The reports will look at climate impacts already being felt as well as projections as the climate changes in the future. It is global in scope, covering land and ocean from the equator to the Poles. It importantly recognizes nature including looking impacts of climate change on species, ecosystems and biodiversity."
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global Climate & Energy Practice, said: "The IPCC Assessment Reports contribute enormously to our understanding of the science of climate change. Their Sixth Assessment Report will come at a time the world is grappling with widespread climate impacts. How we better understand the science will help us to find solutions to keeping warming to below the 1.5°C set out in the global climate Paris Agreement."
Notes for editors:
  • The IPCC is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change.
  • The 46th Session of the Panel was held in Montreal, Canada, 6-10 September 2017.  Here, the three IPCC Working Group contributions to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) and the broad outline of the Synthesis Report were agreed.
  • The IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report will be released in 2021 – 2022.  
 For further information, contact Mandy Jean Woods  

Media Files:

Mondi and WWF extend strategic partnership by three years

2017-09-06Wed, 06 Sep 2017 00:00:00 +0000

(image) Mondi Group and WWF International announced today that they have renewed their global partnership for a further three years.

 In 2014 Mondi entered into a three-year global partnership with WWF, focusing on promoting environmental stewardship in the packaging and paper sector. This global partnership has now been extended by another three years, becoming the longest standing WWF International partnership of its kind.

This partnership evolved from the collaboration between Mondi and WWF South Africa through the WWF-Mondi Wetlands Programme, and is a clear signal that Mondi is committed to demonstrating that responsible environmental stewardship makes good business sense.

 Phase II of the partnership will embed and extend Mondi's stewardship of forests, climate & energy and freshwater, with the work being organised around three areas:
  •  Ecosystem Stewardship – with a special focus on sustainable forestry development in north west Russia and collective water stewardship activities in South Africa.
  •  Manufacturing Stewardship – to demonstrate Mondi's ongoing commitment to reducing its freshwater footprint and its contribution to a low-carbon economy by further reducing Mondi's energy footprint.
  • Product Stewardship – via responsible sourcing of wood and fibre, and working to increase the availability of credibly certified fibre.
 Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International says "Forests are providing some of the most vital nature services that underpin the global economy and are critical for supporting the lives and prosperity of local people, communities and humanity globally. If protected and managed responsibly these key ecosystems can continue to provide economic and social benefits now and for future generations, while contributing to the local and global ecological balance essential to all life on Earth.  The partnership with Mondi focuses on achieving this, and we are very excited to take forward this new phase of collaboration."

Peter Oswald, Mondi Group CEO says, "This international partnership contributes to our goal of growing responsibly and sharing best practice in our industry. We've worked closely with WWF for many years and this partnership continues to give us a great platform for exploring sustainable solutions with a trusted partner. The work of the partnership is focused on the future and as we celebrate Mondi's 50th anniversary this year, we're able to recognise our past successes while firmly keeping our focus on the future."

Ultimately, this partnership is working to ensure that forests continue to be an ongoing sustainable source of fibre within a world enriched by extensive, resilient forest landscapes benefiting biodiversity, climate and human well-being. 

Media Files:

Judge suspends Brazil government's decision to open up a national reserve for mining

2017-08-31Thu, 31 Aug 2017 00:00:00 +0000

The substitute judge of the 21st Regional Federal Court of the Federal District (TRF1), Rolando Valcir Spanholo, granted on Tuesday, Aug. 29, an injunction that suspends the decree of the Brazilian government that abolishes the National Reserve of Copper and Associates (Renca). The request stemmed from a Public Civil Action that argues that the decree signed by President Temer puts protected areas located in the Renca area - a territory of 47,000 square kilometers between Pará and Amapá - at risk and leaves sections of the region - about 30 per cent of the total area - open to mining activity. On Wednesday, the Attorney General's Office (AGU) said it will appeal the decision. With potential for extraction of gold, iron, manganese and tantalum, Renca partially overlaps with nine federal and state protected areas: Tumucumaque Mountains National Park, Paru and Amapá State Forests, Maicuru Biological Reserve, Estação The Jari Ecological Reserve, the Rio Cajari Extractive Reserve, the Iratapuru River Sustainable Development Reserve and the Waiãpi Indigenous Lands and Rio Paru d`Este. That is the potential conflict. In most of these areas, mining is prohibited - although there are gaps in legislation that may set precedents for mineral extraction in sustainable use protected areas. But even if it happens outside the confines of conservation units, mining activity, by law, must be carried out in a way that respects the environment and the rights of Indigenous Peoples and traditional communities living in the region. This potential conflict was announced by WWF-Brazil in May of this year through a document that anticipated the stimulus package for the mineral sector prepared by the Ministry of Mines and Energy. In July, a new WWF report on the Renca situation outlined the most sensitive areas and possible risks of opening up large-scale business activities in the region. And yet, the opening took place without any previous debate with society. "The government did not call on society to discuss a form of sustainable intervention in the Renca area. It simply met the industry's demands, bypassing environmental and social interests," says Jaime Gesisky, a specialist in Public Policy at WWF-Brazil. According to news published on the website of the Observatory of Climate (OC), the president's decision bypassed even an opinion of the Ministry of the Environment that requested the maintenance of the mineral reserve due to the risk of increased deforestation in the region. The opinion points to the risk of increased deforestation in the region. According to the MMA, of the 46,501 square kilometers of Renca, 45,767 square kilometers are covered by forest and 206 square kilometers are rivers. The deforested area is 528 square kilometers, or 1.1 per cent of the total. In the opinion, MMA technicians drew attention to recent changes in Brazilian legislation which favour mining in protected areas. The new Mining Code, now converted into law, does not provide for the prior authorization of environmental agencies for mining concessions. In addition, the new Forest Code opens the possibility that mining can take place in areas of permanent preservation, which is enough for the Executive to declare the activity to be of "public interest", notes the OC news. And this pressure, in the understanding of MMA, can lead to more deforestation in the region, as well as induce the migration of people to the area and impact the traditional communities that live there, generating violence and degradation. In a lawsuit filed earlier this week, the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office in Amapá (MPF / AP) also asked the Federal Court for an emergency injunction to suspend the effects of the decree that extinguished Renca.  According to the suit, in addition to contradicting the Federal Constitution, the government measure puts at risk the preservation of the environment and viola[...]

Media Files:

381 new species discovered in the Amazon

2017-08-31Thu, 31 Aug 2017 00:00:00 +0000

New report reveals that, between 2014-2015, a new plant or animal species was discovered in the Amazon every 2 days - the fastest rate this century; New species include a fire-tailed titi monkey, honeycomb patterned stingray, pink river dolphin, a yellow-moustached lizard and a bird named after former US president Barack Obama; WWF is calling for urgent action to protect the forest, following a recent presidential decree in Brazil aiming to abolish an Amazonian reserve the size of Switzerland.Sao Paolo, 31 August 2017 - A new WWF and Mamirauá Institute for Sustainable Development report, released on 30 August, reveals that a new animal or plant species is discovered in the Amazon every 2 days, the fastest rate to be observed this century. The findings come as huge parts of the forest are increasingly under threat, sparking further concern over the irreversible - and potentially catastrophic - consequences unsustainable policy and decision-making could have. New Species of Vertebrates and Plants in the Amazon 2014-2015, details 381 new species that were discovered over 24 months, including 216 plants, 93 fish, 32 amphibians, 20 mammals (2 of which are fossils), 19 reptiles and 1 bird. The latest 2014-2015 survey indicates the highest rate of discovery yet, with a species identified every 1.9 days. The average number of new species found in the Amazon in WWF's 1999-2009 report was 111 a year, or one new species every three days, while the 2010-2013 report revealed that at least 441 were discovered, which works out at a rate of one new species every 3.3 days. A great enigmaRicardo Mello, coordinator of WWF-Brazil Amazon Programme, says that life within this biome is still a great enigma: "We're in 2017, verifying the existence of new species and even though resources are scarce, we are seeing an immense variety and richness of biodiversity. This is a signal that we still have much to learn about the Amazon". Mello also states that the new findings should compel decision-makers, both public and private, to think about the irreversible impacts caused by large-scale projects such as roads and hydroelectric dams in the Amazon. "This biodiversity needs to be known and protected. Studies indicate that the greatest economic potential of a region such as the Amazon is the inclusion of biodiversity in the technological solutions of a new development model, including development of cures for diseases, relying on new species for food purposes, such as superfoods. " The report comes the week after Brazil's government passed a decree allowing mining in the National Reserve of Copper and Associates (Renca), a huge protected area the size of Switzerland which encompasses nine protected areas. Opening protected areas of the forest up for deforestation and mining, could be disastrous for wildlife and local cultures and indigenous communities. While the decree has since been revised to clarify that mining will not be allowed in conservation or indigenous areas within the former reserve, following national and global outcry, challenges persist for the world's largest tropical forest. Informing conservation strategiesFor João Valsecchi do Amaral, technical and scientific director at the Mamirauá Institute for Sustainable Development, the new knowledge brought by this report will help to identify areas or species that are reeling under pressures, to monitor this biodiversity and establish new strategies of conservation. "For the conservation of species, it is necessary to know what they are, how many there are and their distribution. These are key details to ensure that ecological and evolutionary processes are understood and maintained to ensure the species survival", he explained. Protected areasThe creation of protected areas is among the strategies cited in the report to lessen the negative impact of the development that the Amazon is and will continue to be subject to[...]

Media Files:

Nepal leads the way in snow leopard conservation at global summit

2017-08-23Wed, 23 Aug 2017 00:00:00 +0000

Bishkek, 23 August 2017 - Nepal has made conservation history by becoming the first country to launch its climate-smart snow leopard landscape management plan, leading the way in safeguarding the species and its habitat. Nepal's conservation plan launched today ahead of the International Snow Leopard Summit and Ecosystem Forum in Kyrgyzstan, addresses key current and emerging threats to snow leopards including climate change and will be used as a model for other range countries to adopt.Prakash Mathema, Secretary at Nepal's Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation adds:"This is the first climate-smart landscape management plan for snow leopard conservation in the world and is evidence of the Government of Nepal's high level of commitment to this goal. It could not have been possible without the support of local communities, conservation organizations and other committed partners."Nepal's efforts alone are not enough to protect this elusive species and its transboundary habitat. I request our national and international conservation partners and donors to support us as we move ahead with the important task of implementing this plan."Ghana S. Gurung, Conservation Director, WWF-Nepal said: "We are thrilled that Nepal has become the first of the twelve snow leopard range countries to produce its landscape management plan and make conservation history. The plan addresses even the toughest challenges including tackling the complex impacts of climate change. Nepal has once again established itself as a leader in conservation, showing much-needed ambition despite facing some of the toughest environmental, economic and political conditions. It sends a clear message to the rest of the world that Nepal is fully committed to safeguarding the snow leopard and its habitat, on which millions of people depend."Nepal has set a strong precedent and paved the way for the ambitious goal set by all twelve range countries - to secure 20 snow leopard landscapes by 2020 - to be achieved. "The International Snow Leopard Summit and Ecosystem Forum, officially opens tomorrow in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. At the meeting, world leaders will hold critical talks to strengthen previous commitments to safeguard the future of the snow leopard and its habitat - the headwaters for rivers on which hundreds of millions directly depend as a source of freshwater.It has been four years since the range countries first met in 2013, when they committed to an ambitious goal of securing 20 snow leopard landscapes by 2020. This has brought the plight of this iconic species into the spotlight and created hope that commitment from the range country governments could set an example of conservation success worldwide. However, as we pass the half-way point, there remain as few as 4,000 snow leopards and its habitat, which is home to the headwaters of 20 major rivers in Asia and known as the 'world's water towers', continues to shrink.Nepal has shown exemplary effort by launching its plan which tackles the complex challenges facing these habitats including the pervasive effects of climate change. This comes ahead of the Bishkek Declaration which will be signed by all twelve range states at the close of the summit and must pave the way for more substantial action in securing 20 snow leopard landscapes by 2020.-ENDS-For more information please contact: Lianne Mason | | +65 90601842Sana Ahmed | | +9242111993725[...]

Media Files:

Global leaders head critical summit to save the snow leopard and its habitat, on which hundreds of millions depend

2017-08-23Wed, 23 Aug 2017 00:00:00 +0000

International Snow Leopard Summit and Ecosystem Forum, 23- 25 August, Bishkek Kyrgyzstan: World leaders will begin critical talks over the future of the snow leopard and its habitat; the headwaters for rivers on which hundreds of millions directly depend as a source of freshwater. WWF urges snow leopard range countries*, which include political powerhouses China, Russia and India, to bolster previous commitments, or risk irreversible damage to both the species and landscape.It has been four years since the range countries first met in 2013, when they committed to an ambitious goal of securing 20 snow leopard landscapes by 2020. This has brought the plight of this iconic species into the spotlight and created hope that this commitment from the range country governments could set an example of conservation success worldwide. However, as we pass the half-way point, there remain as few as 4,000 snow leopards and its habitat, which is home to the headwaters of 20 major rivers in Asia and known as the 'world's water towers', continues to shrink.Marco Lambertini, Director General at WWF International, said:"The snow leopard range countries could write one of the greatest success stories of modern conservation. They have made promising progress to begin safeguarding the 20 landscapes by 2020 but we now reach a critical check point. Efforts must be increased or the goal will not be achieved, with snow leopards and local communities feeling the consequences."                    "This summit sets the stage for snow leopard range states to raise the bar and take strong action now to prevent permanent damage and build resilience for snow leopards and their habitats, alongside the ambitions of also developing local economies and livelihoods. Appreciating the countless bounties that nature provides and firmly remembering that the fate of humanity is closely intertwined with nature is crucial for the future of our living planet. Securing the future of snow leopards, the undisputed symbol of the high mountains of Asia, is a part of acknowledging not just our interdependence but our moral responsibility towards nature."A joint global petition from WWF, Snow Leopard Trust and NABU, which garnered support from an unprecedented 202,349 people, including Academy Award-winning actor, environmentalist, and WWF-US board member, Leonardo DiCaprio and actress Megan Fox, calls for increased efforts in tackling major threats to the species.The summit provides a unique and rare opportunity to address two of the greatest emerging threats for the snow leopard and its vital habitat; climate change and unsustainable infrastructure development, both of which transcend far beyond political borders of countries and need a united approach to succeed. Recent research suggests that climate change could wipe out more than two thirds of snow leopard habitat in the next fifty years. This, coupled with infrastructure projects which could cut ribbons across many of the snow leopard landscapes, mean the coming years will push the species even closer to the brink of survival. Lambertini, continues: "WWF's latest Living Planet Report shows if we continue with business as usual, we could witness a two-thirds decline in wildlife from 1970 to 2020. We're at a crucial time to bend the curve and halt the decline of nature. However, this is not only about the wildlife we love. Safeguarding a future for snow leopards means protecting their vast habitats, on which hundreds of millions of people depend for freshwater and livelihoods." WWF is also urging countries at the summit to ramp up efforts in tackling levels of poaching and human / snow leopard conflict.  A recent TRAFFIC report estimates up to 450 snow leopards are poached every year – part of the same illegal trade which is decimating elephants, rhinos and tigers across Asia and[...]

Media Files:

WWF deeply concerned over imminent certification of Mexican tuna fishery

2017-08-05Sat, 05 Aug 2017 00:00:00 +0000

Gland, Switzerland, 5 August 2017 – WWF has expressed its deep concern at the likely Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification of the Northeastern Tropical Pacific tuna dolphin-set purse seine fishery. WWF had previously objected to this certification proposal due to its belief that impacts of the fishery on depleted dolphin populations have not been sufficiently examined and addressed, therefore not meeting the MSC standard. An independent adjudicator assigned to consider the objection has now dismissed WWF's challenge.   "This is a deeply troubling outcome that we believe shows that the MSC standard is not consistently being adhered to by certifiers and that the objections procedure provides insufficient opportunity for consideration of the scientific basis for certifiers' conclusions," said Franck Hollander, Seafood Officer for WWF-Germany and the global team lead for WWF on this project. In the waters of the Eastern Pacific, one technique used for decades to catch tuna involves targeting schools of tuna associated with dolphins, contributing to high dolphin mortality. Despite reductions in the number of dolphins killed by this practice, it is yet unknown whether populations have recovered from dramatic declines that began in the late 1950s and continued though the early 1990s. In October 2016, WWF filed an objection to the MSC assessment conducted by an independent certifier based on two factors: that the information used to assess fishery impacts on depleted dolphin species was not transparent and that the assessment did not accurately account for impacts of the fishery on dolphin populations.  "While WWF continues to support the MSC as the world's leading wild-caught sustainable seafood certification program, it remains our opinion that the Northeastern Tropical Pacific purse seine tuna fishery does not meet the MSC standard. Depleted dolphin populations that frequently associate with commercially-targeted schools of tuna in the Eastern Pacific could be negatively impacted by this fishery. WWF believes the existing science does not support the conclusions made in the assessment," Hollander said. "WWF urges all stakeholders to work together to improve fishing practices and the availability of up-to-date scientific information on the impacted dolphin stocks in order to quantify and address any impacts of the fishery," said Enrique Sanjurjo, Lead, Food Practice, WWF-Mexico. WWF recommends that seafood buyers should not consider this fishery as sustainable. --- ends ---For media requests, please contact:Rucha Naware | WWF International | | +44 739 377 6573 For technical questions, please contact:Franck Hollander | WWF-Germany | About WWFWWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit for latest news and media resources and follow us on Twitter @WWF_media  [...]

Media Files:

Snaring crisis devastating Asia's wildlife, jeopardizing decades of tiger conservation efforts

2017-07-29Sat, 29 Jul 2017 00:00:00 +0000

29 July 2017 – On Global Tiger Day today, WWF is urging tiger-range governments to strengthen anti-poaching efforts and crack down on a severe wildlife snaring crisis that is threatening wildlife across Asia, especially the world's remaining wild tigers, which number only around 3,900. Easy to make from widely available material such as bicycle cable wires and quick to set up, wire snares are deadly traps that are fast becoming the plague of Asia's forests. Driven by the growing illegal wildlife trade, which is now reaching an estimated US$20 billion annually[1], poachers are increasingly using snares to trap wild tigers, elephants, leopards and other animals that are in high demand in the black market.   "Snares are dangerous, insidious and quickly becoming a major contributor to the wave of extinction that is spreading throughout Southeast Asia – and tigers are being swept up in this crisis. All efforts to recover wild tigers are now imperiled by snaring on a massive scale. We cannot over emphasize the need for strong government commitment and investment in rangers who are on the frontline of conservation, clearing snares and apprehending those who set them," said Mike Baltzer, Leader of WWF Tigers Alive. In the rare occasion that a wild tiger is able to escape a snare, it suffers debilitating injuries that prevent it from hunting, eventually causing it to die of starvation or infection. In addition, snares maim or kill any animal that activates them thus dealing a double blow to wild tigers, by trapping the prey base they need to survive and reproduce. "It's impossible to know how many snares are being set up every day, and threatening wildlife in these critical habitats. Hundreds of thousands of deadly snares are removed by rangers from Asia's protected areas annually, but this is just the tip of the iceberg," said Rohit Singh, wildlife law enforcement expert at WWF. Within the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the only place on Earth where wild tigers, orangutans, elephants and rhinos are found in the same habitat, snare traps are estimated to have doubled between 2006 and 2014[2].  Yet, many of such critical habitats lack adequate resources for protection. In nearby Rimbang Baling, one of several protected areas in Sumatra, there are only two full-time government rangers out of a total of 26 mostly community-based rangers. Together, they patrol over 1,400 square kilometres, an area equivalent to nearly twice the size of New York City. "Removing these silent traps is not enough. Rangers on the ground must be supported by greater resources and strong legislation to take action against illegal poachers with snares," added Singh. "In addition, local communities must also be recognized and empowered as stakeholders in conservation. Protecting biodiversity is in the interest of both wildlife and people and communities can play a critical role in safeguarding vital ecosystems." In the Gunung Leuser National Park, which makes up just about a third of the entire World Heritage site in Sumatra, ecosystem services are valued at over US$ 600 million per year, while the park stores over 1.6 billion tons of carbon and provides water to four million people[3]. Local communities rely heavily on these critical resources to survive, making it an even stronger imperative to halt the snaring crisis, and help safeguard the livelihoods of local communities. As snares tighten their grip across Asia, conservation organizations across the continent are calling for urgent action. For example, in Cambodia, conservation groups led by Wildlife Alliance are launching an awareness movement to educate the public on avoiding the consumption of wild meat, which further fuels the snaring crisis. In 2010, tiger range governme[...]

Media Files:

EU Court of Justice orders Poland to halt logging in Bialowieza Forest

2017-07-28Fri, 28 Jul 2017 00:00:00 +0000

(image) Warsaw, Poland – In response to the Court of Justice of the European Union's decision to halt logging in Bialowieza Forest, Dariusz Gatlowski, Biodiversity Specialist at WWF-Poland, said:
"This decision is great news for Bialowieza and the communities that depend on this remarkable forest. By ordering Poland to halt logging, the Court has recognized that these activities are causing serious and irreparable damage in this priceless site. Bialowieza must instead be safeguarded for future generations.
"We expect the Polish government to immediately adhere to the Court's order and stop the ongoing destruction of Europe's best preserved lowland forest."
The Court of Justice of the European Union decision requires Poland to suspend logging in Bialowieza Forest, except in situations threatening public safety. In practice, this means not only the suspension of the execution of the March 2016 decision by Poland's Minister of the Environment, Jan Szyszko, to allow increased logging in Białowieza Forest District, but also a ban on removing old trees from the remaining parts of the forest.
The ban on logging will be in force until the final settlement of the case of Bialowieza Forest by the court.
To stop logging in the Bialowieza Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the court based its decision on so-called interim measures. This is an extraordinary legal instrument that suspends an action in question, with immediate effect. The court uses it very rarely - only in cases where there is a serious risk that ongoing activities could cause serious and irreparable damage.
The court's decision confirms what the European Commission, UNESCO, most of the scientific community and WWF have previously stressed: increased wood extraction, not a bark beetle infestation, threatens the protected habitats and species in Bialowieza Forest, and logging must be stopped immediately before irreversible damage occurs.

For more information, please contact:
Scott Edwards | WWF International | | +44 7887 954116
Notes to Editors:
  • Images are available here.

Media Files:

G20 summit shows ambition on climate and sustainability as need for action grows

2017-07-08Sat, 08 Jul 2017 00:00:00 +0000

Hamburg, GERMANY (17 July 2017) – As the G20 Leaders' Summit concludes, WWF urges the world's leading industrialized and emerging economies to deliver on their commitment toward ensuring sustainability and resilience for all. The ambition shared in the Leaders' Communiqué released today must be accompanied by concrete actions by G20 countries and governments to bend the curve of accelerating climate change, staggering biodiversity loss and unsustainable use of the planet's natural resources. Today, unprecedented environmental pollution, climate change impacts, biodiversity declines, land degradation and water scarcity are pushing the planet to a tipping point. Collective action on issues such as Green Finance, climate policy, marine pollution and wildlife crime, as outlined in the final G20 declaration, is urgently needed to help prevent irreversible damage to global societies and economies and ensure stability and security in the world's most vulnerable regions. Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global Climate & Energy Practice, said: "By accelerating progress under both the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the G20 group of nations can help move the sustainability agenda forward. Acknowledging the irreversible momentum set forth by the Paris climate deal, leaders have shown their determination to join countries and non-State actors worldwide in creating a global socio-economic transformation that will shape our national economies, people's well-being and prosperity for years to come.'' At the Summit, all G20 members, except the US, committed to ensuring full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, through cooperation on enhanced delivery of national climate contributions, delivering long-term plans by 2020 and with independent monitoring of the shifting of financial flows. Their pledge comes just weeks after US president Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the global climate agreement approved in December 2015. "Implementing the Paris Agreement is in the interest of each nation. Effective climate strategies can help unlock new business and employment opportunities, renewable energy, health benefits, and a sustainable future for all. As G20 leaders join cities, companies and individuals around the globe in committing toward a climate-safe future, it must be crystal clear that there is no place for fossil fuels in this scenario. We can be stronger together for climate but we need to translate ambition into action now," said Pulgar-Vidal. In addition to climate change, leaders at the G20 summit also discussed opportunities and challenges linked to Green Finance and its role in shifting financial flows worldwide toward greater sustainability by taking climate and environmental risks into account. The forum also looked at the important link between wildlife crime and corruption for the first time, with a G20 Action Plan specifically highlighting the profound economic, social, cultural, and environmental impacts of illegal wildlife trade. Margaret Kinnaird, leader of WWF's global Wildlife Practice, said: "Wildlife crime not only threatens our planet's incredible wildlife but it is also harming the lives, livelihoods and human rights of local communities who have depended on their surrounding resources and ecosystems for centuries. We urge Argentina as the next G20 president to build on the legacy of Germany's outgoing presidency and make wildlife crime a priority to help stave off global biodiversity loss and promote sustainable use of natural resources." Moving forward, WWF also urges the upcoming Presidency to continue the group's focus on marine pollution, calling for the definition of timeframes and responsibil[...]

Media Files:

Host of World Heritage meeting failing to protect own forest

2017-07-04Tue, 04 Jul 2017 00:00:00 +0000

(image) Krakow, Poland - A protest organised by a coalition of environmental NGOs in Poland today outside the 41st session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee shed light on the plight of the host country's ancient Białowieża Forest, which is under serious threat of large-scale logging.
WWF took part in the protest, and continues to urge the Committee delegates to be vigilant to attempts to weaken the protections for Białowieża Forest. WWF highlights the danger logging poses to the irreplaceable value of the site, which is scheduled to be discussed on Wednesday at the UNESCO meeting.
"It is extremely concerning that an area recognized as having such outstanding value can so easily come under threat. The Polish minister of the environment is disregarding the concern of its own people - clearly voiced by the protest here - in order to pursue its own agenda." said Aslihan Tumer, Head of Global Campaigns at WWF International.
The Białowieża Forest World Heritage site lies on the border between Poland and Belarus and covers an area of over 140,000 hectares. Home to thousands of species including the largest population of European bison, it has been described by UNESCO as an "irreplaceable area for biodiversity conservation."
"Europe's best preserved ancient forest is facing an existential threat. We should be doing everything we can to protect it, not opening it up for intensified logging. We urge the Polish government to stop logging and safeguard Białowieża for future generations and stand by its UNESCO commitments," said Dariusz Gatkowski, Biodiversity Policy Specialist, WWF-Poland.
WWF reiterates the role of the World Heritage Committee in protecting recognized sites and the danger posed by over-politicization. In 2016, a number of advisory body recommendations on the necessary protection for Białowieża Forest were ignored when Committee decisions were taken.
Other sites of concern are Doñana National Park, Selous Game Reserve, and Western Caucasus. WWF fears that the Committee may be influenced to weaken the demands it places on the relevant governments responsible for the protection of these special places.
"We call on the World Heritage Committee to uphold their role as the guardians of these remarkable sites," added Tumer.

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For more information, please contact:
Scott Edwards | WWF International | | +44 7887 954116

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WWF objection prompts review of Mexican tuna fishery's impact on dolphins in the Eastern Pacific

2017-06-23Fri, 23 Jun 2017 00:00:00 +0000

GLAND, Switzerland, 23 June 2017 – The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification of an Eastern Pacific tuna fishery has been placed temporarily on hold following strong concerns raised by WWF that impacts of the fishery on depleted dolphin populations in the region have not been fully examined and addressed. In October 2016, WWF filed an objection to an MSC assessment conducted by an independent certifier of the Northeastern Tropical Pacific purse seine yellowfin and skipjack tuna fishery based on two factors: that the information used to assess fishery impacts on depleted dolphin species was not transparent and that the assessment ultimately did not accurately account for impacts of the fishery on dolphin populations.The independent adjudicator assigned to consider WWF's objection during a hearing in May has now remanded the decision to certify the fishery. The certifier must now reconsider whether there is sufficient evidence that the fishery is not hindering the recovery of the dolphin species in question.  "The existing science does not support the conclusions made in the original assessment and is insufficient to show that this fishery meets the MSC standard when considering all fishery impacts on depleted dolphins in the region," said Franck Hollander, Seafood Officer for WWF-Germany and the global team lead for WWF on this certification effort. In the waters of the Eastern Pacific, one of the techniques used for decades to catch tuna involves targeting schools of tuna associated with dolphins, a practice with a history of contributing to high dolphin mortality. Despite reductions in the number of dolphins killed by this practice in recent years, it is unknown whether populations have recovered from dramatic declines that began in the late 1950s and continued though the early 1990s.Hollander added, "Given the historical impact of the fishing technique used by this fishery, it was critical to WWF that the MSC assessment was done carefully and in strict accordance with the MSC requirements.  We are committed as a stakeholder to use our collective expertise to hold the process to account and push for the best possible outcome for the marine environment, fisheries and local communities."WWF is calling for scientific evidence that the fishery does not likely hinder the recovery of the depleted species directly impacted in order for it to be certified. The certifier now has ten days to respond to the remand. A final decision on the certification is expected once the remand process is complete."As this fishery strives to meet the MSC standard, there is an opportunity for all stakeholders to work together to improve fishing practices and the availability of up-to-date scientific information on the impacted dolphin stocks," said Enrique Sanjurjo, Lead, Food Practice, WWF-Mexico.---ends---For more information, please contact:Rucha Naware | WWF International | | +91 961 916 0232Scott Edwards | WWF International | | +44 7887 954116 About WWFWWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit for latest news and media resources and follow us on Twitter @WWF_media [...]

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Croatia: Watershed moment for the Great Waterfall and Plitvice Lakes National Park

2017-06-22Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:00:00 +0000

Zagreb – This week, local communities living in and around Croatia's Plitvice National Park and veterans' associations came together to symbolically halt traffic at a wooden bridge near Plitvice Sela to draw attention to the numerous threats facing Croatia's only UNESCO World Heritage site.Known worldwide for its lakes, Plitvice National Park has long attracted thousands of visitors and interest but in recent years, unprecedented pressure from tourism and ill-planned construction projects threaten to impact the park's waters and biodiversity.Excessive water use has left the park's Great Waterfall running dry, with only 40 per cent of its maximum water capacity currently available. Unless urgent action is taken, Plitvice National Park could be inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger. "A series of ill-informed decisions have left Croatia's most precious natural pearl at unprecedented risk. Waste water flows, one of the impacts we are seeing of the uncontrolled increase in tourists and irresponsible construction projects in the area, are already affecting the Great Waterfall and the survival of its unique flora and fauna," said Irma Popović Dujmović, project officer, WWF-Adria. "We cannot risk losing Croatia's icon of protected nature, and the many jobs entire local communities depend on."1.3 million people are estimated to visit Plitvice National Park annually and since 2010, overnight stays in Plitvice have increased as much as 12-fold to about 39,000. As visits increase, it is critical that the park adopts a sustainable management plan that balances the potential for growth with the need for greater environmental protection.In the past year, the ministry of construction and spatial planning has issued permits for the construction of 35 new private apartments, bed and breakfasts and restaurants. Even the bridge where people gathered on Wednesday 21 June, is estimated to be crossed every day by dozens of trucks weighing up to 40 tonnes while its maximum capacity is stated to be 3.5 tonnes only.WWF is calling on the Croatian ministry of construction and spatial planning to urgently start working with the ministry of environmental protection and energy to prevent the destruction of Plitvice Lakes.In addition to being a UNESCO World Heritage site, Plitvice National Park park is also part of the Natura 2000 network of protected areas requiring the Croatian government to ensure legal protection of the site against destructive projects."We urge the government to work together with local communities and relevant stakeholders to ensure a more sustainable management of the park. By planning projects that involve local communities and take into consideration the natural values of the park, we can ensure Plitvice's beauty and biodiversity are protected while promoting social and economic development for all," added Popović Dujmović.A WWF report "Protecting people through nature: places of world natural heritage as a driver of sustainable development" published last year as part of the Saving Our Shared Heritage campaign showed that nearly half of the world's natural heritage sites are endangered by harmful industrial activities. [...]

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WWF stands with victims' families of the devastating forest fire in Portugal

2017-06-18Sun, 18 Jun 2017 00:00:00 +0000

(image) Lisbon, 18 June 2017 – WWF expresses solidarity with the victims' families and the firemen fighting the ongoing forest fire in Pedrogão Grande, Leiria area, in the center of Portugal. WWF is deeply saddened by the numerous human victims.

The arid and flammable nature of Mediterranean forests (which include Portugal), climate change, human neglect and, above all, the lack of adequate forest management that acts to prevent forest fires, form a lethal combination that threatens forests and the security of local populations.

WWF urges the Portuguese government to take urgent action to prevent forest fires and accelerate the process of "forest reform" that began last year. The focus of efforts should shift from combating forest fires as they arise to preventing them from existing, through responsible long-term forest management. Responsible forest management is more effective and financially more efficient than financing the giant firefighting mechanisms that are employed every year. 

"We are extremelly sad and shocked by this unprecedented tragedy in terms of human victims. We strongly believe that good management practices should prevent forest fires and protect people's lives and livelihoods, "said Rui Barreira from WWF in Portugal.

"The tragedy we are living today in Portugal could happen tomorrow in any country of the Mediterranean region, as well as the world. WWF is calling all Mediterranean governments to engage in better fire prevention strategies yet this summer." added Paolo Lombardi, WWF Mediterranean Director.

For more information, please contact: Anne Rémy, WWF Mediterranean Director of Communications
Mob. + 39 338 66 06 287 - e-mail:
Follow us on Twitter: @WWF_Med

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First UN Ocean Conference signals global goal out of reach without major new action

2017-06-09Fri, 09 Jun 2017 00:00:00 +0000

New York, 9 June 2017 – On the concluding day of the first ever United Nations Ocean Conference, WWF calls for unprecedented action to achieve the agreed Ocean sustainable development goal. This comes as member states prepare to endorse a call for action that acknowledges the serious threats to the ocean from overexploitation and climate change, and the need for much greater ambition. John Tanzer, Oceans Leader for WWF International, said: "This historic ocean conference has undoubtedly been the moment the ocean arrived on the main agenda for decision makers from all sectors but the momentum must build from here." "A clear message from the conference is that the ambition, scale of impact and reserves of political will required to tackle the urgent, growing threats to the ocean need to be far higher, or the world will fall a long way short of its agreed global goals." "Notable at this meeting was the clear recognition of how serious the threats are to the ocean and coasts, from widespread habitat destruction and ecosystem degradation, to overfishing and pollution. Overheated, rising and acidifying seas are already wreaking serious harm, from the tropics to the poles. The discussion was less about debating the scale of the threats than about planning and committing on how to tackle them," added Tanzer. "While there has been steady progress in expanding levels of protection of the ocean and in tackling overfishing, as two of the key priorities for global action, it is clearly not nearly enough. It's especially critical for national governments to step up and drive the scaled-up action required. By turning the tide today, we can secure food supplies, livelihoods, sustainable economic opportunities and enhanced wellbeing for hundreds of millions of people." WWF has identified a list of priorities for governments, and all sectors, that it believes will help the world turn around the accelerating decay of ocean systems: Protect critical habitats for fisheries, local tourism assets, and for coastal protection to support local communities through effective spatial management measures, with a goal to conserve at least 30 per cent of mangroves, coral reefs, sea grass beds and all key ecosystems.Urgently reduce carbon emissions to reduce the assault from climate change on coral reefs, mangroves, the Arctic and Antarctica, and other vulnerable ecosystems.Phase out destructive fishing methods, including bottom trawls in vulnerable areas, and ensure bycatch is reduced significantly, and drive real sustainability in fishing, including in the small-scale sector, which warrants far more attention.Adopt an effective global agreement to phase out harmful fisheries subsidies.Fast-track the negotiations of a legally-binding high seas biodiversity agreement to enable integrated ocean management in areas beyond national jurisdiction.Adopt and implement sound principles and guidelines for public and private investments in the sustainable blue economy.Reduce the production and use of plastics and micro-plastics, and apply recycling and waste management. In addition, leaders must support and promote gender equality especially recognizing the role of women and youth, and authentically empower communities - particularly the least developed, and large ocean states, and indigenous peoples - and those most vulnerable to the decline in ocean health. This is essential to protect the sustainable blue economy and achieve sustainable development for all. "The candour and eagerness to get on with the job we have witnessed in New York has been energizing and a reason for optimism, but we're also running out of t[...]

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Leaders in U.S. Economy Say "We Are Still In' on Paris Climate Agreement

2017-06-05Mon, 05 Jun 2017 00:00:00 +0000

(image) WASHINGTON, DC -- The broadest cross section of the American economy yet assembled in pursuit of climate action, today declared their intent to continue to ensure the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing carbon emissions.
Together, these leaders are sending a strong signal to the international community and the 194 other parties to the Paris Agreement about the continued commitment of the U.S. to ambitious action on climate change absent leadership at the federal level. In the aggregate, the signatories are delivering concrete emissions reductions that will help meet America's emissions pledge under the Paris Agreement.
In response, Lou Leonard, World Wildlife Fund-US senior vice president of climate and energy said: "US leadership on climate change doesn't begin or end in Washington. Focusing on last week's disappointing decision by President Trump misses the bigger story - America is still in this fight.
"American companies, cities, states, colleges and universities are banding together to help meet US targets under the Paris Agreement. And it's not just Fortune 500 companies leading the way. From hundreds of small businesses on Main Street, to cities from Louisville to Pittsburgh, and schools from Arizona State to Ohio State, these American leaders are using their economic and political influence to shift the United States to clean energy and send a clear message to the world: the United States is committed to climate action and delivering on the Paris Agreement." 
To view the full statement, quotes and list of signatories, visit:

For further information, contact Mandy Jean Woods 

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US Intent to Withdraw from Paris Agreement Triggers Renewed Call to Action

2017-06-01Thu, 01 Jun 2017 00:00:00 +0000

GLAND, Switzerland (1 June, 2017) – President Donald Trump today announced his intent to withdraw the United States from the historic Paris Agreement, the world's first global plan to address climate change. This announcement is a call to action to national and local governments, businesses and people worldwide to step up their commitments to address climate change. The historic agreement, approved in December 2015, commits nearly 200 countries to pursue all efforts to limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C to stave off some of the worst impacts of a warming planet. In response, WWF's global Climate & Energy Practice Leader Manuel Pulgar-Vidal said: "The Paris Agreement is the world's collective response to tackling climate change. But the transformative power of the Paris Agreement lies in the targets that it triggers, and nations must hold each other accountable for their promises. "A race to the bottom when it comes to our efforts to cut carbon pollution benefits no one as climate change affects everyone. "Cities, states, companies and the public in the US and around the world support climate action, and are already contributing to creating low-carbon economies from the bottom up. "Fortunately, the Paris Agreement is bigger than any one nation or any one government. We can still achieve the promise of Paris, but we have no time to lose. Countries around the world must seize the opportunity to unleash this potential, invest in renewable energy that eliminates harmful carbon pollution, and build economies that are more resilient, inclusive and prosperous."  Carter Roberts, president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund-US said: "The Paris Agreement emerged as nations put aside politics to reverse course on this threat to our way of life. The US helped lead that charge.  "The Agreement does more than tie nations together around a common vision. It creates a blueprint for cooperation, for political stability, and job creation. Our booming nation's clean energy economy employs more than 3.3 million Americans – more than all the jobs in the fossil fuel industry combined. The players in the real American economy understand we don't have to choose between economic prosperity and a safer future for our families and communities."From big retailers like Walmart to electric utilities like Pacific Gas & Electric to technology companies like Google and Apple, American businesses have been steadfast in their support for the Paris Agreement. Oil, gas and coal companies like Royal Dutch Shell, BP, ExxonMobil, and Peabody Coal have supported staying in the Paris Agreement, which makes today's announcement all the more confounding."Its baffling to see our President walk away from Paris, given the potential that climate solutions offer for new markets and new jobs.  We can ill afford any further retreat from our country's commitment to climate action, and commit to double down in our work with America's cities, states and businesses, not to mention Congress and other countries, to fill the leadership gap just created by the White House."Contact Mandy Jean Woods  [...]

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World leaders forge ahead on Paris Agreement despite uncertain United States

2017-05-27Sat, 27 May 2017 00:00:00 +0000

TAORMINA, Italy (27 May, 2017) – Six of the world's largest economies today reaffirmed their support for the Paris Agreement and its continued implementation at a meeting of the G7 in Taormina, Sicily.The meeting was attended by heads of all G7 member nations, and ends today. While the leaders reached consensus on the need to harness economy opportunities and job creation offered by the clean energy transition and to provide support to developing countries, the US deferred announcing its continued endorsement of the Paris climate agreement. In response, WWF issued the following statement: Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global Climate & Energy Practice said: "Leaders from six of the world's largest economies made it clear that climate change remains a top priority and they showed their commitment to delivering on the Paris climate deal. This is heartening, even though the US is still wavering. The co-benefits of a transition to a clean energy future include job creation, innovation opportunities and growth, and G7 leaders acknowledged that today. Their commitment to support developing countries, including with financial support, is critical to ensuring we keep warming below 1.5°C. They must take this spirit to the G20 meeting in Germany in July." Gaetano Benedetto, WWF-Italy CEO, said: "We recognise the leadership and determination of the Italian Presidency and EU countries to keep climate at the top of the global political agenda: the final G7 Communique is a sign that they have been able to agree on the facts and opportunities. The impact of climate change is a more pressing issue than ever. Each country has a moral responsibility to act. We appreciate that the Italian Presidency and other countries supporting the Paris accord, while taking on a collaborative spirit, did not give up on principles and the urgency to act now. Now, we ask the Italian Government to show more courage and determination than ever in climate action in Italy and in the EU: it is a duty towards citizens and future generations. Future deadlines, from the National Energy Strategy to the Decarbonisation Strategy, will be further opportunities to build authoritativeness also at international level.Lou Leonard, World Wildlife Fund-US' senior vice president of climate change and energy said: "On his first trip abroad, President Trump found a world -- from its major economies to Pope Francis -- united in support of climate action and the Paris Agreement. It's deeply troubling that the US would not join world leaders in endorsing the Paris Agreement, particularly in light of the overwhelmingly clear support for the Agreement expressed by the major players in the real American economy including over 1,000 US businesses large and small. It is more obvious than ever that American business, states, universities and cities have picked up the mantle of US leadership on climate change while over 3 million Americans are employed in the clean energy economy and solar and wind jobs are growing at 12 times the national average. Even so, lasting solutions to our global crises have always required clear political leadership and we strongly encourage the Trump Administration to take steps to fully implement US participation in the Paris Agreement. The future of the US economy and of global security cannot afford to see the US backtrack on the progress it has made."---ends---For further information, contact: Cristina Maceroni / @WWFitalia / +39-329-8315725 Mandy Jean Woods / @climateWWF / +27 72 393 [...]

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G7 must act with urgency to meet climate commitments – and then do more

2017-05-25Thu, 25 May 2017 00:00:00 +0000

ROME, Italy (25 May, 2017) – Leaders of the world's seven big economies must show the way on climate action by fulfilling the commitments they made in the Paris Agreement, and then doing more. Commenting on the upcoming meeting of the Group of 7 (G7) in Sicily, WWF's global Climate & Energy Practice leader Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, said it was incumbent on the G7 members to accelerate decarbonisation to limit warming to well below 2.0°C, aiming for 1.5°C, as set out in the global climate Paris Agreement. The G7 countries are Italy, Japan, France, Germany, Canada, the United States, the UK plus the European Union. "The G7 leaders are meeting just months after 2016 was declared the hottest year ever. The signs are there. The world is unbalanced and human-induced emissions is the main cause. Rising temperatures are affecting the lives and livelihoods of the most vulnerable communities. Biodiversity loss is weakening nature's ability to provide the services on which human survival depends," he said. So while it will require a huge collective effort to tackle the challenges of climate change, the efforts of the G7 would be significant. "They must rally the political will needed to take immediate climate action at scale. Yes, the plan for climate action must be addressed in the UNFCCC. But informal discussions between leaders – such as will occur in Sicily this weekend – can result in increased momentum," said Pulgar-Vidal."Any uncertainty about the US commitment to the Paris Agreement should be a call to action for governments worldwide to double down on their own commitments and hold each other accountable. No single government will define the ultimate outcome of our efforts to address climate change," he said. WWF-Italy's Mariagrazia Midulla said the Pope's meeting with US President Trump yesterday was timeous. "The choice to make the gift of the Encyclical Laudato Sì to President Trump highlights the Pope as a very important actor for all those who are committed to saving the planet from climate change. "The speed and scale of the climate challenge has always required solutions from all sectors of society, including the religious sector. Globally, political leaders have the support they need to accelerate their progress, and it's coming from cities, regional governments, businesses and the public. "Italy's motto for its G7 presidency is "building the foundations for renewed trust" with citizens," says Midulla. "In order to build real trust, it is important that Italy - and the other G7 leaders - maintain their commitments on climate and for the Paris Agreement, and increase them as the urgency of the problem requires. This is not the time to falter. It is the time to show reliability." Countries which do will reap the economic benefits in the form of increased jobs, improved health for citizens and a clean, safe environment, she said. G7 countries should also fulfil their commitments with the most vulnerable countries on climate finance.---ends--- For further information, contact:Cristina Maceroni  +39-329-8315725 Mandy Jean Woods  +27 72 393 0027[...]

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