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WWF - Environmental News



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COP23 puts a strong focus on ambition, even as countries defer immediate action

2017-11-17Fri, 17 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000

BONN, 17 November 2017 – As the UN climate talks end later today, WWF recognizes the progress made on laying the groundwork for increasing climate ambition up to 2020 and beyond, but notes that 2018 will be key for countries to clearly signal their intention to step up and enhance their climate plans. In the hours remaining, WWF urges parties to resolve the issues still pending.A year after the Paris Agreement entered into force, negotiations over the past two weeks have seen countries come to agreement on critical issues of pre-2020 action and support, and the role of gender, local communities and Indigenous Peoples in climate action. However, much remains to be done to ensure we seize the small window of opportunity we have to achieve the objectives of this landmark climate accord. Governments must strengthen urgent action, finalize the Paris Agreement rulebook and decide collectively to review and strengthen ambition of post-2020 climate commitments urgently. "From the onset, the paradoxes at this COP have been many. Negotiators have gathered in Bonn under a Fiji Presidency and, as states deliberate on future action, cities, regions, businesses and communities have stepped up their efforts toward achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. We also saw that despite the momentum seen in the corridors in Bonn, domestically countries are still falling behind" said Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, head of WWF's global climate and energy programme. "In a year marked by extreme weather disasters and potentially the first increase in carbon emissions in four years, the paradox between what we are doing and need to be delivering is clear: countries must act with greater climate ambition, and soon, to put us on a path to a 1.5°C future."By raising the profile of pre-2020 action in the UNFCCC process, and agreeing on the design of a process to review and increase ambition through the Talanoa Dialogue, COP23 has provided important building blocks to move the spirit of the Paris Agreement forward. But success is far from guaranteed. The Polish presidency must complement, and aim to bolster, Fiji's efforts to accelerate progress towards finalizing the Rulebook that will guide the implementation of the Paris Agreement and ensure scaled up, predictable finance for developing countries, including for loss and damage."Two years ago, countries around the world were entrusted with an important mandate in Paris. Today, they are making progress but with the impacts of climate change accelerating, the pace and scale of the response is still insufficient. It is time to show bolder vision, innovation, and urgent action - domestically and on the international front - and build on the clear momentum we are seeing in our societies and economies already. We look to Poland to continue Fiji's legacy to translate the ambition and vision of the Paris Agreement into reality," added Pulgar-Vidal.Countries are not the only ones taking action. Through the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, efforts underway by states and non-State actors - including cities, regions, business, investors, and civil society - to galvanize climate action were in the spotlight at COP23 in Bonn. The WWF 'PandaHub' Pavilion hosted a full programme of dialogues and events to showcase the value of collaboration and innovation to create a sustainable, resilient future for all.In addition, the U.S. Climate Action Center brought together over 100 prominent leaders from U.S. state and local governments, private sector and academia showing the U.S.' commitment to remaining a global frontrunner in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. WWF is one of many organizations supporting the new generation of climate leaders who comprise the "We Are Still In"  movement, the largest U.S. coalition ever assembled in support of climate action. "Never before has a coalition of American business, state and local leaders come together under a common banner to drive climate action," said Lou Leonard, WWF's senior vice president of climate change and energy.  "By working together[...]


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Bhutan, WWF and partners announce deal to permanently secure Bhutan's extensive network of protected areas

2017-11-11Sat, 11 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000

THIMPHU, BHUTAN: The Royal Government of Bhutan, WWF, donors and partners from around the world today announced their commitment to create a USD $43 million fund—the first of its kind in Asia—to permanently protect Bhutan's network of protected areas.This funding will be combined with USD $75 million from the Bhutan government, which will be contributed over a 14-year period, to support a new program called Bhutan for Life (BFL). The program, which is supported in part by a USD $26.6 million grant from the Green Climate Fund, will ensure that there is funding forever to properly manage Bhutan's protected areas—which constitute 51 percent of the country, the highest percentage of land designated as protected in Asia.Proper management of the protected areas means the country's 2-million-hectare network of forests and rivers will be protected against poaching, illegal logging and other threats. Forests will be able to absorb carbon so Bhutan can maintain its commitment to being carbon neutral forever. Bhutan's rivers, which are part of a network of rivers that provide water for one-fifth of the world, will remain clean. The country's natural resources will support the livelihoods of much of the country's rural population, and help people be more resilient against the impacts of climate change. And iconic wildlife, such as Bengal tigers and Asian elephants, will be allowed to thrive in their natural habitat."It is in this protected areas network, and the wildlife corridors that connect them, that most of the country's treasured natural resources can be found," said Bhutan Prime Minister Dasho Tshering Tobgay. "However, these natural resources are at risk, as the country is changing fast. To address the increasing threats to our pristine environment, Bhutan needs a solid new conservation-friendly business plan: one that will not just protect, but will help grow the initial capital Bhutan has put into its incredible conservation efforts; and one that will allow both conservation and economic development to occur in a balanced, sustainable way, in perpetuity. That plan is in the form of BFL.""Our natural resources are our most important asset," said WWF Bhutan Country Representative Dechen Dorji. "They are the foundation for our livelihoods, spiritual connectivity, happiness and our commitment to being carbon neutral. The farsighted conservation vision of the our great monarchs and Royal Government of Bhutan's leadership in adopting an innovative solution that guarantees permanent protection as well as effective management of our protected areas secures Bhutan's future and will enable Bhutan to serve as a powerful model for the world."Those who showed their commitment today to support BFL included representatives from the Philipp Family Foundation, the Bedari Foundation and PlowShare Group, who provided initial preparation funding alongside WWF in 2014. Also attending were representatives of the Green Climate Fund, Global Environment Facility and additional private donors. Most were in Bhutan today, at a ceremony graced by Her Majesty the Queen of Bhutan. Earlier today, the Royal Government of Bhutan and WWF also signed a declaration of commitment for BFL, witnessed by donors and partners of BFL. At the heart of this government of Bhutan and WWF-led initiative is a fund that will make annual payments, starting high and declining to zero over a projected period of 14 years. During this time, the government of Bhutan will gradually increase its funding to match the decline in donor funding. Thereafter, Bhutan will be positioned to fully fund all protected areas on its own. An independent board with representatives from the government of Bhutan, BFL donors and relevant experts will oversee the implementation of the BFL-funded activities for the next 14 years. BFL uses an innovative financial approach called Project Finance for Permanence (PFP). The approach has been used by WWF, national governments and others in three countries. The largest PFP, ARPA for [...]


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State of Play on Negotiations: Will COP23 Meet Ambition?

2017-11-10Fri, 10 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000

(image) Negotiators have just seven days to hammer out crucial details that will ensure the Paris Agreement stays on track to be fully operational by 2020. Specifically, key issues in the rules governing the Paris Agreement's implementation and important discussions about how countries can improve their national climate plans – due to be submitted by 2020 – must be agreed here at COP23.

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Leader of WWF's global climate and energy practice, and president of COP20, said:
"About a week in, we are at a time in the negotiations when the issues on the table, such as pre-2020 action, and loss and damage, are complex but essential to achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Now is the time for the Fijian presidency - and for all of us - to step up and remind ourselves that it has been two years since the world entrusted decision-makers to build a climate safe and resilient future for all. If our ambition was high then, the stakes are even higher now and our collective vision cannot falter."
 
Naoyuki Yamagishi, head of climate and energy, WWF-Japan said:
"By the end of these negotiations, we need to finalize the roadmap for the next year to ensure all actors are ramping up their actions before 2020 and setting the foundations for the global stocktake. The decision negotiators make in the next seven days will largely shape our ability to accelerate action on the scale needed to keep the Paris Agreement's temperature goals in sight."
 
Fernanda Viana De Carvalho, policy manager of WWF's global climate & energy practice, said:
"This round of climate negotiations opened with a clear sense of urgency but this is yet to translate into the results we need to see to stave off the worst impacts of climate change. The next week must yield faster and greater progress on key issues, such as loss and damage, and pre-2020 ambitions, to ensure that 2018 will see countries raise ambition in both the short and the long term."
 
Sandeep Chamling Rai, Senior Advisor on Global Adaptation Policy, WWF-Singapore, said:
"These UN climate talks were always going to be a litmus test for progress on adaptation and loss and damage issues but as negotiations carry on, countries must remember the decisions they take will impact the lives of vulnerable communities and ecosystems for years to come. The world's most vulnerable people are looking to Bonn and countries, developed and developing, need to deliver on their promises and implement the full functions of the Warsaw International Mechanism and operationalization of Global Goal on Adaptation."

To arrange an interview with a WWF climate expert at COP23, please contact:                         
Scott Edwards (WWF-International) | sedwards@wwfint.org | + 44 788 7954 116


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Towards Doubling Tigers in Royal Manas National Park

2017-11-09Thu, 09 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000

A big win for tiger conservation efforts, the population of the endangered cat has doubled in Bhutan's Royal Manas National Park (RMNP) in just 6 years, as per the latest official study of tigers in the area. From only 10 individual tigers in 2010, the number has risen to 22 tigers in 2016, a step toward achieving the global mission of doubling wild tigers by 2022 (the TX2 goal). The study also indicates that RMNP could arguably hold one of the largest contiguous tiger populations in the country. Singye Wangmo, the Officiating RMNP Park Manager, credits the increase to the great teamwork and leadership of the Royal Government of Bhutan to protect the endangered cat and double its population by 2022. "The combined efforts of frontline foresters, strong transboundary collaboration with the Indian counterparts, cooperation by local communities and the unstinting support from the Royal Government of Bhutan and WWF has made it possible in achieving this remarkable feat," Singye said. According to officials, providing protection to the critical tiger habitats and maintaining the ecological and genetic viability of tiger population in RMNP and across Transboundary Manas Conservation Area (TraMCA) is essential in realizing the global conservation goal of doubling tiger population by 2022. "While the protected area is increasingly eulogized for its rich biodiversity, the challenges to the ecological integrity of the landscape are pervasive. Wildlife poaching is emerging as one of the prominent threats to the burgeoning tiger population in RMNP," said Phento Tshering, Director of Bhutan's Department of Forests and Parks Services. "Providing protection to the critical tiger habitats backed by sound ecological knowledge on tiger population dynamics and their prey will be crucial for ensuring their persistence and of other wildlife species." There is indeed much work to be done if tigers are to be saved. Once found in diverse habitats across Asia, the world's wild tiger population has shrunk by over 95 per cent in the last century due to illegal tiger trade, poaching and habitat loss. Today, the world is at risk of losing this iconic species completely, with as few as 3,890 tigers remaining in the wild. "In the face of increasing illegal wildlife trade, habitat loss and human-wildlife conflict, it is imperative that tiger population is scientifically assessed and their trends monitored," said Dechen Dorji, Country Representative of WWF Bhutan. "Linking science with on-ground conservation through such scientific monitoring of tigers is imperative in gauging the success of all of our conservation interventions," he said. Dechen said that a holistic approach to monitoring wildlife population that includes assessment of predator and prey population as well as their habitat are critical elements for effective conservation. Realizing the need to establish proper scientific information on tiger ecology for effective conservation and in ensuring the viability of wild population of priority species, a long term scientific monitoring of tigers in RMNP was initiated since 2011 under the aegis of TraMCA and Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environmental Research (UWICER).  "The joint scientific monitoring of tigers between RMNP and Indian Manas National Park, which also forms the core of TraMCA is a testimony to a successful transboundary conservation effort to safeguard tigers in the wild," said Singye Wangmo, Sr. Forestry Officer and Officiating Park Manager in RMNP. She said that the presence of healthy breeding tiger population linked together with tiger habitats of three other protected areas in Bhutan via Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary, Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park and Jomotsangkha Wildlife Sanctuary, and Manas National Park in India makes RMNP a potential 'source site" for tigers. RMNP is also one of three sites in Bhutan that is piloting the Conservation Assured Tiger Standar[...]


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Bluefin tuna recovery: a ten-year battle may be lost by lack of caution, WWF warns

2017-11-09Thu, 09 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000

Rome – Brussels – The European Union and other fishing nations of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) will discuss a potential drastic increase in the total allowable catch of East Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna at a meeting next week (14-22 November) in Morocco. WWF strongly warns against any rapid increase in fishing quotas that would impair the full recovery of the tuna population.After a struggle of more than 10 years to save and sustainably manage the bluefin tuna threatened stock, the ICCAT scientific committee is suggesting an increase in the total allowable catch up to 36,000 tonnes by 2020 (more than double the 2015 quota), while at the same time declaring that the stock has not yet recovered. The same scientists are also warning that such a catch level would potentially decrease the bluefin tuna population in coming years.  In addition, the European Union is proposing to interrupt the recovery plan, adopted in 2007 and supposed to end in 2022, so 5 years before the original deadline. WWF warns that this will open new negotiations and change management measures, leading to weaker management of the bluefin tuna population."Bluefin tuna stock is not yet ready to support such a rapid increase in catches and would suffer from less strict management. It took us more than ten years to bring bluefin tuna back to our seas, and we cannot lose it again for short-term profit" declared Alessandro Buzzi, Fisheries Projects Manager at WWF Mediterranean."The measures adopted for the recovery of the species are generating very positive results, with bluefin tuna no longer being overfished. We urge governments to build on this success and wait for the complete recovery of the species," he added.WWF recommends a quota of 28,000 tonnes by 2020 to allow the population to continue to grow and calls for a continuation of the recovery plan until the stock is declared recovered by scientists. In addition WWF asks for nations to allocate higher quotas to small-scale fisheries, which have been almost excluded from access to the resource for the last ten years, provided that the current monitoring and control standards are ensured. WWF also warns about the unknown impacts of Illegal Unreported Unregulated (IUU) fishing, suspected to be still prevalent in the Mediterranean. "Rebuilding the bluefin tuna stock was a huge challenge. We need to learn from the past and be patient until the stock has finally recovered. This should happen soon, if we continue to apply best practices."  Notes to editors: Atlantic bluefin tuna is a large predatory fish found in the western and eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea. Most catches are taken from the Mediterranean, and this supports the most important bluefin tuna fishery in the world in terms of amount of catches and quality of fish.The millennial bluefin tuna fishery in the Mediterranean entered a phase of rapid and intense deterioration in the last decade of the 20th Century when the new practice of farming wild-caught tunas multiplied without control to feed mainly the Japanese sushi market. This generated a perverse overfishing spiral, with huge IUU (Illegal Unreported Unregulated) fisheries levels.WWF was the first to warn about this new threat and since 2001 has led an international campaign to avoid the collapse of the bluefin tuna population and to ensure a rational and sustainable fishing activity in the Mediterranean.A recovery plan for the species was adopted by ICCAT in 2007. It sets rules on several management measures among which total allowable catches, fishing season duration, minimum size, by-catch management, recreational fisheries. It also defines measures regarding monitoring and control, reporting of catches, caging and transferring operations.ICCAT is the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, a regional fisheries management organisation (RFMO). Established[...]


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UN climate change talks struggle to deliver strong action on loss and damage

2017-11-08Wed, 08 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000

(image) November 8. Bonn, Germany. On the 4th anniversary of the devastating typhoon Haiyan which struck the Philippines in 2013, three major civil society groups demand the climate talks (COP23) follow through on leaders' promises in the Paris Agreement to protect people and their livelihoods, and ecosystems from increasingly severe climate impacts. The attention to loss and damage has been growing over the years as it has become clearer that it is part of today's climate reality, argues CARE International, WWF and ActionAid. Sea-level rise, glacial melting, ocean acidification, and more intense disasters like typhoons and massive flash floods are taking place today: they are no longer a concern for a distant future. However, an ambitious outcome on loss and damage at the UN climate talks in Bonn is far from certain, as governments discuss the draft of a work plan of the UN loss and damage mechanism and how to consider loss and damage in rules to implement the Paris Agreement.
 
Sven Harmeling, Global Policy Lead Climate Change and Resilience, CARE International said: "Loss and damage from climate change impacts already sets back efforts of the poorest and most vulnerable people, especially women and girls, to overcome poverty. Governments at the climate talks in Bonn should adopt an ambitious work plan. This should identify new funding sources during the next two years that would help poor communities recover from loss and damage and integrate gender considerations across all its activities, which is not the case yet."
 
Sandeep Chamling Rai, Senior Advisor on Global Adaptation Policy, WWF Signapore said: "COP 23 will be a litmus test for progress on loss and damage issues. Countries, especially the developed ones, need to step up on implementing the full functions of the Warsaw International Mechanism, especially on the enhancing action and support, including finance, technology, and capacity-building. The future of the vulnerable communities and ecosystems of the world are in the hands of their country negotiators here: It is time to deliver on their promises."
 
Harjeet Singh, Global Lead on Climate Change, ActionAid said: "Having Fiji as president of this year's climate talks makes the Bonn conference very poignant. The world is looking to them to take this unique opportunity to make vulnerable people safe from the impacts of climate change. Negotiations have now started, and developing countries have put climate impacts at the centre of the talks. Yet so far developed countries have been non-committal in their response.  Fiji, therefore, needs to step up and show courageous leadership in their role as representative of the world's vulnerable people"
 
 
For further information, please contact:
 
CARE International
Camilla Schramek, Communication Officer
cschramek@care.dk or +45 50 22 92 88
 
WWF International
Scott Edwards, COP23 communications manager
sedwards@wwfint.org or +44 78 87 95 41 16
 
ActionAid
Ravneet Ahluwalia, COP23 Media Coordinator
ravneet.ahluwalia@actionaid.org or +44 (0) 7850 312438


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Healthy economies need a healthy Mother Earth

2017-11-03Fri, 03 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000

The economic future of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region looks bright. In recent years, ASEAN has been growing by around 5 per cent a year and the Asian Development Bank estimates that by 2030 nearly half a billion of ASEAN's population will be considered middle class. New International Monetary Fund (IMF) projections put the region on track to becoming the fourth largest economy in the world by 2050. It would be difficult to find a business today that doesn't keep track of these projections and trends in economic health and not be excited about the region's prospects. From New York and Frankfurt to London and Singapore, the rise and fall of each trend are closely scrutinised to capitalise on opportunities and mitigate risks. Yet, few businesses take note of another critical trend that can impact their operations and profits just as much, if not more. The failing health of the planet. We cannot have a prosperous society in a degraded planet and all signs are pointing to human activity driving the planet to the edge, as business and people consume more natural resources than the Earth can regenerate. We cut more trees than can regrow, we catch more fish than can reproduce, we emit more greenhouse gasses than natural systems can absorb. We create materials like plastic that last forever and throw it away after a single use. The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction estimates that in the last 10 years, climate-related disasters have caused USD 1.4 trillion worth of damage worldwide, with the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam among those countries most frequently impacted. Going forward, floods alone could cost Southeast Asia as much as USD 215 billion each year by 2030, according to the World Resources Institute. The latest World Economic Forum's Global Risks report lists climate instability, extreme weather events and water scarcity as major risks faced by business today. The economic contribution of nature is at present largely invisible and unaccounted for,  but the cost of a degraded planet is beginning to hit the economy. In the case of ASEAN today, the region already faces a multitude of transboundary environmental issues such as extreme weather events, haze, freshwater scarcity, and overfishing, along with dwindling forest cover and loss of biodiversity. As intangible as it may seem, loss of biodiversity, is one of the major threats to the health of crucial ecosystems like oceans and forests on whose services our economy, social stability and individual well being depend. As the effects of climate change worsen and our planet's resources and natural systems come under increasing strain, sustainability issues will increasingly hit companies' bottom lines. Businesses that depend on water and commodities are particularly vulnerable. For instance, when asked about supply chain snags with sugarcane, sugar beets and citrus for its fruit juices, Coca-Cola admits that increased droughts, more unpredictable variability, and 100-year floods every two years are major threats. It's clear that companies not only have a responsibility to ensure that the natural resources and ecosystems that underpin their business are used sustainably, but must do so for their own bottom lines and long-term viability. Protecting land, oceans, rivers, forests as well as their biodiversity and communities will mitigate risks in the supply chain and also provide enormous opportunities for businesses willing to invest in the future. This is particularly true in ASEAN. Favourable economic outlooks are a great opportunity for businesses in the region to lead the way toward a long-term approach, rather than obsessing over short-term profits. Now that we are increasingly understanding the finite nature of our planet and the fragility of its natural systems, protecting the environment makes perfect business sense. A study pub[...]


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Process to implement Paris Agreement by 2020 starts in Bonn next week

2017-10-31Tue, 31 Oct 2017 00:00:00 +0000

(image) BONN, Germany (31 October, 2017) – UN climate negotiators meet in Bonn next week to hash out key issues that go to the heart of the implementation of the Paris Agreement - keeping warming below 1.5°C.
 
Close to a year after the landmark treaty's coming into force, member states must make substantive progress on the actual content of the agreement's implementation guidelines in order for it to be fully operational by 2020. They must also launch a process to encourage national governments to increase the ambition of their national targets (NDCs) by 2020.
 
Following the COP decision in Paris to bring non-State actors like business, cities, investors and subnational governments into the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, there will also be a strong focus on their role and achievements, and discussions on how to more effectively integrate them into international and national efforts.
 
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global climate and energy programme, said:
'Recent extreme weather events we have witnessed globally are a stark reminder of what is at stake. In Bonn, we must spark the momentum necessary to accelerate the climate action happening now, and scale up efforts, in line with keeping warming to 1.5°C.
 
'COP23 will be the biggest test yet of the commitment and resolve of Parties to deliver on the Paris Agreement. With the collaboration of non-Party stakeholders, Parties can pass this test by showing ambition and urgency in each of these areas.'
 
Notes to editors:
At COP23, WWF will support the Marrakech Partnership through hosting strategic discussions to advance the Action Agenda and accelerate climate action. Find us at #pandahub in the Bonn Zone, and the programme here www.panda.org/COP23.

Issues that require substantive progress at COP23 are indicated in the WWF expectations paper available here: http://bit.ly/2z5xwhr 

For further information, contact: Mandy Jean Woods mwoods@wwfint.org


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CMS listing not enough to protect sharks

2017-10-29Sun, 29 Oct 2017 00:00:00 +0000

Global shark conservation coalition welcomes new shark listings on UN wildlife treaty, while stressing urgent need for implementation A coalition of leading shark conservation organizations welcomed the decision by Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) to list more sharks and rays on their Appendices, but took the opportunity to stress that follow-up actions to reduce fishing are still lacking for those shark and ray species already listed under the Convention. "WWF and our partners welcome new shark and ray conservation initiatives and appreciate the interests of environmental officials from CMS Parties in conserving vulnerable species," said Ian Campbell, from WWF's Shark and Ray Conservation Programme. "However we must stress that simply putting species on the list is only a first step. CMS listing must be backed up with concrete national and regional actions, which—in the case of sharks and rays—center around mitigating their greatest threat: overfishing." The number of shark and ray species listed on the CMS Appendices increased this week as CMS Parties added three shark species (blue, dusky, and angel) and two rays (white-spotted wedgefish and "common" guitarfish) to CMS Appendix II, the Appendix which commits Parties to cooperate regionally towards their conservation. The angel shark and the Mediterranean population of common guitarfish were also added to Appendix I, a listing which carries an obligation for strict protection. The whale shark was also added to Appendix I after its global population status deteriorated despite a 1999 listing on CMS Appendix II. "We remain hopeful that CMS actions will prompt fishing nations to better protect sharks,  yet dismayed by the persistent disconnect between wildlife and fisheries agencies in many CMS member countries that hinders effective conservation for listed species," said Sonja Fordham, President of Shark Advocates International, a project of The Ocean Foundation. "For example, North Atlantic shortfin mako sharks, listed on CMS Appendix II since 2008, are now headed for collapse due primarily to unregulated landings by vessels from the EU and Morocco—both of which are CMS Parties." WWF, Shark Advocates International, Shark Trust, and the IUCN Shark Specialist Group collaborate, as part of the Global Sharks and Rays Initiative (GSRI), to advance conservation measures for a wide range of imperiled sharks and rays. Some used this week's meeting to highlight the plight of mako sharks for the 30 CMS Parties that are also members of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) as the latter body prepares to consider scientific advice for dramatic mako fishing cutbacks next month. Other GSRI initiatives focus on protecting rays, which the IUCN has pointed out are generally more threatened and less protected than sharks. "We are pleased to see some global recognition of the plight of guitarfishes and wedgefishes, particularly imperiled and under-protected families that the IUCN and GSRI have worked to spotlight in recent years," said Dr. Colin Simpfendorfer, Co-Chair of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group. "At the same time, we remain gravely concerned about highly threatened sawfishes, another family of rays, noting that many range countries still don't protect them despite their 2014 listing on CMS Appendix I." Notes to Editors:CMS is an intergovernmental treaty formed under the United Nations Environment Program. CMS Parties met this week in Manila, Philippines for the 12th Conference of the Parties (CoP). CMS CoPs takes place every three years. CMS Appendix I, reserved for species that are threatened with extinction, obligates CMS Parties (currently numbering 124) to strictly protect the animals, conserve and res[...]


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From Bula to Bonn, accelerating climate action to be in sharp focus at COP23

2017-10-25Wed, 25 Oct 2017 00:00:00 +0000

(image) (BONN, Germany) 25 October 2017 - When the annual United Nations climate change conference gets underway in Bonn in early November, national leaders won't be alone at the table. Businesses, cities, subnational governments and civil society will be on hand to show how their efforts are critical to help achieve the ambitious targets of the 2015 Paris Agreement. 
 
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global climate and energy work, says a redoubling of climate efforts across communities, industries and subnational governments is urgently needed to meet the targets set out in the landmark agreement. "These groups are like the seeds of a Baobab tree. Various initiatives form strong roots on which a sturdy trunk can thrive. We applaud them for leading the charge in responding to the possibilities created by a low-carbon future."

Pulgar-Vidal says it is vital to keep up the momentum for accelerated climate action to ensure a swift shift to a sustainable, low-carbon world. "Individual ambitions can be strengthened through collaboration to identify opportunities for deeper impact and the scaling up of efforts, and I hope that COP23 provides the common ground to do that."

As the world's leading conservation organisation, WWF works with many partners to guide overall action on climate, and ensure innovative partnerships that bring together different sectors with shared goals that advance the implementation of the Paris Agreement. At COP23, WWF will be hosting a number of dialogues, discussions and events at its #PandaHub pavilion. On site, and through the duration of COP, many of these partnerships will showcase the value of cooperation in climate action and discuss specific opportunities for greater ambition and action.
 
Notes for Editors 
  1. The #pandahub is located in the Bonn Zone at COP23, by the Delegation Pavilions. It will be open from 10am – 8pm daily. 
  2. The programme of #pandahub can be found online at the WWF COP23 website here: www.panda.org/cop23. The site will be updated daily ahead of and during COP23 with the latest pavilion schedule and related information.
 
For further information, contact:
Mandy Jean Woods mwoods@wwfint.org  

 


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Central Africa biomonitoring report: Several forest elephant populations close to collapse in Central Africa

2017-10-24Tue, 24 Oct 2017 00:00:00 +0000

Wildlife censuses carried out in four Central African countries have revealed that forest elephant populations have declined by approximately 66 per cent over eight years in an area covering almost 6 million hectares. These declines are attributed to the illegal killing of elephants for their ivory. However, there are indications that lower levels of poaching have occurred within protected areas, underscoring the role of protected areas as safe refuge for wildlife.Douala, Cameroon, October 25, 2017: WWF in collaboration with the respective country ministries in charge of wildlife and various partners conducted the censuses between 2014 and 2016. The inventories were carried out in key protected areas (representing 20 per cent of the survey area) and surrounding zones (logging concessions, hunting areas and other land use types) in Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and Gabon. The censuses focused on forest elephants, great apes (chimpanzees and gorillas) and additional data were collected on levels of human activities.Published in a WWF Central Africa Biomonitoring report, the results indicate an estimated 9,500 forest elephants and 59,000 great apes (weaned, independent individuals) across the survey area.The studies revealed a 66 per cent decline in elephant population between 2008 and 2016 across the landscapes but indicate stable populations of great apes. The figures for elephants are particularly alarming in the Cameroon segment of Tri-national Dja-Odzala-Minkebe (TRIDOM) transboundary conservation landscape where their numbers have declined by more than 70 per cent in less than a decade."Despite these shocking data, we believe that the trends can be reversed if decision makers and wildlife managers make maximum use of these data to guide policies, surveillance plans and strategies to combat wildlife crime," says Dr K. Paul N'GORAN, WWF Biomonitoring Coordinator for Central Africa . "There is a crucial need for the international community to support such actions taken by governments and conservation NGOs in collaboration with local communities," he adds."This is the first time wildlife censuses have been carried out on such a large scale, over a short period of time in Central Africa," states N'GORAN. "The censuses were conducted using standardized line transect technique and analyzed using DISTANCE software, an approach widely applied and recognized for wildlife inventories," N'GORAN adds. Protected areas as wildlife refuge The report showed that industrial-scale poaching for ivory is the biggest driver of the decline of elephant populations in the region. This has pushed elephants to seek refuge inside protected areas. "The inventory results revealed that poaching and other human pressures are higher outside national parks; this pressure is 50 per cent less in national parks than outside," N'GORAN says."While we commend the leaders of the four Congo Basin countries for the progress made in reducing the impact of human activities within protected areas, by working together with communities and organizations present on the ground, continued poaching and failure to secure the migration corridors of elephants in and around these protected areas could lead to the decimation of the remaining populations," N'GORAN says. "This would extend the threat to other species of the rich biodiversity of these countries," he adds.WWF is urging leaders of these four countries to strengthen legislation aimed at curbing poaching. Authorities in these four countries are also encouraged to come together and step up joint cross border monitoring and law enforcement in and around protected areas. We stress the need to work in collaboration with local communities to tackle the complex operations of wildlife crime networks in the Congo Bas[...]


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Declaración de WWF sobre el CPR (Conservación, Protección y Recuperación) de la vaquita

2017-10-11Wed, 11 Oct 2017 00:00:00 +0000

El 12 de octubre el Gobierno de México, con el apoyo de expertos y científicos internacionales, iniciará un esfuerzo sin precedentes para salvar a la vaquita, el mamífero marino más amenazado del mundo. El proyecto, conocido como CPR (Conservación, Protección y Recuperación), busca rescatar a las vaquitas que quedan y reubicarlas temporalmente en un santuario marino en el Alto Golfo de California. El objetivo final es que una vez que haya sido eliminada la principal amenaza para su supervivencia –las redes de enmalle- estos cetáceos regresen a su hábitat natural.WWF apoya al CPR como una estrategia audaz y necesaria, que forma parte de esfuerzos más amplios de conservación para salvar a esta especie, cuya población ha descendido a menos de 30 individuos. "Aunque el CPR enfrenta mucha incertidumbre y es altamente riesgoso, WWF reconoce que es una acción necesaria para salvar a la vaquita de la extinción", dijo Jorge Rickards, Director General de WWF México. "WWF apoya al CPR con el único objetivo de regresar a una población saludable de vaquitas a su entorno natural y, por lo tanto, nuestro principal interés es asegurar un Alto Golfo de California sano y libre de redes de enmalle, en el que la vida silvestre y las comunidades locales puedan prosperar. Tenemos la esperanza de que juntos veamos resultados exitosos tanto en el CPR como en los esfuerzos de conservación en el hábitat de la vaquita".WWF no participará en las actividades del CPR, que incluyen la captura y reubicación de la especie, pues estas labores no forman parte de su área de especialización. Sin embargo continuará apoyando tareas que benefician de forma directa al CPR y a la vaquita en vida silvestre, incluyendo:El monitoreo acústico, crucial para ayudar a localizar a las vaquitas que quedan. Desde 2012, WWF ha apoyado este monitoreo que ha sido operado por el Instituto Nacional de Ecología y Cambio Climático de México (INECC) para ayudar a estimar la población de esta especie y es esencial para medir la efectividad de los esfuerzos de conservación de la vaquita.WWF seguirá participando en el retiro de redes fantasma o abandonadas, muchas de ellas ilegales, que se desplazan sin rumbo fijo y atrapan y matan a vaquitas y a otras especies marinas. Como parte de este esfuerzo, WWF está apoyando el uso de un sonar de barrido que contribuye a detectar más eficientemente las redes fantasma, a fin de asegurar un ambiente libre de redes de enmalle para las vaquitas y los delfines de la Marina de los Estados Unidos que ayudarán a ubicarlas.Tanto el monitoreo acústico como el retiro de redes se llevan a cabo con la ayuda y experiencia de pescadores locales.Notas para los editores:WWF es una de las organizaciones independientes de conservación más grandes y con mayor experiencia en el mundo. WWF nació en 1961 y es conocida por el símbolo del Panda. Actualmente, cuenta con una red mundial que trabaja en más de 100 países. Para saber más de WWF visite: www.wwf.org.mx y www.panda.orgPara mayor información por favor contactar a:Jatziri Perez, WWF México, +52 (55) 26 99 05 91, jperez@wwfmex.orgMonica Echeverria, WWF Estados Unidos, +1 (202) 495 4626, monica.echeverria@wwfus.orgScott Edwards, WWF Internacional, +44 7887 954116, sedwards@wwfint.org[...]


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Artificial nests aim to increase Shy Albatross breeding success

2017-10-09Mon, 09 Oct 2017 00:00:00 +0000

Specially built mudbrick and aerated concrete artificial nests, airlifted on to Bass Strait's Albatross Island in a trial program aimed at increasing the breeding success of the Tasmanian Shy Albatross, appear to have been accepted by the vulnerable sea-birds, early monitoring is showing.       A co-operative effort – which brought together wildlife and funding partners from WWF-Australia with support from the WWF-US Wildlife Adaptation Innovation Fund, the Tasmanian and Australian Governments, CSIRO Marine Climate Impact and the Tasmanian Albatross Fund – saw an air and sea operation that installed 120 of the pre-constructed nests on to the island.  Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment Wildlife Biologist Rachael Alderman said the first post-installation monitoring trip this week has shown that most of the artificial nests are being used by the birds. "This is fantastic to see as the operation was several years in the planning from developing the idea, testing a small number of proto-types, and refining and expanding to this larger study that will enable evaluation of whether this approach can provide a boost to the population. "Albatross lay a single egg each year and they invest enormous energy into incubating the egg and raising the chick. On average, over half the attempts will fail, and one of many factors in this is the nest quality," Dr Alderman said. "Their nests range from a barest scrape on the rocks to a high sculptured pottery-like pedestal. Monitoring data shows that pairs breeding on high quality nests have higher breeding success than those on poorer quality nests. "This trial is based on the simple theory that if ready-made high-quality nests are put in areas where nests are typically of lower quality we increase the chances of albatross pairs successfully raising a chick." Acting Threatened Species Commissioner Sebastian Lang said the Tasmanian Shy Albatross was identified by the Australian Government, through the Threatened Species Prospectus, as an important species in need of action and strong partnerships to assist its survival. "The species is nationally listed as Vulnerable, but is still relatively abundant. We are acting early and working co-operatively to understand the threats to its survival, and trial and implement on-ground actions to address these threats," he said. WWF-Australia's Head of Living Ecosystems Darren Grover said with breeding success key to maintaining viable populations, the nests were seen as an important measure. "If good quality, artificial nests help more chicks survive until they are big enough to fly then over time that could make a real difference to the population," he said. "After several proto-types, the team developed an artificial nest that mimics a good quality real nest. Mr Grover said nest installation was timed to maximise acceptance by the birds. "Researchers positioned the artificial nests just as the birds were starting to stake out nest sites and begin construction. Although it is still very early days it's encouraging to see some birds starting to utilise the artificial nests," he said. "We're hoping to see many eggs hatch and many chicks survive on artificial nests," Mr Grover said. Dr Alderman, who has been monitoring the population for nearly 15 years, said with the Tasmanian Shy Albatross only breeding at three offshore islands near Tasmania, the species was particularly vulnerable to impacts such as climate change. "Already some impacts are being seen with fewer chicks produced in years of higher temperatures or increased rainfall – also there is evidence of birds spen[...]


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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

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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."

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For further information, contact Mandy Jean Woods mwoods@wwfint.org.


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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 mwoods@wwfint.org  


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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. 


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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[...]


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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 distribut[...]


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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 | lmason@wwfint.org | +65 90601842Sana Ahmed | saahmed@wwf.org.pk | +9242111993725[...]


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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 f[...]


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