Dear Colleagues,

We would like to share the exciting news that the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council formally approved the second phase of the  Global Wildlife Program (GWP)  at their meeting in Washington, D.C., last week as part of their  record program t o protect and conserve the global environment by tackling growing threats.

The $82 million grant for our second phase will go towards curbing illegal wildlife trade and promoting wildlife-based economies in  an additional 13 projects in countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America . This grant builds on the initial investment of $131 million approved four years ago to cover projects in 19 countries in Africa and Asia. 
The GEF’s commitment towards recognizing wildlife crime as a serious crime that generates up to $23 billion per year—en par with narcotics, human trafficking, and weapons—will further the global agenda on protecting wildlife and restoring landscapes at a time when the rate of species extinction is accelerating. The  landmark new report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) warns that 1 million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction, many within decades.  WWF’s Living Planet Report 2018 revealed wildlife populations have plummeted 60% since 1970.

“The GEF investment in the Global Wildlife Program is a timely response to the alarming decline in wildlife around the world as recently stated by the UN Biodiversity report. Addressing illegal wildlife trade and promoting nature-based tourism as a revenue generation mechanism to support protected areas and local communities are of paramount importance in the agenda of the GEF.”

–  Gustavo Fonseca, Director of Programs, Global Environment Facility
The second phase of the GWP —with projects in Angola , Bhutan , Belize , Cambodia , Chad , Democratic Republic of Congo , Ecuador , India , Indonesia , Namibia , Madagascar , Panama , and South Africa —will be supported by the United Nations Development Programme ( UNDP ), UN Environment , the World Bank, and the World Wildlife Fund ( WWF ).

The World Bank will continue to lead the global grant that will support projects in implementation through knowledge sharing, coordination and innovation.
“Degrading habitats for wildlife and poaching lead to significant biodiversity loss, threatening the lives and livelihoods of people who depend on them. This is more important for low income countries where nearly half of their total wealth comes from natural capital. Through the Global Wildlife Program, we will now be able to support a greater number of countries in valuing wildlife as an important natural and economic asset, capable of positively impacting local and national economies.”

– Karin Kemper, Senior Director
Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice, World Bank
This global partnership, with a strong collaboration between implementing agencies and governments, will scale up actions necessary to address drivers of biodiversity loss and influence global action in time for the post-2020 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) framework in China. 

The first phase of the GWP has seen countries implement activities well aligned with their National Biodiversity Action Plans. We will continue efforts to combat wildlife poaching and trafficking through transboundary work, protected area management and reducing human-wildlife conflict.
We will also scale up wildlife-based tourism initiatives as a mechanism for revenue generation so that local communities that live near conservation areas receive direct and indirect benefits from conservation-compatible economic development. 

An important focus area will be to address the demand of illegal wildlife products by enhancing regional coordination efforts required to effectively break the illegal wildlife supply chain.
“Wildlife crime has reached worrying levels and threatens the survival of species in the region. We hope that through the GEF grant and by participating in the Global Wildlife Program, we can access the best technology, learning and partners to combat wildlife crime.”

– Faycal Abdel Kerim Gardia
GEF Operational Focal Point of Chad
Collectively, the GWP countries contain global biodiversity hotspots and are countries with immense potential for sustainable development. Our integrated platform will support national governments and development partners to build on action that addresses systemic corruption issues and strengthen governance of natural resources. 

We look forward to keeping you updated on this exciting new phase.

Warm Regards, The GWP Team

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