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Working with USAID

Overview

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Less than 1% of the United States’ federal budget goes to foreign aid

Foreign assistance funding, which includes resources for international conservation, embodies the compassion of the American people and transforms lives around the world. Founded in 1961 under the leadership of President John F. Kennedy, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) recognizes that by investing in the environment abroad, we’re creating a more secure and healthier future here at home.

For decades, WWF and USAID have partnered to launch innovative biodiversity conservation projects that serve as a cornerstone of international development. Protecting vital habitats and working with communities to employ sustainable practices can translate to increased incomes, improved livelihoods, fewer instances of disease and malnutrition, gender equality, and better managed and more accessible natural resources.

And all these benefits make up less than 1% of the US federal budget.

From protecting snow leopards in Asia’s High Mountains to improving women’s access to natural resources in Central Africa, these innovative joint projects have seeded the opportunity for WWF to test measures in order to scale up conservation using a local-to-global approach, linking site conservation to national, regional, and global markets and policy interventions.

Together, WWF and USAID continue to seek new and effective ways to protect nature and integrate social and governance strategies in our actions. 

Preparing communities for the rising risk of flooding in the face of climate change

Flooding is currently the most common natural disaster worldwide, and rising global temperatures will only make it more frequent and severe. WWF has developed an integrated framework for managing floods, giving managers more flexible and effective solutions to prevent or respond to such natural disasters. 

A road ripped apart by a flooding river.

Why It Matters

  • Securing a future for nature

    USAID supports WWF teams on the ground at a variety of project sites in Africa, Asia, and South America. These programs help protect some of the largest and most at-risk natural landscapes, and safeguard vulnerable wildlife for generations to come.

  • Improving livelihoods

    Millions of people around the world depend directly on natural resources for their survival and economic growth. By maintaining and restoring the natural resources that supply fertile soil, clean water, food, and medicine, USAID-funded programs play an important role in helping communities thrive.

  • Celebrating our American identity

    For more than 50 years, USAID has provided assistance to foreign countries to promote social and economic development. This spirit of progress and innovation is a hallmark of our identity as Americans, and helps build a more stable, prosperous world.

What WWF Is Doing

PROTECTING FORESTS IN CENTRAL AFRICA

USAID’s Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE) is working to protect the tropical forest ecosystems of the Congo Basin by promoting sustainable management practices and conservation. As one of a consortium of CARPE partners, WWF works primarily in four landscapes of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to reduce threats to forests and biodiversitysupporting efforts to combat poaching and helping communities grow and generate income while protecting their natural resources.

WWF is working in the Mai Ndombe region of the Democratic Republic of Congo to build community engagement in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, also known as REDD+. Our aim, in collaboration with communities and governments, is

REDUCING THREATS TO WILDLIFE IN NEPAL

Hariyo Ban began as a five-year USAID funded program with the goal of reducing threats to biodiversity and vulnerability to climate change in Nepal. A second five-year phase, also funded by USAID, started recently, with the goal of increased ecosystem and community resilience in the Chitwan-Annapurna Landscape and the Terai Arc Landscape. The program is led by the Government of Nepal and implemented by WWF, CARE Nepal, National Trust for Nature Conservation, and the Federation of Community Forest Users Nepal. Hariyo Ban is one of the country’s largest conservation, development, and climate change programs. The program partners with local community groups, government agencies, NGOs, and the private sector to build capacity and promote strategic approaches for biodiversity conservation, climate mitigation, and adaptation.

CONSERVING SNOW LEOPARDS IN ASIA’S HIGH MOUNTAINS

snow leopard crouching

In October 2012, WWF launched the USAID-funded Conservation and Adaptation in Asia’s High Mountain Landscapes and Communities project to promote conservation of snow leopards and their habitat; improve water security; design and implement community climate resilience strategies; and foster sustainable natural resource management and development at local, national, and regional levels in snow leopard range areas.

By both working in Asia’s high mountain communities and influencing policy that governs natural resource management, we hope to safeguard a future where both people and biodiversity can thrive.

MANAGING FLOODS WITH NATURAL AND NATURE-BASED METHODS

With USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), WWF developed the Natural and Nature-Based Flood Management: A Green Guide (Flood Green Guide) and is currently creating a training curriculum to support local communities around the world, in using natural and nature-based methods for flood risk management. Globally, flooding is the most common disaster risk and that risk is growing with more people in harm’s way as cities grow larger and rainstorms become more intense. Managing floods with a balanced combination of policy, planning, and governance approaches, as well as natural and nature-based methods, can reduce costs while maximizing co-benefits for people and the environment. 

PROMOTING COMMUNITIES AND CONSERVATION

In Namibia, WWF worked with USAID and several local partners on the Living in a Finite Environment (LIFE) Project to establish and promote community-based approaches to wildlife conservation that help local people and wildlife populations. This includes establishing communal conservancies and fostering understanding of the value of a community’s wildlife assets. The LIFE project worked to establish conservancies and build capacity to protect and even reintroduce wildlife species, establish livelihoods such as managing campsites, and make and market crafts. As a result, local residents have more economic opportunities, poaching losses are reduced, and there is greater stewardship of land and wildlife.

WORKING ON TRANSBOUNDARY LANDSCAPES

WWF is working in the Mai Ndombe region of the Democratic Republic of Congo to build community engagement in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, also known as REDD+. Our aim, in collaboration with communities and governments, is

WWF and USAID collaborated in three landscapes to address priority threats and strengthen local capacity to conserve biodiversity as part of the Sustainable Conservation Approaches in Priority Ecosystems (SCAPES) program:

Ruvuma Landscape, Mozambique and Tanzania – WWF teamed up with CARE to unite the two countries on transboundary conservation issues; promote community-based natural resource management; and help communities and governments adapt to climate change.

Eastern Cordillera Real Landscape, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru – WWF engaged with farmers and local conservation officials to create new land-use and development plans that minimized the fragmentation of forests.

Sacred Himalayan Landscape, India and Nepal – WWF and CARE worked with community-based organizations and forest user groups to improve pasture and natural resource management and expand alternative livelihoods, reducing pressure on the landscape.

SAFEGUARDING MARINE RESOURCES IN THE CORAL TRIANGLE

solomon island survey

In 2009, the six governments of the Coral Triangle region committed to safeguard their marine resources and ensure income and food security for the millions of people who depend on them. With funding from USAID, WWF, Conservation International, and The Nature Conservancy worked together to support the governments. This Coral Triangle Support Partnership focused on policy, fisheries management, marine protected areas and climate change adaptation.

Projects

  • Conserving Snow Leopards, Securing Water Resources, and Benefiting Communities

    In October 2012, WWF began a four-year project to conserve snow leopard habitat, promote water security, and help communities prepare for climate change impacts in Central Asia. The USAID-funded, $7.3 million Conservation and Adaptation in Asia’s High Mountain Landscapes and Communities project will conduct field activities in and build alliances among six of the snow leopard’s 12 range countries: Bhutan, India, Nepal, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, and Pakistan. The project will run through September 30, 2016.

  • Human-Wildlife Conflict Mitigation Measures in Nepal

    The most basic needs—for both humans and animals—are food, water and shelter. When basic needs are threatened, conflicts arise. In the high mountains of Asia, WWF seeks to reduce human-wildlife conflict through projects like the USAID-funded Conservation and Adaptation in Asia’s High Mountain Landscapes and Communities.

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