Social Development for Conservation

Growing population combined with rising economic growth and consumption is leading to degradation of the ecosystem, loss of biodiversity and poor governance of natural resources. WWF is committed to address these issues and ensure that its interventions help change and improve conditions on the ground.

In a changing and increasingly complex economic scenario, gaps in wealth and social exclusion are increasing, and local social conflicts over natural resources are on the rise. These challenges together with growing uncertainties call for new ways to think, engage and work for conservation. A deeper understanding of the links between development, economic and social issues, and conservation interventions is the need of the hour. It is crucial to take political, economic, and financial dimensions in more systematic ways in order to help transform natural resource governance, production and consumption towards sustainability and equity.

WWF recognizes the need to embrace socioeconomic, well-being and rights issues as an integral part of its environmental agenda and works on innovative frameworks for conservation. It is crucial to ensure that equity, governance, and human rights are appropriately addressed.

WWF has endorsed and adopted key social policies and policy statements (Indigenous Peoples and Conservation, 2007; Poverty and Conservation 2009; The Conservation and Human Rights Framework 2010; Gender 2011), which are mandated to all offices, programmes, and Global Initiatives. The policies which have greatly advanced its notion and commitment to integrating social and development dimensions in conservation.

Social Development for Conservation (SD4C), founded in 2009, is a network of WWF experts working in various capacities in offices around the world trying to bring coherence and convergence to WWF’s social and development work, finalize the remaining social policies and mainstream them in offices, programmes and Global Initiatives.

These are some of the priority issues and areas of intervention identified by offices in the Asia Pacific Regional Network:
  • Food/Water/Energy security for resource dependent and vulnerable communities.
  • FPIC and social safeguards.
  • Regional and global advocacy processes (CBD, Post-2015 agenda and SDGs).
  • Equitable access to natural resources, environmental governance, sustainable and customary land use.
  • Engagement with civil society and building larger constituencies in support of sustainable development.
  • Social impact and well-being indicators, better social and economic measures.
  • Social dimensions of Green Economies, building resilient rural economies.
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