Abstract: A new study in Nature Communications today finds that cooperation between competing fishers can boost fish stocks on coral reefs. ​Cooperative Management of Coral Reef Fish Stocks is Critical…
Abstract: A new study in Nature Communications today finds that cooperation between competing fishers can boost fish stocks on coral reefs.
​Cooperative Management of Coral Reef Fish Stocks is Critical for Their Sustainable Use

Arlington, Va. (May 3, 2019) – A new study in Nature Communications today finds that cooperation between competing fishers can boost fish stocks on coral reefs. The study assesses the relationships between competing fishers, the fish species they hunt, and the reefs they depend on.

Dr. Jack​ Kittinger, Senior Director, Global Fisheries and Aquaculture at Conservation International’s Center for Oceans, and a team of authors interviewed 648 fishers and gathered underwater visual data of reef conditions across five reef fishing communities in Kenya.

They found that in the places where fishers communicated frequently with their competitors about fishing gear, locations, and rules that fish flourished in greater numbers and higher quality.

“This is likely because cooperative relationships among those who compete for a shared resource—such as fish—can create opportunities for rivals to seek mutually beneficial activities,” said Kittinger. “These relationships also help to build trust and can enable people to develop commitments to managing resources sustainably.”

“This is why communication is so critical. Developing sustained commitments, such as agreements on rules and setting up conflict resolution mechanisms, are key to local management of reefs,” added Kittinger.

“The relationships between people can have important consequences for the natural environments we depend on,” said Dr. Michele Barnes, lead author from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at James Cook University (JCU). “Our results suggest that when reef fishers—specifically those in competition with one another—communicate and cooperate over local environmental problems, they can improve the condition of coral reefs. This can lead to a better quality and quantity of reef fish.”

Professor Nick Graham, of Lancaster University, added, “Coral reefs globally have been severely degraded by climate change, and the pervasive impacts of poor water quality and heavy fishing pressure. The findings of our study provide important insights on how the condition of reef fish communities can be improved even on the reefs where they are fished.”

“The study demonstrates that the positive effect of communication does not necessarily appear when just anyone in a fishing community communicates – only when fishers competing over the same fish species communicate,” said co-author Dr. Örjan Bodin.

Many millions of people depend on coral reefs around the world. While coral reefs are one of the most productive and biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet, they are also rapidly degrading. This study highlights how cooperative local management is crucial to their sustainable use.

The study also has implications for other environmental problems. It advances a framework that can be applied to other complex environmental problems, where environmental conditions depend on the relationships between people and nature.

“Environmental problems are messy. They often involve multiple, interconnected resources and a lot of different people can be involved – each with their own unique relationship with nature,” said Dr. Barnes.

“Understanding who should cooperate with whom in different contexts and to address different types of environmental problems is becoming increasingly important,” said Dr. Bodin.

Graham said taking an interdisciplinary social–ecological approach to these situations allows for us to “better understand these complex interactions, and how they potentially contribute to important environmental outcomes, such as the amount of fish on a reef.”

About Conservation International
Conservation International uses science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature that people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, Conservation International works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all. Learn more about Conservation International, the groundbreaking  “Nature Is Speaking” campaign and its series of virtual reality projects: “My Africa,”  “Under the Canopy” and “Valen’s Reef.” Follow Conservation International’s work on our Human Nature blog, FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Abstract: Today, Conservation International named Mauricio Bianco vice president of Conservation International-Brazil. Mauricio was as interim leader of the organization in Brazil over the previous year. Arlington, Va. (May 1,…
Abstract: Today, Conservation International named Mauricio Bianco vice president of Conservation International-Brazil. Mauricio was as interim leader of the organization in Brazil over the previous year.
Arlington, Va. (May 1, 2019) – Today, Conservation International named Mauricio Bianco vice president of Conservation International-Brazil. Mauricio was as interim leader of the organization in Brazil over the previous year.

“Brazil has always been tremendously important to Conservation International, not only because of its unparalleled biodiversity and the vast amounts of carbon, fresh water and exquisite coastal areas it houses, but also because of the long history we’ve had in the country,” said Daniela Raik, Senior Vice President of Conservation International’s Americas Division. “While we have achieved many things in Brazil in partnership with government, private sector and civil society groups, there are many challenges to come and important opportunities to take hold of. Mauricio has demonstrated his leadership ability and we are thrilled that he will lead our work in the country.”

During his five-year tenure with Conservation International as Director of Development and Communications, Bianco spearheaded key countrywide and global initiatives. Among them, Amazonia Live; an effort to restore 73 million trees in Amazonia, the Nature is Speaking campaign and the Partnership for Good Development which promotes sustainable agricultural development.

“Over the years, I’ve had the chance to be part of some incredibly important initiatives that create a positive environmental impact here in Brazil and for our planet. I’m excited to step into this role to continue to increase this impact. Brazil is facing a clear threat from the impact of climate change. Now, more than ever, it’s crucial we protect nature,” said Bianco.

Bianco holds a degree in Hospitality and Tourism from the University of Caxias do Sul (UCS), specializing in Strategic Management / Marketing from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) and the Development Program of the Dom Cabral Foundation (FDC).

About Conservation International
Conservation International uses science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature that people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, Conservation International works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all. Learn more about Conservation International, the groundbreaking  “Nature Is Speaking” campaign and its series of virtual reality projects: “My Africa,”  “Under the Canopy” and “Valen’s Reef.” Follow Conservation International’s work on our Human Nature blog, FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Abstract: A new social virtual reality project from Conservation International allows participants to experience the wonders of the ocean – and the plastic pollution that threatens it – from the…
Abstract: A new social virtual reality project from Conservation International allows participants to experience the wonders of the ocean – and the plastic pollution that threatens it – from the viewpoint of marine life.
​Arlington, Va. (April 25, 2019) – A new social virtual reality project from Conservation International allows participants to experience the wonders of the ocean – and the plastic pollution that threatens it – from the viewpoint of marine life. The project,  “Drop in the Ocean,” has been selected to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York from April 25 – May 4.

Narrated by explorers, filmmakers and environmental advocates Philippe and Ashlan Cousteau and built from the photo archive of Academy Award-winning micro-photographer Peter Parks, “Drop in the Ocean” shrinks participants down to about 2 inches tall as they hitch a ride on a jellyfish to encounter the mysteries of the deep ocean and directly experience the plastic pollution crisis as sea life does every day. 

Designed as a 7-minute group interactive VR experience in a custom-built space by New York-based museum design firm Thinc, it brings up to four participants together at a time into an open, physical space, allowing full freedom of movement while creating an atmosphere of shared adventure and knowledge gathering. Renowned British electronic producer Gold Panda composes an original score that captures the emotions of wonder and adventure in the experience.

“The result is a wildly unique voyage, where the secrets of the deep ocean are revealed and human impacts on marine health are felt and confronted, not just seen,” said Philippe Cousteau. “This experience helps participants discover how each of us is linked to this vast and amazing resource. From tiny plankton that provides two out of every three breathes of oxygen we breathe to an enormous whale shark that will amaze you, Drop in the Ocean allows anyone to experience the stunning diversity of our ocean and gain an understanding of why we urgently need to take action to protect it.” added Ashlan Cousteau.

The project was co-produced by Conservation International and Vision3 and made possible with the support of SC Johnson. Vulcan Productions provided additional production support, with in-kind tech support from HP.

The ocean-themed immersive project comes at a time when the world is grappling with a global plastic pollution crisis.  Every minute, the equivalent of a truckload of plastic enters our oceans, endangering marine life of all kinds. The UN estimates that ingestion of plastic kills 1 million marine birds and 100,000 marine animals each year. Scientists predict that the weight of ocean plastics will exceed the combined weight of all of the fish in the seas by 2050.

“Every year, 18 billion pounds of plastic waste ends up in our oceans. Our oceans are drowning in plastic pollution,” said Executive Producer and Conservation International CEO Dr. M. Sanjayan. “While the world is waking up to this global crisis, this project truly helps us to see and feel the impact on all of the ocean’s living creatures. We need to move fast in order to save them and the waters that sustain life on Earth.”

“Such is the scale of plastic pollution in our oceans, that we must come together to face the problem as a massive force. Right from the beginning, we built this project around the principle of shared experience leading to collective activism,” said Creator and Vision3 Co-Founder Adam May. “We want audiences to come together as a team, and leave their lives on the shore behind – to dive deep below the surface to discover a remarkable natural kingdom.”

“The health of our oceans is critical for human life on this planet. We have to figure out a way to stop plastic from leaking into the ocean. I am optimistic we can find solutions if we all work together. This project from Conservation International is another step forward to raise awareness and continue the momentum on this important issue.” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO, SC Johnson.

“Our team is committed to telling stories that bring the magic of the world’s oceans to audiences everywhere, and to making clear there is a role for all of us to play in protecting the ocean’s future,” said Ruth Johnston, General Manager at Vulcan Productions. “Drop in the Ocean is truly unprecedented in its approach, combining beautiful storytelling with cutting edge virtual reality technology. We are proud to work with such trailblazers on this project, and look forward to sharing it around the world.”

Following its premiere at Tribeca Film Festival, “Drop in the Ocean” will debut to the general public at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco in May 2019. Other tour locations are expected to include North America, the United Kingdom, Europe and the Middle East and will be announced later this spring.

“Drop in The Ocean” is Conservation International’s fourth virtual reality project and its first social VR experience, following VR projects “Valen’s Reef,” “Under the Canopy” and most recently “My Africa.” “Drop in The Ocean” builds on Vision3’s exploration in using tactile VR experiences to provoke social impact and follows their 2018 Tribeca Immersive project “My Africa: Elephant Keeper,” also produced with Conservation International.

Additional collaborators for “Drop in the Ocean” include the California Academy of Sciences, Earth Echo, Gold Panda, Mimic, Target 3D and Thinc Design.

Assets for media use:

Project website: https://www.conservation.org/drop

Press kit: https://ci.tandemvault.com/lightboxes/fRL4r5h4z

About Conservation International
Conservation International uses science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature that people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, Conservation International works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all. Learn more about Conservation International, the groundbreaking  “Nature Is Speaking” campaign and its series of virtual reality projects: “My Africa,”  “Under the Canopy” and “Valen’s Reef.” Follow Conservation International’s work on our Human Nature blog, FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

About Vision3
Vision3 are industry leaders in 3D production for Hollywood Feature Films, award winning Natural History large format documentaries, and innovative virtual reality and augmented reality experiences. The London-based company was formed in 2008 and is the recipient of eight Lumiere Awards from the International Advanced Imaging Society, including best Stereography for WB’s “Gravity.” For more, go to vision3.tv.

About SC Johnson
SC Johnson is a family company dedicated to innovative, high-quality products, excellence in the workplace and a long-term commitment to the environment and the communities in which it operates. Based in the USA, the company is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of household cleaning products and products for home storage, air care, pest control and shoe care, as well as professional products. It markets such well-known brands as GLADE®, KIWI®, OFF!®, PLEDGE®, RAID®, SCRUBBING BUBBLES®, SHOUT®, WINDEX® and ZIPLOC® in the U.S. and beyond, with brands marketed outside the U.S. including AUTAN®, BAYGON®, BRISE®, KABIKILLER®, KLEAR®, MR MUSCLE® and RIDSECT®. The 133-year-old company, which generates $10 billion in sales, employs approximately 13,000 people globally and sells products in virtually every country around the world. www.scjohnson.com

About Vulcan Productions
Vulcan Productions believes that storytelling can change the world. The company produces content that informs, inspires, and activates audiences. It builds movements that change behaviors, move policies and shift the trajectories of some of society’s most pressing challenges. Award-winning projects include Sundance Special Jury Award-winner STEP, The Ivory Game, Unseen Enemy, Racing Extinction, Naledi: A Baby Elephant’s Tale, Academy Award®-nominated Body Team 12, Mind of a Giant, We the Economy, We the Voters, Ocean Warriors, #ISurvivedEbola, Girl Rising and The Blues, and emerging media works Ghost Fleet VR, X-Ray Fashion, Drop in the Ocean and Guardians of the Kingdom, and immersive reality experiences for the Holodome at the Museum of Pop Culture: Songs of Infinity: Journey into a Black Hole, Justin Timberlake’s Montana: An Immersive Music Experience, Seattle Seahawks: The Art of the Play, and Death Planet Rescue. Upcoming projects include Ghost Fleet and The Cold Blue. For information on Vulcan Productions and its leadership in generating change through impact storytelling, visit vulcanproductions.com.

Abstract: Conservation International-Guyana today announced the appointment of Damian Fernandes as Executive Director. ​Georgetown, Guyana (April 11, 2019) – Conservation International-Guyana today announced the appointment of Damian Fernandes as Executive…
Abstract: Conservation International-Guyana today announced the appointment of Damian Fernandes as Executive Director.
​Georgetown, Guyana (April 11, 2019) – Conservation International-Guyana today announced the appointment of Damian Fernandes as Executive Director. Fernandes was selected as part of an open recruitment process. He is a graduate of the University of Guyana and has eighteen years of experience working on conservation and community development in Guyana.

Fernandes was the first commissioner of the Protected Areas Commission (PAC) and supported the development of the National Protected Areas System. Most recently, he worked with the North Rupununi District Development Board (NRDDB) and the World Wildlife Fund-Guianas in advocating for integrated land-use planning, conservation, and sustainable development in the Guyana’s North Rupununi Wetlands.

“I am grateful for this opportunity to serve my country, and to build on the efforts of my predecessors,” said Fernandes. “I look forward to joining the dedicated team at Conservation International-Guyana, and to working with our partners as we shape solutions for Guyana’s environmental challenges.”

Former Vice President of Conservation International-Guyana Dr. David Singh said, “I wish to extend my heartiest congratulations to Damian on his appointment. He is the right person to lead Conservation International-Guyana at this time.” 

As the Executive Director, Fernandes will lead the program and guide the implementation of conservation and sustainable development projects within the country.

For media inquiries, please contact Kipp Lanham, Media Relations Manager, Conservation International, at klanham@conservation.org.

About Conservation International
Conservation International uses science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature that people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, Conservation International works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all. Learn more about Conservation International, the groundbreaking “Nature Is Speaking” campaign and its series of virtual reality projects: “My Africa,” “Under the Canopy” and “Valen’s Reef.”  Follow Conservation International’s work on our Human Nature blogFacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.  

Abstract: Today, Conservation International was named a Finalist in the Creativity category of Fast Company's 2019 World Changing Ideas. Awards ​Arlington, Va. (April 8, 2019) – Today, Conservation International was named…
Abstract: Today, Conservation International was named a Finalist in the Creativity category of Fast Company’s 2019 World Changing Ideas. Awards
​Arlington, Va. (April 8, 2019) – Today, Conservation International was named a Finalist in the Creativity category of Fast Company’s 2019 World Changing Ideas Awards for its virtual reality films (“Valen’s Reef”, “Under the Canopy”, and “My Africa”). All of the finalists are highlighted in the May issue of the print magazine, which hits newsstands on April 16th.

Now in its third year, the World Changing Ideas Award showcases 17 winners, more than 200 finalists, and more than 300 honorable mentions, with Health and Wellness, Education, and AI and Data among the most popular categories. A panel of eminent judges selected winners and finalists from a pool of more than 2,000 entries, such as Food, Energy, and Developing World technology. The 2019 awards featured entries from across the globe, from New Zealand to Shanghai to Switzerland.

“To receive this acknowledgement among other innovative organizations with such transformative ideas, especially after such a competitive submission field, is truly affirming,” said Conservation International Chief Marketing Officer Anastasia Khoo. “It empowers us to continue to share these stories of where we work in the world to affect positive change, where people and nature can thrive together.”

About Conservation International
Conservation International uses science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature that people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, Conservation International works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all. Learn more about Conservation International, the groundbreaking  “Nature Is Speaking” campaign and its series of virtual reality projects: “My Africa,”  “Under the Canopy” and “Valen’s Reef.” Follow Conservation International’s work on our Human Nature blog, FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

About the World Changing Ideas Awards
World Changing Ideas is one of Fast Company’s major annual awards programs and is focused on social good, seeking to elevate finished products and brave concepts that make the world better. A panel of judges from across sectors choose winners, finalists, and honorable mentions based on feasibility and the potential for impact. With a goal of awarding ingenuity and fostering innovation, Fast Company draws attention to ideas with great potential and helps them expand their reach to inspire more people to start working on solving the problems that affect us all.

Abstract: Conservation International today announced the Ecuador Azul fund, a $6 million endowment fund supporting the conservation, management, and long-term sustainability of Ecuador's marine protected areas (MPAs). ​Arlington, Va. (March…
Abstract: Conservation International today announced the Ecuador Azul fund, a $6 million endowment fund supporting the conservation, management, and long-term sustainability of Ecuador’s marine protected areas (MPAs).
​Arlington, Va. (March 29, 2019) – Conservation International today announced the Ecuador Azul fund, a $6 million endowment fund supporting the conservation, management, and long-term sustainability of Ecuador’s marine protected areas (MPAs).

Ecuador Azul will initially fund five MPAs spanning nearly 200,000 hectares (494,211 acres) of diverse marine, coastal, and estuarine ecosystems that comprise Ecuador’s Marine and Coastal Protected Areas Network. The five MPAS include: Galera-San Francisco Marine Reserve, Pacoche Marine Coastal Wildlife Refuge, Machalilla National Park, Puntilla Santa Elena Marine Coastal Fauna Production Reserve, and Manglares El Morro Wildlife Refuge. These areas contain a range of biodiversity, from the world’s largest cluster of manta rays to one of the most extensive mangrove areas along the Pacific coast.

“Since 2005, Conservation International Ecuador has helped the Ministry of Environment create seven MPAs, including four of the five that will initially receive resources from Ecuador Azul,” said Luis Suarez, Vice President and Executive Director of Conservation International-Ecuador. “The long-term goal is to have a solid financial mechanism to guarantee the effective management of all of Ecuador’s MPAs, including new ones that Ecuador establishes, and to continue our efforts of conservation and sustainable development in this wonderful mega-diverse country.”

Managed by Ecuador’s Fondo de Inversión Ambiental Sostenible/Sustainable Environmental Investment Fund (FIAS), Ecuador Azul will complement existing public funds deployed from the Ecuadorian government and managed by FIAS, including the Protected Areas Fund (FAP), an endowment fund designed to support Ecuador’s National System of Protected Areas.

“The FAP provides a steady stream of financial support for Ecuadorian protected areas, but only 41 percent of the nation’s MPAs have access to this funding source,” said Ana Albán, executive director of FIAS. “Due to the pressure of human activities and limited investments in these areas in past decades, additional contributions are necessary to improve effective management and conservation in the MPAs.”

Ecuador’s MPAs are not alone in this struggle. A 2017 study published in the journal Nature—by authors including two Conservation International scientists—found that MPAs need adequate
money and staff to reach their full potential.

“We are thrilled that an organization like Conservation International recognizes the importance of channeling much-needed financial assistance to Ecuador’s MPAs to ensure these spectacular natural areas thrive for generations to come,” said Albán.

The annual interest generated by the endowment fund will help to finance implementation of management plans for the five MPAs and cover some operational and monitoring costs.

The principal donor to Ecuador Azul is the Walton Family Foundation. Also, financial support comes from the Global Environment Facility, through a grant from Conservation International as the GEF partner agency of the project “Implementation of the Strategic Plan of Ecuador Mainland Marine and Coastal Protected Areas Network.”

“The Ecuador Azul fund is a testament to the commitment of the Ecuadorian government to ensure the long-term sustainability and management of its marine protected areas,” said Renu Saini, Environment Program Officer at the Walton Family Foundation. “It is truly humbling to see our investment come full cycle and know that these precious areas will be protected in perpetuity.”

“We are pleased to continue our long-standing support of Ecuador’s protected area system through the expanded coverage of the MPA network and the critical sustainable financing needed for effective MPA management,” said Gustavo Fonseca, Global Environment Facility Director of Programs. “We know that effective management is the key to protecting these areas that are important for biodiversity, which will also increase fish stocks in surrounding areas.”

About Conservation International
Conservation International uses science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature that people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, Conservation International works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all. Learn more about Conservation International, the groundbreaking “Nature Is Speaking” campaign and its series of virtual reality projects: “My Africa”“Under the Canopy” and “Valen’s Reef.” Follow Conservation International’s work on our Human Nature blogFacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.  

Abstract: Conservation International released the following statement from Senior Vice President of Global Policy and Government Relations James Roth on the introduction of H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act…
Abstract: Conservation International released the following statement from Senior Vice President of Global Policy and Government Relations James Roth on the introduction of H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act
​Bill Seeks to Return U.S. to the Paris Agreement

Arlington, Va. (March 27, 2019) – Conservation International released the following statement from Senior Vice President of Global Policy and Government Relations James Roth on the introduction of H.R. 9,  the Climate Action Now Act:

We agree with the Climate Action Now Act’s goal of having the United States comply with the Paris Agreement. Preventing further climate change will take leadership that transcends global borders and party lines. We applaud these important steps and will continue working with all walks of life, nature and wildlife included—because nature is 30 percent of the solution—to take further climate action, forward.

For more information or to arrange an interview:

Salma Bahramy
Director of Media Relations​
+1-917-543-7211
sbahramy@conservation.org

About Conservation International
Conservation International uses science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature that people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, Conservation International works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all. Learn more about Conservation International, the groundbreaking “Nature Is Speaking” campaign and its series of virtual reality projects: “My Africa”“Under the Canopy” and “Valen’s Reef.” Follow Conservation International’s work on our Human Nature blogFacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.  

Abstract: A world first legal framework to drive the sustainable development and conservation of one the most biodiverse regions on Earth ​Manokwari, West Papua, Indonesia – On March 20, the West…
Abstract: A world first legal framework to drive the sustainable development and conservation of one the most biodiverse regions on Earth

​Manokwari, West Papua, Indonesia – On March 20, the West Papua parliament approved legislation that will make West Papua the country’s first-ever conservation province. The newly established West Papua Conservation Province is based on a first of its kind legal framework that puts sustainable development and conservation at the forefront of any economic activity or development.  

The West Papua Conservation Province will protect the most intact marine and terrestrial ecosystems remaining in Indonesia, promote the development of sustainable livelihoods, and recognize the rights of indigenous peoples. The legislation comes three years after West Papua first declared​ it would set out to become a conservation province and is a significant shift in moving towards more sustainable development.

The Chairperson of the West Papua Regional Representative Council Pieter Kodjol said,  “The special regional regulation on sustainable development is to ensure that development in West Papua is carried out in accordance with environmental rules while ensuring community well-being.”

“In vital biodiverse places like West Papua, the stakes are high and the margin for error slim, so reconciling development and conservation is something we must get right. Now the world can look to West Papua for a new global standard. This legislation helps demonstrate that protecting Earth’s ecosystems unlocks value for sustainable development and livelihoods. It’s a blueprint for development and conservation that benefits everyone on Earth,”  said Jennifer Morris, president of Conservation International.

“Thanks to everyone involved, included our Conservation International West Papua Team, this breakthrough policy shows we can rise to the challenges of our time,” Morris continued. “To the West Papuan Regional Government, Governor Dominggus Mandacan, and staff, thank you—for acting now and for the work to come. We are inspired by your vision and look forward to working with you to make it a reality.”

Launched by the West Papua Government, the new policy brings together communities, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academics to define a path for sustainable development. The policy sets a governmental framework that favors economic development, community welfare, and the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services to people, including the sustainable management of natural resources.

A key part of the new policy includes the empowerment of Papuans through the protection of  natural resource rights and provision of equitable and sustainable development. Home to 870,000 people, 80% of Papuans live rurally and rely on nature for their livelihoods.

West Papua, located in the Bird’s Head Seascape, is one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth, home to more than 1,800 species of fish, three quarters of the world’s hard corals, and to this day new species are found regularly. With 90% forest cover, it holds the world’s second largest rainforest, much of which remains unexplored. The 120,777 km2 province also holds the world’s largest mangrove forest and significant peatlands, habitats which hold four times the amount of carbon than the average terrestrial forest and are essential to combatting climate change.

Available content for media (***Please Provide Image Credits***)
Photographs Available at:  http://ci.tandemvault.com/lightboxes/nVYbY3mGi?t=5aJxA37zz

For more information, contact:
Emmeline Johansen, Communications Director, Conservation International |
Mobile +64 4 277 793 401 | Email: ejohansen@conservation.org  ​

About Conservation International
Conservation International uses science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature that people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, Conservation International works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all. Learn more about Conservation International, the groundbreaking “Nature Is Speaking” campaign and its series of virtual reality projects: “My Africa”“Under the Canopy”and “Valen’s Reef.” Follow Conservation International’s work on our Human Nature blogFacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.  ​ 

​Arlington, Va. (March 15, 2019) – The Government of Liberia in partnership with the Embassy of Sweden in Monrovia and Conservation International is holding the Blue Oceans Conference in Monrovia…
​Arlington, Va. (March 15, 2019) – The Government of Liberia in partnership with the Embassy of Sweden in Monrovia and Conservation International is holding the Blue Oceans Conference in Monrovia from March 18 – 21, 2019. This is the first marine conference in West Africa, representing a historic moment for the country.

“This conference provides a platform to identify ground-breaking solutions to ensure the sustainable management of our ecosystem. Protecting our beaches, coastal and marine resources are key to our survival as a nation and its in direct alignment with Liberia National Development Agenda; the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development there is no time for excuses,” said Nathaniel Blama, the Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, speaking on behalf of the government’s Steering Committee which he chairs along with  Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA) and the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA).

Focusing on the themes of marine pollution, climate change, sustainable fishing, and the sustainable use of the ocean for economic growth (the “blue economy”), the conference will identify innovative solutions for ensuring the long-term sustainability of Africa’s marine environment and reversing the decline in the health of the ocean for people, the planet and prosperity.

The ocean has a large depository of plastic debris and other pollutants including riverine discharges, agricultural, sediment, solid waste and agricultural run-offs. In addition, coastal and marine habitats and resources are under threat from pollution, over-harvesting of resources, inappropriate development in the coastal zone, and poor inland and land-based management.

Most Liberia’s population lives within 30 miles of the coast where they are increasingly vulnerable to climate change. Challenges associated with climate change and ocean acidification require enhanced vulnerability and impact assessments, mitigation and adaptation plans, resilience building and disaster risk reduction strategies.

The conference aims to build on the impact being made and increase the likelihood of furthering the policies needed to address climate change.​

West Africa is rich in marine resources but often much of the potential benefits from fisheries do not flow back into the region.

The call for a “Blue Economy” portion of the conference will focus on the decoupling of socio-economic development from environmental degradation. Two particularly significant pieces of current and future blue economic growth across in Liberia are tourism and shipping.

The conference comes at a time when Liberia is looking to diversify its economy for broader growth.

“Building off the momentum of the conferences in both New York and Nairobi, we are excited to take the conversation forward and look at practical next steps for West Africa’s ocean conservation. This is a major opportunity for Liberia to join global efforts to conserve our oceans,” said Conservation International Liberia Country Director Jessica Donovan.

About Conservation International
Conservation International uses science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature that people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, Conservation International works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all. Learn more about Conservation International, the groundbreaking “Nature Is Speaking” campaign and its series of virtual reality projects: “My Africa”“Under the Canopy”and “Valen’s Reef.” Follow Conservation International’s work on our Human Nature blogFacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.  

​London, UK (February 18, 2019) – Today, Conservation International joins a global partnership between the Global Environment Facility, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Environment Programme, the United…
​London, UK (February 18, 2019) – Today, Conservation International joins a global partnership between the Global Environment Facility, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization,  and the governments of Burkina Faso, Colombia, Guyana, Indonesia, Kenya, Mongolia, the Philippines and Peru to improve conditions for artisanal miners while slashing harmful mercury emissions.

The new, five-year $180-million program is led by the Global Environment Facility-backed Global Opportunities for the Long-term Development of the ASGM Sector (GEF GOLD) and aims to reduce the use of mercury in artisanal gold mining and introduce and facilitate access to mercury-free extraction methods, while also working with governments to formalize the sector, promoting miners rights, safety and their access to markets.

Urgent action is needed to protect millions of men, women and children exposed to toxic levels of mercury through gold production every year, according to the backers of the new $180-million program to reform the artisanal and small-scale mining sector.

“From smartphones to wedding rings, gold passes through all of our hands every day. But for most of us the source of that gold, and its real cost, remains a mystery,” Gustavo Fonseca, GEF Director of Programs, said.

“Introducing safe, mercury-free technologies into the ASGM sector will help provide a safe transition to job formality and dignified work for millions, while putting an end to the environmental impacts that can pave the way to sustainably produced gold.”

“Mercury is not necessary to mine and process gold. In the developed world, mercury has not been widely used in gold production for a century. By improving small-scale gold mining in the developing world, we can improve the health of people and preserve Nature that provides us so much. That means mining in the right places and in the right ways. It means professionalizing practices to not only protect human health and the environment, but to create better returns for mining communities. With the support of the Global Environment Facility, and in close consultation with the government, we are doing exactly this in Guyana,” said Dr. M. Sanjayan, CEO, Conservation International.

Every year, more than 2,700 tons of gold is mined around the world. Twenty percent of that – over 500 tons annually – is produced by artisanal and small-scale miners. These miners and processors, the majority of them in developing countries, work in often harsh conditions, without the protection of industry regulations on pay, health or safety, to sate the global hunger for gold for jewelry, investment and consumer products.

With many miners relying on toxic, mercury-based extraction methods, the ASGM sector is also the world’s single largest source of man-made mercury emissions, releasing as much as 1,000 tons of mercury (almost 40 percent of the global total) into the atmosphere every year.

“By phasing out mercury use and connecting miners to markets for responsibly produced and sourced minerals, GEF GOLD will help to ensure the gold value chain both supports miners and provides consumers with access to ethically produced, environmentally sustainable gold,” Jacob Duer, Head of the UN Environment Chemicals and Health branch said.

“Promoting and facilitating access to non-mercury processing techniques for artisanal and small-scale miners is vital – not only to reduce mercury emissions, but to protect the health of vulnerable communities.”

Studies indicate that mercury exposure in artisanal and small-scale miners is a major, largely neglected global health problem – putting miners and their communities at risk of impacts from permanent brain damage to seizures, vision and hearing loss, and delayed childhood development.

As many as 15 million people work in the ASGM sector globally – including 4.5 million women and over 600,000 children. While ASGM represents a development opportunity for rural populations, who often have few livelihood alternatives, miners operate on the edges of legality in many countries, with ASGM either banned outright or limited by legislation and licensing procedures designed primarily for large-scale operations.

By supporting the regulatory and policy reforms needed to formalize the work of artisanal and small-scale miners across the eight program countries, GEF GOLD aims to secure miners’ livelihoods, through opening up the access to markets and finance needed to increase incomes and enable the uptake of mercury-free technology. By phasing out mercury use, the program aims to achieve eventual mercury emission reductions of 369 tons, supporting countries’ commitments under the Minamata Convention on Mercury to reduce and, where feasible, eliminate mercury use in the sector.

Alongside working directly with artisanal and small-scale miners and national authorities, the GEF GOLD program will work with the private sector across industries and partners including the Better Gold Initiative, Alliance for Responsible Mining and Fairtrade International to promote compliance with international standards on responsible mineral supply chains.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Images available at: https://bit.ly/2Gq3BoI

Additional quotes:

UN Environment:

“Mercury emissions impact health and ecosystems, contaminating the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. This is a long-term problem we need to confront now. Joint initiatives like GEF GOLD demonstrate that when we unite for environmental action we can protect community health, provide livelihoods to those most in need, and save the planet.”

Joyce Msuya, Acting Executive Director, UN Environment

UNDP:

“Transforming the extremely harmful practice of using mercury in the artisanal and small scale gold mining is essential to protect human health and ecosystems. GEF GOLD is a flagship initiative designed to tackle the global concern on mercury emissions. About 1.14 million people are engaged in ASGM in Colombia, Indonesia, Kenya, and Peru. As part of GEF GOLD, UNDP will support the adoption of sound mining practices in these countries through strengthening institutions, policy and regulation framework, increasing the access to mercury-free technologies, disseminating best practices, rising awareness and sharing information. These package of interventions will contribute to poverty alleviation, addressing inequality, and improving the health and livelihoods of vulnerable communities engaged in ASGM.”

Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

UNIDO:

“The widespread use of mercury in the artisanal and small-scale sector affects the environment and people, particularly in developing countries. UNIDO is proud to be a part of the GEF GOLD programme, which supports innovative and viable solutions focusing on formalization, access to markets and finances, mercury free technologies and awareness raising. UNIDO will be working in Burkina Faso, and jointly with UNEP in Mongolia and the Philippines, with the aim of providing sustainable livelihood for the miners and their communities.”

Philippe Scholtès, Managing Director of Programme Development and Technical Cooperation, UNIDO

About Conservation International
Conservation International uses science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature that people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, Conservation International works in more
than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all. Learn more about Conservation International, the groundbreaking “Nature Is Speaking” campaign and its series of virtual reality projects: “My Africa,”  “Under the Canopy” and “Valen’s Reef.”  Follow Conservation International’s work on our Human Nature blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube

About the Global Environment Facility
The Global Environment Facility was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to help tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems. Since then, the GEF has provided over $17.9 billion in grants and mobilized an additional $93.2 billion in co-financing for more than 4500 projects in 170 countries. Today, the GEF is an international partnership of 183 countries, international institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector that addresses global environmental issues.

 

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