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Dolphins, rhinos, tigers and others to benefit from funding

22 November 2012

Answering the SOS call from the wild: dolphins, rhinos, tigers and others to benefit from more funding

Gland, Switzerland, 22 November 2012 – Flagship species conservation initiative Save Our Species (SOS) is expanding its work with US$ 2.5 million funding for 25 new projects.

Dolphins, dugongs, manatees, gibbons, rhinos, tigers and many other lesser known yet similarly threatened species such as river turtles, Asian crocodiles, flying foxes, myriad freshwater fish and plant species are going to benefit from what will be the second round of species conservation projects within the SOS initiative – a global coalition initiated by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the World Bank.

“The latest injection of US$ 2.5 million doubles the number of active SOS projects but much more needs to be done in the field of species conservation,” says Jean Christophe Vié, Deputy Director of IUCN’s Global Species Programme and SOS Director. “Every year we receive more project proposals than we can possibly fund and the selection process is extremely challenging.

“With more funding available from a broader range of sponsors and donors, we can be much more efficient in addressing the current biodiversity crisis. That is why we are ramping up our efforts in promoting SOS to individuals and companies alike with the possibility to make online donations while also engaging with several progressive industry leaders.”

This announcement comes a few weeks after the meeting of the Convention on Biological Biodiversity in Hyderabad where 193 countries discussed ways of honouring their engagement to preserve the diversity of life. It also follows the publication of a recent report in Science, calculating the cost of improving the status of threatened species until 2020 at approximately US$ 4 billion annually, just 1% of the value of ecosystems being lost every year.

The new SOS projects will be implemented by NGOs across the Americas, Africa and Asia, starting immediately. They will focus on a broad range of species groups that have been assessed by the IUCN Red List, including small marine mammals, freshwater African fish, tropical terrestrial Asian vertebrates and cycads – one of the world’s oldest plant groups. The projects will address conservation needs of some of our most threatened species such as the vaquita, the world’s smallest dolphin which is Critically Endangered in its only home, the Gulf of California or the Javan and Sumatran rhinoceroses, also in urgent need of support and protection.

According to The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, one in three amphibians, one in four mammals and one in eight birds are at risk of extinction in the wild.

Through its species-focus approach, SOS aims to stop biodiversity loss and increase resources for biodiversity conservation. IUCN manages the initiative by channelling resources to fund the best projects undertaken by civil society around the world – projects which are technically sound, well designed, cost effective, have a good chance of success, and which explain conservation in an engaging way to the public. This is achieved by leveraging IUCN’s in-depth knowledge base.

To date SOS projects have worked with more than 150 species listed as threatened on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, positively impacting wildlife as well as local communities.

“We invite everyone who is interested and passionate about protecting the world’s animals and plants to join us and help answer the SOS call from the wild, so that we can do more for the amazing diversity of life on our planet on which our own lives depend so dearly,” says IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre.

Quotes from Donors

1. Dr. Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility says
"With this new and exciting batch of projects, SOS scales up its reach to the front lines of the battle to save globally threatened species," said Dr. Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility. "This is not only a moral agenda, since, by protecting species, we are benefitting people and communities across the globe. While the GEF is still the single largest financial contributor to SOS, we are most impressed by the growing interest of other donors in joining the initiative. This expanded base of support continues the mobilization of resources for the highest priority in the biodiversity field globally -- putting a stop to the extinction crisis."

2. Sari Soderstrom - Sector Manager, Agriculture and Environmental Services Department, The World Bank says
"Species matter to the World Bank’s mission of ending poverty. Millions of people depend daily on the safety net that nature provides. For vulnerable communities, nature helps build resilience against emerging global threats from water scarcity to climate shocks. We welcome the on-the-ground action and results focus that SOS brings and look forward to seeing the benefits from these new projects."

3. François-Xavier Duporge, FFEM Secretary-General, says
“SOS is a great opportunity for Africa and we hope to see more good proposals to support biodiversity conservation challenges faced in this continent”.

More information about SOS Save Our Species and its projects, including the 25 new projects participating in the SOS Threatened Species Grant: http://sospecies.org/sos_projects/new_projects_cfp2/

To subscribe to the SOS Save Our Species newsletter: http://www.sospecies.org/newsletter

About SOS
Established in 2010 SOS – Save Our Species is a joint partnership of IUCN, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the World Bank supported by Nokia and the Fonds français pour l’environnement mondial (FFEM). Its objective is to ensure the long-term survival of threatened species, their habitats and, of course, the people depending on them. With the launch of the 25 new projects, SOS - Save Our Species draws attention to the fact that meaningful change is being realised and will make an impact but that change depends on support from everyone in society, individuals, experts and corporations alike. To save ourselves we must save our species and SOS Save Our Species invites all to answer the SOS call from the wild.
http://www.saveourspecies.org/

About IUCN
IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. IUCN supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world, and brings governments, NGOs, the UN and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice. IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization, with more than 1,000 government and NGO members and almost 11,000 volunteer experts in some 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by over 1,000 staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world. www.iucn.org | IUCN on Facebook | IUCN on Twitter
About the Global Environment Facility
The GEF unites 182 countries in partnership with international institutions, NGOs and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. Today the GEF is the largest funder of projects to improve the global environment. An independent financial organization, the GEF provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants. Since 1991 the GEF has invested $9 billion in grants and leveraged another $40 billion in cofinancing for more than 2600 projects in 165 countries.
www.thegef.org

About World Bank
The World Bank’s mission is to help developing countries and their people to alleviate poverty. The World Bank also addresses global challenges in ways that advance an inclusive and sustainable globalization – that overcomes poverty, enhances growth with care for the environment, and creates individual opportunity and hope. To date, the World Bank is the largest international funding source for biodiversity in developing countries. www.worldbank.org

About the French Global Environment Facility / Fonds Français pour l’environnement mondial As a bilateral public fund initiated by the French government in 1994 the FFEM co-finances projects that encourage the protection of the global environment in developing countries. Its co-financing is exclusively done as donations and is used for the implementation of pilot projects that reconcile environmental protection and economic development in the benefiting countries. The FFEM is an influential strategic instrument for the French policy on development cooperations regarding global environmental protection. Its activities focus on the topics of biodiversity, international waters, the greenhouse effect, land degradation and desertification, persistent organic pollutants and the stratospheric ozone layer. By the end of 2011, the FFEM has co-financed 224 projects with 254 M€. Two thirds were spent on sub-Saharan Africa and the Mediterranean.
www.ffem.fr

ENDS

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