WWF and UNDP join forces in Bhutan to conserve nature and reduce poverty | WWF

WWF and UNDP join forces in Bhutan to conserve nature and reduce poverty

Posted on 30 April 2003
Bhutan's forests and people will benefit from the WWF-UNDP partnership.
© WWF / Anton Fernhout
Thimphu, Bhutan - WWF, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Bhutan today agreed to manage a protected green corridor through the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, one of the first projects in a new UNDP-WWF global partnership designed to combat poverty and environmental degradation.

The management of forest corridors in Bhutan will ensure the long-term conservation of the country's forest and mountain ecosystems, home to the endangered Bengal tiger and other species threatened by overgrazing, poaching, illegal trading, deforestation, and destructive agricultural practices. It will also provide ecologically friendly development opportunities for Bhutanese people through alternative energy sources, improved health services, and cottage industries such as cheese-making, honey production, and non-timber forest products.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF), the world's main funding mechanism for dealing with global environmental threats, will provide US$792,000 for the US$1.8 million project. The rest of the funding will be provided by WWF and the Government of Bhutan. The project will be carried out jointly by the Government of Bhutan, WWF, and UNDP.

"Conserving biodiversity and improving people's livelihoods are inextricably linked and neither can succeed without the other," said UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown. "The opportunity to work with WWF in places such as Bhutan and Nepal is an exciting prospect that will help us achieve the Millennium Development Goal of cutting extreme poverty in half by 2015."

"This partnership is an exciting opportunity for the WWF to work beside our United Nations colleagues on critical issues that affect the health and well-being of billions of people, plants and animals," said Dr Claude Martin, the Director General of WWF.

"As we begin working in Bhutan, and plan joint projects on every continent, we realize that this is a huge responsibility that will leave a lasting legacy for our children." By joining together, UNDP and WWF combine their global networks to help the world'spoorest countries tackle pressing environmental problems, such as deforestation, desertification, climate change, and the spread of toxic chemicals.

The 2 organizations are jointly working on many other projects around the world, including:
  • Nepal: A US$13.1 million biodiversity conservation project in Nepal's Western Terai region aims at linking protected areas with green forest corridors and empowering local communities in managing the forests. A UNDP, WWF, and government partnership establishes habitats/homes for wildlife such as tigers and builds capacity for local communities to fight poverty through alternative livelihood initiatives.
  • Mongolia, Russia, and Kazakhstan: Conservation and sustainable use of biological resources in the Altai Sayan Ecoregion — an area of pristine mountains and forest ecosystems, surrounded by steppes in the north and east and by deserts and semi-deserts in the south and west. Based on a partnership among WWF, UNDP, and regional governments and communities, each participating country is working on a GEF project to conserve its highly important biological resources at a regional scale. The WWF and UNDP offices in each country are collaborating not only at the national level but also at the regional level for the development of the project. In addition to conserving species such as the endangered snow leopard and argali sheep (the world largest sheep), the project will also work with regional governments on a long-term regional development plan to balance development and conservation needs of local populations, particularly the indigenous people in the region.
  • Uganda: Conservation of biodiversity in the Albertine Rift Valley Forest.
  • Philippines: Conservation of the Tubbataha Reef National Park.
  • A wetland project in Pakistan.
  • A mountain ecosystem conservation in Turkey.
  • A green corridor for the lower Danube in Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine.
  • A dry forest conservation in Cambodia.
  • A coastal management project in Vietnam.
  • Coastal forest management in Tanzania.
  • Forest conservation in Cameroon.

For further information:

Trygve Olfarnes, UNDP, New York
Tel: +1 212 906 6606
E-mail: trygve.olfarnes@undp.org

Cherie Hart, UNDP, Bangkok
Tel: +66 2 288 2133
E-mail: cherie.hart@undp.org

Sita Giri, UNDP, Thimpu
Tel: +975 2 322424
E-mail: seeta.giri@undp.org

Lee Poston, WWF US
Tel: +1 202 778 9536
E-mail: lee.poston@wwfus.org

Editor's note:
  • UNDP is the UN’s global development network, advocating for change, and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. It operates in 166 countries, working with them on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. As they develop local capacity, they draw on the people of UNDP and its wide range of partners.
Bhutan's forests and people will benefit from the WWF-UNDP partnership.
© WWF / Anton Fernhout Enlarge