Conservation International (CI) is a US-based international conservation organisation that applies innovations in science, economics, policy and community participation to protect the Earth?s richest regions of plant and animal diversity in the biodiversity hotspots, high-biodiversity wilderness areas as well as important marine regions around the globe. CI?s vision is that we imagine a healthy prosperous world in which societies are forever committed to caring for and valuing nature for the long-term benefit of people and all life on Earth. Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature for the well-being of humanity.
CI is committed to helping societies adopt a more sustainable approach to development ? one that considers and values nature at every turn. Some of the lead programmes with activities underway supporting human well-being and poverty reduction research, implementation, and policy analysis include:
- The Science and Knowledge Division (formerly the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science) brings together leading experts in science and technology to collect and interpret data about biodiversity, develop strategic plans for conservation, and forge partnerships in all sectors that promote conservation goals.
- The Center for Conservation and Government (CCG) assists CI?s government partners in overcoming challenges in balancing conservation with their respective development goals, economic interests, and political realities, helping leaders understand and act on the important issues facing our planet?s ecological health. (www.conservation.org/discover/centers_programs/policy/Pages/default.aspx)
- The Center for Environmental Leadership in Business (CELB) engages the private sector worldwide in creating solutions to critical global environmental problems in which industry plays a defining role (www.celb.org).
- The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) is a joint programme of l'Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank. The fund is a global leader in enabling civil society to participate in and benefit from conserving some of the world's most critical ecosystems. A significant number of CEPF grants have provided the basis for improving incomes and economic well-being of poor communities (www.cepf.net).
- The Conservation Stewards Program (CSP) uses Conservation Agreements to achieve poverty reduction and improve human wellbeing while pursuing measurable conservation outcomes. Conservation Agreements are negotiated arrangements with communities in which development support is provided in exchange for contributions to conservation actions, thus reflecting a direct-incentive approach (www.conservation.org/csp).
- The Food Security Initiative is built upon the organisation?s extensive experience in promoting sustainable rural livelihoods all over the world and leading cutting edge applied research in the field. CI seeks to understand, demonstrate, enhance and leverage the role of nature in helping ensure that people have access to adequate food for a nutritious diet at all times.
- The Indigenous & Traditional Peoples Program is a key component of CI?s new strategy, well-positioned to help achieve CI?s vision for a healthy world and societies committed to caring for nature.
- Verde Ventures provides debt and equity financing to businesses that benefit healthy ecosystems and human well-being, such as agroforestry, ecotourism, sustainable harvest of wild products and marine initiatives. (www.conservation.org/sites/verdeventures/Pages/partnerlanding).
- The Population, Health and Environment programme seeks to reduce human impact and pressure on the limited natural resources in rural, biologically rich important areas and improve local conservation activities. As part of CI?s emerging institutional health security initiative, CI partners with the University of Rhode Island?s Coastal Resources Center and PATH Foundation Philippines, Inc. on the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-supported BALANCED Project (http://Balanced.crc.uri.edu). The Project seeks to improve the well-being of people living in critical watershed and coastal areas who depend on the ecosystem for food, income, livelihoods, and other goods and services.
CI?s scientists, field staff and policy experts are: measuring the contribution of healthy ecosystems to human well-being; assessing the implications of development decisions; putting cutting-edge, rigorously tested information in the hands of decision-makers and the public; and demonstrating through field models how economic opportunity and the stewardship of natural resources can leverage change at an international scale.
CI carries out projects aimed at linking poverty reduction and biodiversity conservation in each of the geographic areas listed below (www.conservation.org/explore/Pages/in_the_field.aspx).
CI has had a long running involvement in great ape conservation and poverty reduction projects in Africa:
? in Liberia, a western chimpanzee range state, they run the ?Green Economy? project to promote low-carbon development. This includes a field project at East Nimba Nature Reserve to demonstrate the value of ecosystem services for local people;
? in DRC CI works on training in conservation biology and supporting the Tayna Gorilla Reserve, a community-run conservation area for eastern lowland gorillas that benefits locals through ?healthcare, education and economic development programmes.? Tayna has been successful, with a radical decline in hunting and mining, and there is now a network of seven new community reserves in the area (UGADEC).