WWF?s mission is to stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment, and to build a future in which people live in harmony with nature; and WWF works with government, private sector and civil society to this end. The WWF Network policy on poverty and conservation defines poverty as encompassing not only physiological deprivation (non-fulfillment of basic needs, lack of income, ill-health, etc.), but also social deprivation and vulnerability (lack of access to natural resources, discrimination, lack of voice and power, gender inequities, etc.). WWF therefore sees its work on poverty as wide-ranging and requiring coordinated action at all levels, from the field to the global policy arena. The policy affirms WWF?s commitment to embrace a pro-poor approach to conservation, to strive to find equitable solutions for people and the environment, and to making special efforts to enable local people to play a key part in crafting solutions for sustainable development.
WWF understands that a healthy, functioning environment is fundamental to people's well-being, and much recent work has focused on improving environmental governance to ensure both positive environmental impacts and the well-being of people, especially poor and marginalised groups. The focus on governance has generated a unique insight into the global challenges we face today, including those of poverty, climate change, consumption, trade and economic growth.
In the past three years an average of £4.43 million pa, approximating to 12% of WWF-UK?s total income, has been provided by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) specifically to tackle poverty and promote sustainable livelihoods through good environmental management.
WWF-UK expressly works to strengthen the role of civil society to ensure good governance and management of natural resources at local and national level in several countries. This has included extending support to many more Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in many countries. Benefits to the poor have included securing/formalising of rights over natural resources, and protection of these resources, empowerment (giving voice to the poor and marginalised) and building of social capita, livelihood diversification, the prevention or reduction of the impact of conflict between people and wildlife, access to services and development opportunities. Poor women have greater influence and involvement in decision-making and in economic opportunities.
Climate change is occurring at an ever-increasing rate and scale, and there is an urgent need for action to reduce both the extent of climate change and vulnerability to its impacts. WWF-UK is supporting initiatives at multiple levels. At the local level WWF-UK is testing and piloting adaptation strategies. WWF-UK is also working with national governments in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Philippines, and South Africa to develop and implement low carbon development pathways with a focus on smart energy generation and consumption. In heavily forested countries such as Brazil and PNG WWF-UK is supporting governments to progress potential opportunities from REDD. For many countries WWF-UK is working with (including vulnerable countries such as Nepal, Belize and Honduras) support is provided to develop adaptation responses. In each case this involves providing technical support, commissioning research, and facilitating dialogues and forums. In some cases work involves strengthening local civil society to participate and respond in national dialogues. At the international level WWF-UK is campaigning to ensure that heads of government and powerful decision-makers commit to climate change agreements that are fair, equitable, binding and based on science. A focus of the work has been on helping both civil society and national governments from vulnerable countries to have a strong voice up to and during UNFCCC negotiations.
WWF-UK is working through partners in the WWF network and beyond to effect sustainable and equitable production, trade and consumption.