Beyond Polarization, to Solutions for People and the Planet

Aug 2, 2017

At RESOLVE we’ve been thinking along with many of you about the challenges we face and constructive responses.

Today, we operate in a world defined by polarization and conflict rather than collaborative solutions and constructive compromise. At a political level, in a number of jurisdictions, elected officials are rewarded for obstruction and confrontation rather than stewardship and good governance. This is exacerbated by the tendency toward media echo chambers, the politicization of science and facts, the proliferation of fake news (I mean actual fake news as opposed to fake, fake news), and attacks on legitimate news sources. This coarsens our civic space, narrows the political commons, and promotes an ethos of mistrust. Those who would benefit from rational policy and pragmatic solutions suffer.

While the challenges are daunting, I’m optimistic about what’s next, particularly if we can create new leverage together, strengthen cross-sector partnerships, and show a willingness to take risks.

I’m optimistic because I see the progress underway with our partners in Sierra Leone promoting post-Ebola sustainable development (https://goo.gl/SyaC97); mining companies contributing to green energy development (https://goo.gl/K4Kd75); developers and indigenous communities making better agreements (https://goo.gl/ehH8tr); and a new program to help replace lead service lines to homes across the U.S., including in rural communities (https://goo.gl/KQ2Zxt). Each of these efforts is based on cross-sector partnerships that help us get beyond polarization.

We see risks and opportunities for our partners in civil society and leading businesses; risks include:

  • Weakened government capacity in key jurisdictions may result in less willingness or capacity to protect civic space. We may see an erosion of the rule of law. Targeting of opponents has the potential to deepen and intensify conflicts.
  •  A turn away from evidence-based policy-making could accelerate, leading to worsening health and environmental outcomes, including defunding of key programs for natural resource and health planning.
  •  Decision making for major natural resource projects could slow or stall as effective stakeholder engagement is deprioritized and government capacity weakens. This could increase risks for large-scale multijurisdictional projects, including major infrastructure projects. Investors may seek to “wait-out” a period when project risk is on the rise.
  • The backlash against the role of the private sector as an “agent for progress” is real and could intensify, due to perceptions that even global brands are fostering economic disparities. Corporate social responsibility strategies – those fashioned for a different era – may fail to deliver desired results. Despite this backlash, many in civil society and communities will look for corporations to lead as government action falters.
  • In some cases civil society organizations, seen as credible intermediaries, are able to fill voids left by government, often with support from donors and corporations. However, this role has the potential to foster a polarizing backlash, particularly with regard to charged political issues such as climate, family planning, and others.

In this climate we have work to do together:

  • Defending the space for those with different perspectives and experiences to explore productive solutions.
  • Helping our partners, especially those in other sectors, navigate these uncertain waters.
  • Doubling-down on what we know works –partnerships, collaboration, and informed, constructive compromise (yes, compromise!) to achieve policy solutions and voluntary agreements, and implement good practices.
  • Pushing back (smartly) against efforts to delegitimize institutions, attack civic norms, or target vulnerable or under-represented populations.
  • Stepping up to amplify constructive voices and actions and look out over the horizon, creatively and with confidence.
  • Undertaking innovative, forward-looking activities that point to solutions and create hope, like ReGrow West Africa, Nature Needs Half (https://goo.gl/IMORzm), and improving end-of-life care (https://goo.gl/t2HuX6).
  • Supporting corporate and civil society leadership, recognizing that we may be entering an era where constructive, collaborative CEO activism is essential and rewarded (https://goo.gl/nUyHGS).

Since RESOLVE’s founding in 1977, we have seen leaders in non-governmental organizations, communities, and companies advance the art and craft of effective engagement. They have built unlikely or unexpected partnerships, leading to new, innovative, and impactful solutions. The hard work of these collaborative leaders and their willingness to reach across divides, both real and perceived, made the world a better place. We will draw on these leaders—their experiences, skills, and wisdom are now invaluable. They are our navigators.

 - Stephen D’Esposito

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ReGrow is Underway, Supporting Post-Ebola Economic Recovery in Sierra Leone

May 3, 2017

Sierra Leone is a country that has been blessed with potential, but potential that we have all too often failed to realize. When I returned in 2009, Sierra Leone was poised to embark upon the greatest period of economic growth in its history. Sadly, that promise was crushed by the twin evils of Ebola and the worldwide downturn in commodity prices, bringing with them thousands of deaths and economic collapse.

Sierra Leoneans are a resilient people. In the 55 years of our independence, we have weathered many storms, and we will weather this one. But if we are to deliver on our potential, we must learn from our travails. Our country is not incapable of producing world beating businesses. Choithrams, a global trading company with a presence in Europe, the Americas and Asia, was born in Sierra Leone. We are not short of entrepreneurs. Anybody driving our streets can testify to the entrepreneurial zeal of our people. What is lacking is a middle; both a middle class and the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that, in developed countries, typically contribute up to 50% of GDP and 60% of employment. People and businesses committed to the country, with the potential to grow, to employ, feed, clothe and educate our populace – and with the will and resources to sustain themselves even when the going gets tough.

The ReGrow programme, funded by Chevron and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) seeks to help develop this middle. Working with the internationally-renowned non-governmental organization Cordaid, we will harness the potential of our entrepreneurs, providing free Resilient Business Development Services to 25 carefully selected SMEs who, on completion of their training, may be supported by loans from the specially created ReGrow Revolving Loan Fund to help them sustain and grow their businesses. In partnership with Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA), we will identify investment opportunities to showcase on the ReGrow Marketplace, a portal which will be developed by ReGrow, and hosted within the SLIEPA website. Larger scale sectorial opportunities will be highlighted in the international Convergence platform. ReGrow on its own will not change the economic landscape of Sierra Leone, but it is our hope that we will serve as a catalyst for that necessary change.

RESOLVE and USAID held a launch event for ReGrow at the US Embassy in Sierra Leone on January 15, 2017. Thereafter, RESOLVE established its ReGrow implementation infrastructure in Sierra Leone and began organizing all of the necessary implementation partnerships. By April 15, 2017 RESOLVE expects to initiate Stage-1 of its SME Support, starting with recruitment and due diligence of SMEs. At the same time, RESOLVE also expects to begin working with SLIEPA and other partners to design and develop the ReGrow Marketplace and will commence planning and promoting an impact investment training seminar and workshop.

 

Sheka Forna, Strategic Partner, RESOLVE

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Hobby Drones, Re-Purposed as Peacekeepers, Save Elephants and Protect Communities and Livelihoods | RESOLVE’s Nathan Hahn Tells the Story on PBS

May 1, 2017

SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK, Tanzania – Today, PBS reported on the success of RESOLVE’s project, with the Tanzanian Wildlife Research Institute and the Mara Elephant Project, using hobby drones to prevent human-wildlife conflict near the Tarangire and Serengeti National Parks in Tanzania.

Check out this link on PBS, or watch the YouTube video below.

Nathan Hahn, a researcher with RESOLVE’s Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions Program, is featured in the PBS story. The research team worked hard to make the case that drones could serve as peacekeepers. “We’ve stressed the importance of data collection throughout this project. There is sometimes a tendency to overstate the power of new technologies, and we wanted to fairly assess the utility of the drones for moving elephants out of crops and other areas. The results are positive and show that UAVs can be an effective, flexible way for wildlife managers to deal with human-elephant conflict.”

We recognized drones as a possible new tool to prevent human-elephant conflict, but realized more testing was required before drones could be proclaimed a safe solution for both wildlife and people. To prove the case we conducted 51 field trials in farmland bordering Tanzania’s Tarangire and Serengeti National Parks, the results of which are summarized in this Oryx paper. The training reports and operating guides can be on the RESOLVE site here.

For more information on our Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions Program @ RESOLVE go here: http://www.resolv.org/site-BiodiversityWildlifeSolutions/ or reach out directly to Nathan Hahn (nha...@resolv.org).

Stephen D’Esposito, President, RESOLVE

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Global Deal for Nature

Apr 14, 2017

A Global Deal for Nature

Our planet faces two major and interrelated environmental crises: climate change and Earth’s 6th mass extinction event. Concerns about climate change prompted the recent Paris Agreement1, a deal for coordinated global action which sets a clear, scientifically based target for ensuring a safe climate. On this Earth Day, 2017, we propose a companion pact—a Global Deal for Nature—to protect nature and the diversity of life on our planet.

The scientific evidence is indisputable that we are now living through Earth’s sixth great extinction crisis2. Species are disappearing about 1,000 times faster today than they have previously, as human activity converts habitat and food sources to incompatible land uses. Many of our planet’s most iconic species, including tigers, giant pandas, elephants, down to the smallest orchids and hummingbirds, could disappear forever by the end of this century if intensive forest clearing and hunting continue. Rainforests and coral reef systems, repositories of the most number of species, are in decline. Degradation of the natural environment is impacting the ability of people to thrive or even survive, be it through loss of access to clean drinking water or important subsistence species, or through disruption or displacement due to climate-related storm events.

There is an alternative future. Scientists agree that we can enhance global ecosystem recovery by designating half of Earth’s land and seas as connected networks of protected areas, to enable the recovery of Earth’s biodiversity and the preservation of indigenous communities rights worldwide who are stewards of much of the world’s biodiversity3,4. At the same time, consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs5) and other mechanisms, we can ensure that the other 50% set aside for development is designed to support the livelihoods of all people, and achieve this goal by 2050. Building towards this future is essential to allow nature and humanity to survive and thrive, especially because 9 billion people will likely inhabit the Earth by 2050.

Arriving at this balance requires a rapid shift in course. There is one Earth. We must honor a new-found commitment to save the space necessary to conserve most all of nature’s species, and the processes that sustain life on it—we must create a global safety net for the web of life. It took 3.8 billion years to create the world we live in; we are now called upon to change course in order to keep it healthy. With enough public support we can generate the political will for governments and local communities to ensure that the 21st century becomes the most hopeful for nature and humanity. 

The recent Paris Climate Deal points to a promising approach to a vibrant planet because it sets global goals and supports bottom-up efforts. But it is only a half-deal. To complement the climate efforts, a Global Deal for Nature could have four main pillars:

1. Expanded Habitat Protection: Half the terrestrial realm and 30-50% of the marine realm should be protected in an interconnected way while safeguarding the sovereign rights of indigenous communities. Doing so will be necessary, if not sufficient, to thwart the extinction crisis. From a static view, the goal of half-protected by 2050 seems impossible. Currently, 15% of the terrestrial realm is protected, but a recent study just published in BioScience4 shows that among the Earth’s 846 terrestrial ecoregions—ecosystems of regional extent—nearly 100 are already half-protected, and up to 2/3rds of all ecoregions could reach 50% by putting more lands under conservation management or in some cases active restoration of degraded habitats. Nature is not evenly distributed, however, so careful planning of where these new reserves should go to do the most good is vital.
2. Respecting Indigenous Conservation: Indigenous land conservation and respect of indigenous rights must be central to any new deal for Nature. Full stop. Human rights must be at the center of conservation and much of the world’s biodiversity resides on indigenous lands. Their direction and voice in how to craft such a deal for nature, uniting traditional and scientific knowledge, is the best way to save life on Earth.
3. Large Mammals Lead the Way: Across Africa and parts of Asia, signs point to the end of the megafauna—the large mammals that delight and inspire us and ensure that ecosystems function effectively6. Rather than let them slip away as an anachronism in this modern age, we should channel resources to recover them as we have done so successfully for the southern white rhino and savanna elephants at various times in the last century7,8,9. Other smaller endangered species, restricted to isolated habitats must be recovered and safeguarded.
4. Appropriate Technology: As humans reduce our footprint through appropriate new technologies, growing urbanization, soil building agroecology and intensified aquaculture, it is possible to feed even 9 billion people and still leave room for the other 10 million species on the planet. In this new configuration, a Great Decoupling10 of our need to clear more land, or exploit new frontiers, an alternative is taking shape. One in which all new infrastructure becomes environmentally friendly infrastructure, cities are redesigned and created to be green cities with cheap energy for development, and degraded lands are restored to health. The future will be exciting and prosperous if ecological harmony becomes part of the design, especially if embraced by all corporations, starting with those with major global footprints.

The Paris deal and a Deal for Nature are interdependent. Together they are more likely halt the acidification of the world’s oceans and the decline of coral reefs, thereby protecting essential fisheries that feed a large part of humanity. Preventing the drying up of the central Amazon rainforest would lead to saving millions of species, and would avoid changes in weather patterns and precipitation, both in South America and far from the tropics where the world’s cereal crops are grown. Studies also show that protecting and restoring the species-rich tropical rainforests is the single cheapest action that requires no advanced technology to mitigate global carbon dioxide emissions. The list goes on.

The annual bill for all of the above amounts to about what Americans spend annually on pet food and grooming, about $25 billion11. The payoff would be a living planet for future generations to enjoy and prosper.

Earth’s bounty underpins human well-being, and yet we are poised to wipe these out in the blink of an eye in geological time. Now it is time to give back before our living standards and spirits are further diminished by the loss of the diversity around us. With recent advances in technology and globally available earth information systems, we have the tools necessary to protect most of life on Earth and monitor our progress, should we organize and choose to do so. Adding a Global Deal for Nature would better allow humanity to develop a vibrant low-impact economy while leaving precious room for the rest of life on Earth. We must elevate this Deal to become the overarching conservation paradigm for this century. The two deals together foster nature and humanity’s health and a future for all species and future generations.

Eric Dinerstein, Ph.D.
Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions – RESOLVE

1United Nations. 2017. Framework Convention on Climate Change. Paris Agreement. Accessed on Feb 18, 2017. http://unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/9485.php

2Gerardo Ceballos, Paul R. Ehrlich, Anthony D. Barnosky, Andrés García, Robert M. Pringle, Todd M. Palmer. Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction 2015. Science Advances 1: e1400253, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1400253

3Dinerstein E, et al. 2017 in press. An ecoregion-based approach to protecting half of the terrestrial realm. BioScience;

4Wilson EO. 2016. Half Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life. Liveright. United Nations. 2017.

5Sustainable Development Goals. Accessed Feb 18, 2017. http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

6William J. Ripple. Thomas M. Newsome, Christopher Wolf, Rodolfo Dirzo, Kristoffer T. Everatt, Mauro Galetti, Matt W. Hayward, Graham I. H. Kerley, Taal Levi, Peter A. Lindsey, David W. Macdonald, Yadvinder Malhi, Luke E. Painter, Christopher J. Sandom , John Terborgh, Blaire Van Valkenburgh, Collapse of the world’s largest herbivores Science Advances  01 May 2015: Vol. 1, no. 4, e1400103, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1400103

7Andrea K. Turkalo, Peter H. Wrege, George Wittemyer. 2017. Slow intrinsic growth rate in forest elephants indicates recovery from poaching will require decades. Journal of Applied Ecology 2017, 54, 153–159.

8Thouless, CR, et al. 2016. African Elephant Status Report 2016: an update from the African Elephant Database. Occassional Paper Series of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, No. 60 IUCN / SSG Africa Elephant Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

9Maisels, F, et al. 2013. Devastating decline of forest elephants in Central Africa. PLOS 8: e59469. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0059469

10Fischer-Kowalski M, Swilling M. 2011. Decoupling: Natural Resource Use and Environmental Impacts From Economic Growth. United Nations Environment Programme.

11(http://www.americanpetproducts.org/press_industrytrends.asp) 

 

 

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Hobby Drones, Repurposed as Peacekeepers, Save Elephants and Human Livelihoods

Nov 18, 2016

Findings show off-the-shelf drones can be used to guard crops and keep elephants safe along the borders of Tanzanian parks

 

A study out this week finds that low-cost drones helps protect elephants by preventing human-elephant conflict in farmland near Tarangire and Serengeti National Parks in Tanzania. The project, designed by RESOLVE’s Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions program, in partnership with Tanzanian Wildlife officials and the Mara Elephant Project, works by using the drones to safely shepherd elephants away from farms and communities—where conflict can cause more elephant deaths than poaching.

A mother and her calf in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania. Photo by Lori Price

From April through July, elephants wander out of parks across Tanzania to gorge on maize (corn), watermelon, and sorghum that dot subsistence farm plots. A wild herd can wipe out a maize plot in a single night and leave farmers struggling to feed their families for the rest of the year. Farmers and rangers have to sneak within range of the elephants to throw stones and bang drums to drive them off, or, worse, hurl chili-laced condoms with firecrackers in a futile and often dangerous effort. Angry villagers can also retaliate by provisioning the fields with poisoned fruit or turning a blind eye to poaching gangs targeting the elephants for ivory.

Elephants are not entirely to blame; people are moving into their homelands and traditional movement corridors, planting crops and competing with wildlife for space, water, and food. In certain regions of Africa and across much of the range of the Asiatic elephant, this conflict presents a greater risk to elephants than poaching and has become a high priority for wildlife managers. Now, conservationists may have found an unexpected solution that works in the African bush. Beginning in late 2014, researchers from Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions, the Tanzanian Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI), and the Mara Elephant Project, found that quadcopter unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, a.k.a. drones) make elephants flee, possibly an instinctual reaction to the sound of the propellers, which imitate a swarm of bees. This discovery presented a possible new tool to keep elephants out of high-risk areas, but the technique needed more testing to be proclaimed safe for wildlife and people.

Elephants are shepherded by a drone in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania. Photo by Teddy Kinyanjui

In a paper released in the journal Oryx this week, the research team reported on 51 field trials in farmland bordering Tarangire and Serengeti National Parks. The trials show that rangers using UAVs have been able to consistently move wild elephants out of crops during the day and night. Results from the flights suggest that the UAVs—which currently cost $800 fully equipped—can aid wildlife managers who regularly respond to human-elephant conflict (HEC) in community areas and croplands.

“We’ve stressed the importance of data collection throughout this project. There is sometimes a tendency to overstate the power of new technologies, and we wanted to fairly assess the utility of the drones for moving elephants out of crops and other areas. The results are very positive and show that UAVs can be an effective, flexible way for wildlife managers to deal with human-elephant conflict,” said lead author Nathan Hahn, from Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions.

Trained ranger teams stationed along the border of these parks have now made over 120 flights in response to calls about elephants on community and farming lands.

“The greater interaction distance the UAVs provide lends a much-needed safety buffer for our rangers, the farmers, and the elephants. Here is a useful piece of technology we didn’t have in our tool kit one year ago” explained Angela Mwakatobe, head of research management at TAWIRI and co-author on the study.

Rangers on patrol in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania. Photo by Teddy Kinyanjui

While some biologists warn that elephants may become habituated to the sound of drones and no longer move from crop fields, rangers have not yet noticed signs of this, even among habitual raiders who have “met” the drones multiple times. Results of this work suggest that small drones offer a new way to reduce negative interactions between people and elephants. The UAVs have also revealed unintended applications. In one instance, rangers used a UAV to move a wounded bull out of dense bush into the open so that a veterinary team could remove a poisoned arrow lodged in his leg.

Loving elephants is easy. Living next to them in harmony requires a little creative engineering to negotiate a peace treaty. “It’s good that we can help the communities,” observed ranger Kateto Ollekashe. “When we can help farmers move the elephants away, we can build relationships and get them on our side. That’s also how we can help stop poaching.”

In the end, scientists and wildlife managers agree that this conflict will not be solved until larger protected areas and safe corridors are established for elephant dispersal; thus, it will not be solved overnight. But at least now there is some hope for peaceful coexistence between farmers and elephants, brokered by a creative use of technology and early adoption by the Tanzanian government.

The graduating class from RESOLVE’s drone training workshop in Serengeti National Park, February 2016. Photo by Nathan Hahn

About Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions

RESOLVE’s Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions (BWS) program targets two of the greatest conservation crises of our time: the approaching extinction of endangered wildlife and the destruction of tropical forests where most of the world’s species resides. BWS combines creative field-oriented approaches to conservation with innovative science and technology to dramatically improve how we monitor and protect endangered wildlife and their habitats.

For more information regarding this project, please contact Nathan Hahn at nhahn@resolv.org or +1 202-965-6204

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Updated Version of RESOLVE and the World Economic Forum’s White Paper on Voluntary Responsible Mining Initiatives

Jul 29, 2016

Last March, RESOLVE and the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Mining and Metals had the pleasure of presenting “Voluntary Responsible Mining Initiatives: A Review”, a white paper on voluntary responsible mining initiatives. Informed by a survey with over 100 respondents on perceptions regarding current initiatives and future directions, this white paper is intended to help stakeholders, ranging from upstream miners to retailers and manufacturers, to inform decisions about where to focus and what to prioritize as they seek to de-risk supply chains and promote responsible sourcing.

We invite you to read this updated version of the material, as well as circulating it among your networks.

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New Research Suggests Tigers Can Come Back From Brink of Extinction If Habitats Are Preserved

Apr 1, 2016

Satellite analysis reveals tiger habitats are more intact than expected: an area large enough to double the wild tiger population remains

RESOLVE researchers published findings today in the journal Science Advances on the status of habitat for tigers. Some key takeaways from the study:

  • Tigers need large areas to survive but if well protected, populations can rebound quickly – Nepal and India experienced 61 and 31 percent increases, respectively, in their tiger populations recently thanks to better habitat protection and anti-poaching efforts.
  • The global tiger population now stands at fewer than 3,500; the international commitment is to double the population by 2022.
  • Scientists found less than 8 percent (79,600 km2) of global tiger habitat was lost between 2001 and 2014, habitat that could have supported about 400 tigers.
  • 98 percent of forest loss in tiger habitat occurred in just 10 landscapes, primarily in Indonesia and Malaysia, where oil palm plantations are driving deforestation.
  • This is the first major study to use high and medium-resolution satellite data from Global Forest Watch to examine the impact of forest loss on tiger populations.

Enough forested habitat remains to bring the tiger back from the brink of extinction, according to new analysis published in Science Advances today by researchers at the University of Minnesota, RESOLVE, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Rainforest Alliance, Stanford University and World Resources Institute (WRI). The study found forest loss was lower than expected in tiger habitats, suggesting there is more than enough habitat remaining to achieve the international commitment of doubling the wild tiger population by 2022 (an initiative known as “Tx2”) with additional conservation investment.

Tiger looking for wild boar

Tigers like this one looking at a wild boar in Bandhavgarh National Park, India need ample space and food to survive. Photo credit: Suzanne Palminteri

Tiger populations can rebound quickly when habitat and prey are abundant and hunting is controlled. For example, Nepal and India have reported 61 and 31 percent increases in their tiger populations, respectively. This is partly thanks to conservation initiatives like the preservation of the cross-boundary Terai Arc Landscape. Reaching the Tx2 goal will require that any significant future tiger habitat loss is prevented, key corridors are restored between remaining forest fragments, nations implement green infrastructure to prevent habitat fragmentation, and conservation managers translocate and reintroduce tiger populations where necessary.

The study, “Tracking changes and preventing loss in critical tiger habitat,” shows that less than 8 percent (nearly 79,000 km2 or 30,000 mi2) of global forested habitat was lost from 2001-2014. This rate of forest loss is lower than anticipated, given that tiger habitats are generally distributed in fast-growing rural economies, some with high population densities and facing severe pressures from industrial agriculture.

Despite lower-than-expected levels of forest loss within tiger habitat, the study also confirms the precariousness of the species’ survival. The researchers estimate that forest clearing since 2001 resulted in the loss of habitat that could have supported an estimated 400 tigers. This is potentially devastating, considering the current global tiger population is fewer than 3,500 individuals. Furthermore, the study did not consider the deleterious effects of poaching and prey loss within these landscapes.

“After decades of working in tiger conservation, it is great to have some encouraging news for once,” said Eric Dinerstein, Director of the Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions Program at RESOLVE and a Senior Fellow at WRI. “But illegal hunting of both tigers and prey can result in ‘empty forests’ without enough food or shelter to support large predators like tigers. Measuring and combatting this sort of forest impoverishment and its effects will be essential. It complements our efforts to identify habitat poaching in this study.”

The vast majority (98 percent) of tiger forest habitat loss occurred within just 10 landscapes, often driven by the conversion of natural forest to plantations for agricultural commodities such as palm oil. The landscapes with the highest percentage of forest clearing were in areas of Malaysia and Indonesia with heavy oil palm development, such as the Bukit Tigapuluh ecosystem in Sumatra, which has lost more than two-thirds (67 percent) of its forest since 2001, resulted in a loss of habitat sufficient to support an estimated 51 tigers. Palm oil development remains an ongoing threat in Indonesia alone, more than 4,000 km2 (1,544 mi2) of forest habitat, an area five times the size of New York City, have been allocated for oil palm concessions.

This Global Forest Watch map shows the extensive loss of forest all around Bukit Tigapuluh (Thirty Hills) National Park in Sumatra, Indonesia, one of a few refuges remaining for Sumatran tigers and a host of forest species. The clearing is recent: the intense illegal logging and planting of palm oil has destroyed more than two-thirds (67%) of the forest in the park since 2001, sufficient to have supported some 51 tigers. Image credit: Global Forest Watch. World Resources Institute. Accessed March 2016. www.globalforestwatch.org

GFW also provides monthly and in some cases weekly tree cover loss alerts that can empower park rangers and communities to monitor and protect tiger habitat, even at the finest scale of a single forest corridor used by a dispersing male tiger.

Anyone interested can explore the maps of tiger habitat and tree cover change online at globalforestwatch.org, or subscribe for forest clearing alerts here.

“It is remarkable and unexpected that tiger habitat has been relatively well-preserved over this 14-year period,” said the study’s lead author, Anup Joshi from the University of Minnesota. “It is not a sign that we are in the clear yet, but it does show us that tigers can potentially recover from the edge of extinction if we make the right forest management choices. We are seeing this already in areas like the border between Nepal and India, where forest cover is recovering with the help of communities and tigers are coming back in a big way.”

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Apple’s Big Supply Chain Transparency Milestone

Apr 1, 2016

A Bloomberg Technology article explores Apple’s announcement on Wednesday that all 242 of its suppliers of tin, tantalum, tungsten, or gold are now subject to third-party audits to determine any links to armed groups in the DRC. While many companies have sought to avoid any materials from DRC and the surrounding countries, Apple has worked with its suppliers (in some cases, “cajoling, persuading, and even embarrasing [them] by publishing their names”) to support conflict-free producers in the region. “We could have very easily chosen a path of re-routing our supply and declared ourselves conflict-free long ago, but that would have done nothing to help the people on the ground,” Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams said. “We chose to engage with as many smelters as possible because the only way to have an impact here is to reach critical mass.”

The Enough Project also applauded this achievement. “Apple’s new supplier report is a model for how companies should be addressing conflict minerals,” said Sasha Lezhnev, Associate Director of Policy. “Apple’s tough love with its suppliers is critical to solving the problem of deadly conflict minerals — it offered assistance to suppliers but then took the difficult step of cutting out those who were unwilling to undergo an audit. Firm but fair follow-through by tech and other companies with their suppliers is a key step that’s needed to cut off global markets for conflict minerals.”

Apple and the Enough Projects are both members of the Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade, a coalition of 51 member organizations from industry, civil society, and government, for which RESOLVE serves as Secretariat. The PPA provides funding and coordination support to organizations working within the region to develop verifiable conflict-free supply chains align due diligence programs and practice, encourage responsible sourcing from the region, promote transparency, and bolster in-region civil society and government capacity.

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Strategic Partner Mike Loch #1 | PPA Members among Top Conflict Minerals Influence Leaders

Mar 24, 2016

Congratulations to RESOLVE Strategic Partner Mike Loch, who was recognized as the #1 Conflict Minerals Influence Leader in 2016. Mike’s longstanding leadership includes highlights such as serving as the co-chair of the Conflict Free Sourcing Initiative for over 7 years; leading the development and launch of the first Solutions for Hope pilots, and helping to establish and serving on the Governance Committee of the Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade (PPA), for whom RESOLVE serves as Secretariat.

Along with Mike, current and former PPA members comprised 20% of the list, including Carrie George (Apple), Kelly Katynski (Ford Motor Company), Sophia Pickles (Global Witness), and Sasha Lezhnev (Enough Project) – all Governance Committee members; and Gary Niekerk and Bryan Fiereck (Intel), Yves Bawa (Pact), Leah Butler (EICC), Kay Nimmo (ITRI), Benedict Cohen (Boeing), John Plyler (Blackberry), Tim Mohin (AMD), Jay Celorie (Hewlett-Packard), Anita Gobor (Microsoft), Patricia Jurewicz (Responsible Sourcing Network), Joanne Lebert (Partnership Africa Canada), Mikko Suorsa (Nokia), Fiona Southward (IPIS), and Herbert Lust (formerly Boeing).

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Ambassador Samantha Power Recognizes PPA in Remarks Before the United Nations

Mar 24, 2016

U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Samantha Power recognized the Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade (PPA) in her remarks before the UN on Monday. In her statement – which stressed the importance of rule of law, government accountability, and respect for human rights in creating the environment required for peace and economic development – Ambassador Power expressed concerns about recent trends in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi to delay scheduled elections and to suppress protest and critical commentary by civil society, opposition groups, and the media.

Ambassador Power exhorted those nations’ leaders to prioritize their countries’ stability and preserve the progress observed in the last decade by changing this course of action and instead promoting democratic processes. She underscored the United States’ commitment to partnership in supporting such processes, and to promoting stability and institution building in the region, saying, “This has been evident in our longstanding aid programs, our efforts to encourage stability, and our commitment to institution building. It is evident too in our strong support for the Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Trade in Minerals, which we hope will enable supply chain solutions that encourage the legitimate trade of natural resources.

RESOLVE serves as secretariat to the PPA – a coalition of 51 member organizations from industry, civil society, and government (U.S. Department of State, USAID, and the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region). The PPA provides funding and coordination support to organizations working within the region to develop verifiable conflict-free supply chains align due diligence programs and practice, encourage responsible sourcing from the region, promote transparency, and bolster in-region civil society and government capacity.

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