Press Release: ReGrow West Africa Partnership, Which Targets Post Ebola Economic Recovery, A Featured CGI Commitment
Sep 28, 2015
RESOLVE and Partners Make New Commitment to Reignite Post-Ebola Sustainable Economic Development in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra
September 28, 2015, WASHINGTON – Yesterday, at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in New York, Stephen D’Esposito, President and CEO of RESOLVE, joined Chelsea Clinton and other leaders on stage, during the Plenary Session titled “Investing in Prevention and Resilient Health Systems,” to announce a new CGI Commitment to Action: catalyzing sustainable economic recovery in the three West African countries most affected by Ebola – Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. The commitment, “ReGrow West Africa: Post-Ebola Private Sector Recovery” was selected for its “exemplary approach to addressing a critical challenge.”
The Ebola public health crisis in West Africa crippled the economies of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. The withdrawal of private sector investment in these countries has led to huge losses of employment, income and government tax revenue. RESOLVE and ReGrow’s implementing partners, including the German Development Agency (GIZ), Cordaid, Chevron, the TAIA Peace Foundation, the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLEIPA), leaders from the Ebola Private Sector Mobilization Group (“EPSMG”), will support the recovery and development of the private sector in the three affected countries by building public-private partnerships to overcome early development hurdles that block viable projects.
“When it comes to public health, an economic offensive is an essential form of defense. Let’s not forget, prior to Ebola these countries were growing. ReGrow West Africa is simply a catalyst to restart this growth and reignite the entrepreneurial spirit in these countries, underpinned by a focus on sustainable development” said Stephen D’Esposito, President of RESOLVE.
The fundamental premise behind ReGrow West Africa – that strong public health systems are reliant on strong economies with dynamic private sectors – presents novel opportunities for collaborations across sectors, and is part of a new wave of innovative economic development.
“ReGrow West Africa is more than aid, it puts assets in the hands of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea for economic growth today and strengthened health systems and networks tomorrow” said Jeffrey Wright, RESOLVE Board Member, award-winning actor, and businessman who is active in development and philanthropy in Sierra Leone.
Central to this initiative is the ReGrow Marketplace, a platform that will profile investment projects and small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and help connect them with international investors, donors and other partners. “ReGrow West Africa fills a gap by identifying development-oriented investment projects, curating the portfolio, and creating a platform for private sector partnerships,” said Hussine Yilla, a Sierra Leonean business consultant.
ReGrow West Africa includes an innovative mechanism for providing direct funding for private sector development, the Resilience Trust. Building on the $1M funding commitment from Chevron, the Trust will provide direct investment in SMEs and high-impact greenfield projects.
For more information on ReGrow West Africa and Peace Diamonds contact:
Richard Schroeder, Director, RESOLVE Sustainable Development Initiative
+1 410 446 6426 or +1 202 965 6214
About the Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together 190 sitting and former heads of state, more than 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 3,200 Commitments to Action, which have improved the lives of over 430 million people in more than 180 countries.
In addition to the Annual Meeting, CGI convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States; and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. This year, CGI also convened CGI Middle East & Africa, which brought together leaders across sectors to take action on pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges.
For more information, visitclintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.
RESOLVE builds strong, enduring solutions to environmental, social, and health challenges. We help community, business, government, and NGO leaders get results and create lasting relationships through collaboration. RESOLVE is an independent non-profit organization with a thirty-eight year track record of success.
Link to Press Release on CSRWire: http://bit.ly/1Reebe7
Clinton Global Initiative Features ReGrow West Africa’s Innovative Approach to Post Ebola Economic Recovery
Sep 27, 2015
Today RESOLVE was featured at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting to announce a new CGI Commitment to Action, ReGrow West Africa, which aims to catalyze sustainable economic recovery in the three West African countries most affected by Ebola – Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Steve D’Esposito, President and CEO of RESOLVE and Jeffrey Wright, RESOLVE Board Member, award-winning actor, and business man who is active in development and philanthropy in Sierra Leone, shared the stage with international leaders, who were also recognized for their commitments geared towards building resilient public health systems.
The Ebola public health crisis in West Africa crippled the economies of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. The withdrawal of private sector investment in these countries has led to huge losses of employment, income and government tax revenue. RESOLVE and ReGrow’s implementing partners, including the German Development Agency (GIZ), Cordaid, Chevron, the TAIA Peace Foundation, the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLEIPA), leaders from the Ebola Private Sector Mobilization Group (“EPSMG”), will support the recovery and development of the private sector in the three affected countries by building public-private partnerships to overcome early development hurdles that block viable projects. Central to this initiative is the ReGrow Marketplace, a platform that will profile investment projects and small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and help connect them with international investors, donors and other partners.
The panel session prior to the ceremony reaffirmed the fundamental premise behind ReGrow West Africa – that strong public health systems are reliant on strong economies with dynamic private sectors. Indeed, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Finance Minister of Nigeria, cited that diverse perspectives and collaborations, particularly engagement with the private sector, are essential components of resilient public health systems. Similarly, actress Charlize Theron, founder of the Africa Outreach Project and United Nations Messenger of Peace, stated that a business mindset needs to inform and strengthen philanthropic initiatives.
Chelsea Clinton closed the ceremony by asking the audience for an unprecedented standing ovation for the featured participants. RESOLVE is honoured to have been featured among so many diverse and impressive initiatives at CGI, and will continue to develop novel collaborations to fuel economic development and the growth of robust public health systems.
To view a recording of the event, visit: http://livestream.com/CGI/events/4366856/videos/100493557
Sep 24, 2015
Fighting the trade in illegal ivory is a group effort, and the jewelry sector is taking the lead. By implementing best practices, educating customers about the true cost of illegal wildlife products and maintaining clean supply chains, the jewelry industry is doing its part to eliminate both the supply of, and the demand for, illegal wildlife products.
Nearly every fifteen minutes, an elephant is killed for its ivory. RESOLVE is helping safeguard the future of elephants and other trafficked animals as part of the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, “a voluntary coalition of non-profit organizations, companies, foundations and media interests that will be working closely with the U.S. government in a collaboration to reduce the purchase and sale of illegal wildlife and wildlife products.”
RESOLVE has worked with leading jewelers, US DOI and NGOs through the US Wildlife (ANTI) Trafficking Alliance to shine a spotlight on this issue. And we’re walking the talk through the work of our Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions Program, implementing on-the-ground fixes: The program team recently deployed a drone to help save an elephant injured by a poacher’s poisoned arrow near the Kenya-Tanzania border.
By partnering with responsible industries and testing innovative solutions, RESOLVE continues to build strong, enduring solutions to environmental, social, and health challenges.
Check out the ad in the October issue of Instore Magazine.
Jul 23, 2015
Some people in life know exactly what they want to do from the moment they are born. For me, it has been more of a directionally correct journey with various course corrections along the way. But after over 30 years working on numerous issues of corporate social and environmental responsibility, I am excited to dedicate myself full-time to a focus area that has become my true passion. For the past 8 years, I have taken leadership roles in the development and launch of several global conflict minerals initiatives, including the Conflict Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI), Public Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade (PPA), Solutions for Hope (SfH), and Conflict Free Tin Initiative (CFTI). With that background, I recently left my employer of over 29 years to launch my own consultancy – Responsible Trade LLC – to help corporations, both upstream and downstream, implement responsible trade policies and practices within their supply chains.
Initially, Responsible Trade LLC will support entities wishing to implement practical due diligence when the products they produce contain any tin, tantalum, tungsten, or gold – the most commonly recognized conflict minerals. We will provide support along the supply chain from the mine, to the brand company, and at all levels in between. In addition to the compliance and audit aspect, the company will also support the development and implementation of systems that source from conflict affected and high risk areas and connect the supply chain actors to help provide assurance that these materials are truly responsibly sourced.
I have worked with Jen, Steve, and Taylor at RESOLVE for several years now – RESOLVE serves as Facilitator to the PPA and now Secretariat of the expanded Solutions for Hope Platform. In my new role as President and CEO of Responsible Trade LLC, I am excited to officially become one of RESOLVE’s strategic partners. There is a need to continue to build systems and programs that will allow legitimate conflict free materials from the DRC and other areas affected by conflict to enter the global market. This need is even more pronounced now that the EU is drafting regulations that apply to any “high risk” or “conflict affected” areas worldwide, far above and beyond the U.S. Dodd-Frank regulation, which applies to the Democratic Republic of Congo and adjoining countries. Without strategic interventions, artisanal miners in these countries – even those operating legally and free of conflict – could lose their livelihoods. Given RESOLVE’ s experience in this space, I am excited to be partnering with them to help industry stay engaged in these areas and to use the lessons learned over the past eight years to shorten the learning curve. I’m eager to help organizations implement proven approaches and create the needed changes to contribute to peacebuilding, support responsible artisanal mining, enhance their own due diligence processes, and improve their bottom lines in the process.
My partnership with RESOLVE will support mission-focused activities and partnerships to help advance social, environmental and community benefit. We will be exploring project ideas to develop through RESOLVE’s Solutions Network and welcome any project ideas that you have. Or if I can help you on a commercial basis, please contact me at Mike...@ResponsibleTradeLLC.com.
Jul 22, 2015
RESOLVE’s Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions program has joined forces with the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the environmental news website Mongabay.com to develop an online platform, wildtech.mongabay.com, to spark and share innovative, technology-driven solutions to address the alarming decline of Earth’s biodiversity.
The rapidly expanding human footprint, in the form of deforestation, illegal logging, habitat fragmentation, and the unsustainable hunting and harvesting of natural resources, is wiping out wildlife populations and their habitats worldwide. Resource managers and conservationists working against these threats must apply all tools possible, and they are eager to improve their capabilities. Many tech developers and engineers seek opportunities to apply their innovative skills and products. However, although technology is rapidly improving and more widely available, uptake in the field is stymied by infrequent communication, steep learning curves, and high development costs.
The new wildtech.mongabay.com site aims to accelerate the flow of information and communication. The site will serve as a meeting hub targeted at three audiences: (1) scientists and conservation managers in the field who would benefit from technology, (2) tech developers that want to help interesting conservation or research projects, and (3) potential funders interested in supporting novel collaborations that bring technology to the field.
The hub will highlight use of emerging and existing technologies around the world and facilitate the interaction of these groups to solve forest and wildlife conservation challenges through news, stories from the field, and a discussion area to interact and form collaborations. These features will be integrated with regular technology gatherings sponsored by the site.
We hope to create a dynamic and informed online community where stories can be shared about successes, failures, and areas of great potential—a place where conservationists and technologists can interact and learn about each other’s needs, skills, and products. These dialogues can catalyze rapid field-testing and adaptation of technologies, bringing the most promising solutions to scale. We invite you to engage in our effort to improve the status of global biodiversity by joining in this new initiative.
- Sue Palminteri, Scientist and Program Manager
Media contact: Inquiries by the media can be directed to wild...@mongabay.com. Please mention Media in the subject line.
Apr 14, 2015
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.
Feb 20, 2015
Robert W. Craig was a visionary who helped create and lead the field of environment conflict resolution and solutions development and implementation. He was also a mountaineering legend. Bob passed on January 16, 2015, in Denver, Colorado. He was 90.
In 1953, he joined seven other Americans to form the Third American Karakoram Expedition for the first American attempt to summit K2, an effort which left four climbers injured and one dead. Craig, along with teammate Charlie Houston, detailed the account in their 1954 book, K2, The Savage Mountain.
In the 70s, Bob decided to climb another mountain—solving environmental and natural resource conflicts. In 1975, Bob founded The Keystone Center, in Colorado, a collaborative problem-solving organization that tackles state and national environmental regulatory issues. He also founded the Keystone Science School, which is committed to the development of the next generation of environmental leaders. Bob led the Center as President and CEO until 1996, at which time he became President Emeritus.
I met Bob a number of years ago. While I did not have an opportunity to work with him directly, RESOLVE and other organizations like us, as well as the professionals who are dedicated this field, owe him a debt. Without his vision and perseverance, the space for organizations like RESOLVE would not exist today and our collective successes would not have been achieved. All of us, whether we sit in conservation organizations, government, corporations, civil society organizations, or other institutions, owe Bob a debt of gratitude and a tip of the cap to a remarkable life and legacy. Thanks, Bob.
RESOLVE is making a donation to the American Alpine Club in his name. Please join us.
- Steve D’Esposito, RESOLVE President
Feb 3, 2015
What are the “foundational capabilities” of a functioning public health system and how are they defined? Do variations exist in these definitions among public health practitioners? The de Beaumont Foundation and RESOLVE recently teamed up to conduct research and publish two articles further examining how practitioners in governmental public health are conceptualizing, defining, and funding foundational capabilities and foundational areas (From Patchwork to Package: Implementing Foundational Capabilities for State and Local Health Departments and Practitioner Perspectives on Foundational Capabilities).
The findings in these reports build on a recommendation issued by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in an April 2012 report calling for the description of, cost estimation for, and the sustained funding of a foundational set of public health services:
“The committee believes that it is a critical step to develop a detailed description of a basic set of public health services that must be made available in all jurisdictions. The basic set must be specifically defined in a manner that allows cost estimation to be used as a basis for an accounting and management framework and compared among revenues, activities, and outcomes. The committee developed the concept of a minimum package of public health services, which includes the foundational capabilities and an array of basic programs no health department can be without.”
In short, we need to have a clear understanding of what public health departments must do and provide everywhere for the health system to work anywhere. Many health departments at the state and local levels, including in Ohio, Colorado, Texas, and Washington have been working to do that.
In partnership with the de Beaumont Foundation, RESOLVE sought to further understand whether and how practitioners were thinking of this issue. The project team conducted 50 interviews with leaders representing state and local health departments in order to better understand their knowledge and beliefs about the foundational capabilities of governmental health departments. The team sought to gather perspectives from a diverse range of health departments across the country, conducting interviews with health department representatives based on geography and jurisdictional characteristics, including population size, governance structure (i.e., centralized or de-centralized), and level of poverty.
Researchers asked specifically about familiarity with the term “foundational capabilities,” and included discussion of public health’s role in communicable disease prevention and health promotion, policy development and support, workforce development, environmental health, assessment and surveillance, among other topics.
While only half of the interviewees had heard of the term “foundational capabilities,” most were familiar with, and affirmed the concept, citing examples in their particular context. When interviewees did relate to these concepts, they used different phrases to describe them, such as “cross-cutting capacities,” “core competencies,” “basic support services” and others. This data reveals that while the term “foundational capabilities” may not exist in the everyday language of a practitioner, the notion of a need to define and acknowledge a “foundation” for governmental public health clearly resonated with many interviewees.
Questions probed on (1) the extent to which their health departments possessed foundational capabilities, (2) how (if at all) these activities were funded, and (3) how they went about prioritizing these activities within their health department. Most respondents interviewed indicated their respective department currently possessed these capabilities, though to what degree was not investigated. Notably, many current public health department leaders said that while they were funding some amount of foundational capabilities with existing funds, they were doing so by piecing together a patchwork of support from state, local, and/or federal funds.
Health departments play a critical role in protecting and improving health in all communities across the country, and yet the funding and infrastructure is fragmented – hampering efforts to maximize public health’s role in providing all people the robust health system everyone should have regardless of their zip code. This study is the first of its kind to assess practitioner perspectives on foundational capabilities of public health and highlight the importance of being able to define, first, what public health is doing, and second, use those definitions to seek funding to support public health’s foundation.
For more reading:
- What Do Bridges and Public Health Have in Common? by Brian Castrucci, de Beaumont Foundation
- From Patchwork to Package: Implementing Foundational Capabilities for State and Local Health Departments, by Leslie M. Beitsch, MD, JD; Brian C. Castrucci, MA; Abby Dilley, MA; Jonathon P. Leider, PhD; Chrissie Juliano, MPP; Rachel Nelson, MPH; Sherry Kaiman, BA; and James B. Sprague, MD
- Practitioner Perspectives on Foundational Capabilities, by Jonathon P. Leider, PhD; Chrissie Juliano, MPP; Brian C. Castrucci, MA; Leslie M. Beitsch, MD, JD; Abby Dilley, MA; Rachel Nelson, MPH; Sherry Kaiman, BA; James B. Sprague, MD
- For the Public’s Health: Investing in a Healthier Future, by the Institute of Medicine. Published April 2012.
- RESOLVE’s Public Health Leadership Forum project website.
Dec 24, 2014
RESOLVE’s Dr. Eric Dinerstein and colleagues at Woods Hole Research Center, World Wildlife Fund, and University of Minnesota have identified 125 million hectares (309 million acres) of degraded lands in the tropics that could support expansion of commercial agriculture for another 25-50 years without clearing more pristine rainforest.
In a paper published in the journal Conservation Letters, the researchers defined degraded rainforests as those with an above-ground carbon density (carbon stored in vegetation) of 40 or fewer metric tons per hectare. Intact rainforest has roughly 250 metric tons/ha.
This simple, transparent measure of carbon stock can be easily monitored using remote sensing technologies and could help agricultural producers, governments, investors, environmental stewards, and consumers to invest, plant, harvest, govern, and buy tropical agricultural commodities more responsibly.
Nov 21, 2014
For much of the past 25 years, I had a dream job—serving as WWF’s Chief Scientist and VP for Science, a coveted position that took me all over the world to work on behalf of endangered species and their habitats. The chance to continue to pursue my life’s mission entered a new chapter when, six months ago, Steve D’Esposito, the President and CEO of RESOLVE, made me one of those proverbial offers you can’t refuse. Come on over to our small NGO, he proposed, and bring your core team of innovators with you to create a new program, Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions (BWS).
The move to RESOLVE seemed like a natural continuation of pursuing my passion and commitment to speaking for those species that have no voice in their own future. Since 1975, my mission in life has been to save endangered wildlife. My career began when, as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer, Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife in Nepal, and their Chief Ecologist, Hemanta Mishra, assigned me to census tigers in the newly created Bardia Wildlife Reserve. After Peace Corps service, I returned to graduate school at the University of Washington and conducted research on tropical fruit bats in Costa Rica. After my PhD, I joined the Smithsonian’s Conservation and Research Center of the National Zoo to conduct five years of field research on rhinos and tigers in Nepal’s Chitwan National Park and then moved on to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). While at WWF, my science program gave birth to delineations of, and books on, the terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecoregions of the world, the Global 200 ecoregions, ecoregion-based conservation, HydroSheds, Tiger Conservation Landscapes, and WildFinder. Our program also provided key support to important collaborations like the Global Tiger Summit, the Global Tiger Initiative, and the Alliance for Zero Extinction, among other initiatives.
The chance to innovate was what brought our team to RESOLVE. RESOLVE’s expanded vision to attract exciting new solutions-based programs—Peace Diamonds, Solutions for Hope, Resource Diplomacy Initiative, Resilient West Africa (post-Ebola crisis) to name a few—is what drew us in, a spirit to tackle big problems supported by a staff highly efficient but limited in number. One of the wisest and most experienced conservationists I know told me soon after joining RESOLVE: “Eric, I am convinced that in the future, the breakthroughs in conservation are going to come from those small NGOs, like yours, devoted to a few issues where a small team of experts can innovate without the bureaucracy of a large organization, that are nimble to seize opportunities, boots-on-the-ground, and pragmatic. You are on the right track.”
At BWS, our focus is laser-sharp. Our program targets two of the greatest conservation crises of our time: the approaching extinction of endangered wildlife and the destruction of tropical forests where more than 50% of the world’s species resides in only 5% of the land area. By combining creative, field-oriented approaches to conservation and technological innovations, we hope to add ideas, scalable projects, and solutions that can halt, even reverse these destructive trends. We have launched three new solutions-focused programs with these aims in mind. In each we seek to bring together leading partners from different sectors.
WildTech connects front-line wildlife conservationists with technology leaders to identify, adapt, and apply innovative science and technology to dramatically improve how we monitor and protect endangered wildlife and their habitats. The technologies we help catalyze will be open-source, low-cost, durable, efficient, and easy-to-use. For example, an upcoming post will feature David Olson, Nathan Hahn, of BWS and Marc Goss of the Mara Elephant Project as they train Tanzanian wildlife officials to use a low-cost, unmanned airborne vehicle designed to deter wild elephants from entering and destroying villagers’ croplands. We will also apply innovations from other sectors, such as networks for communication in remote areas and hidden cameras with face recognition and real-time image transmission, to help reduce illegal hunting of large mammals and other wildlife-related challenges. Pioneering the development and use of a variety of innovative technologies will improve the success of research teams and conservation agencies and, in turn, help us accelerate our understanding and the recovery of highly persecuted species.
Global Forest Watch Biodiversity is a partnership with World Resources Institute, a leading NGO that brought forth in February 2014 the most powerful new conservation tool in decades: an interactive website that displays near real-time updates of changes in tree cover across the world’s forests. This amazing tool greatly enhances our ability to map changes in tropical forests, where a disproportionate number of species live. For example, we recently used Global Forest Watch, to conduct, in collaboration with other tiger experts, the first ever State of the Tiger Habitat analysis. Conservation leaders in tiger-range countries are now considering this analysis of forest cover as the monitoring tool to measure progress towards protecting tiger habitat, a prerequisite to reach the goal of doubling the wild tiger population by 2022—the next Year of the Tiger in the Chinese calendar. Other applications of the monitoring tool—to aid conservation of elephants, great apes, rare vertebrates—are in the works.
The Biodiversity Leadership Forum, our newest venture, provides a platform in Washington, D.C. for efforts to bring together the leading thinkers and practitioners in conservation to ensure that biodiversity conservation remains an important consideration in the eyes of decision-makers and the public. A formational grant from the Weeden Family Foundation has launched this effort that will allow those interested in working across organizations for the good of nature conservation to connect with colleagues with whom to collaborate.
I know we can create an exciting, vibrant, and relevant program because we have done it before in creating the Conservation Science Program at WWF almost 25 years ago. Here at BWS, we can call upon a group of world-class scientists and conservationists with decades of experience across all the continents. Some of our team include familiar faces who have collaborated previously —including David Olson, Sue Palminteri, Eric Wikramanayake, Anup Joshi, Tom Allnutt, and independent adviser George Powell. They are joined by dozens of other advisers and contributors. Even my former Peace Corps boss, Hemanta Mishra, the winner of the Getty Prize for Conservation and the architect of Nepal’s exceptional protected area system, has joined our team.
Working with such seasoned conservation biologists offers a further advantage: it has the potential to attract and nurture the brightest young scientists and students to be mentored by the world’s best and save endangered wildlife. As our way of honoring the memory of Russell Train, the founder of WWF-US and the African Wildlife Foundation, who also helped nurture RESOLVE as it grew, we are committed to mentoring outstanding young biologists from the U.S. and from developing countries, place them into the field with our expert biologists, and then guide them to graduate programs to propel them on their careers.
The new journey has just started. Please join us in support of our programs and conservation!