The quest to protect globally threatened species has taken a large leap forward today with the announcement of the French Global Environment Facility’s (FGEF) commitment to support SOS (Save Our Species) with a € 1 million grant.
SOS, a global coalition initiated by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the World Bank, will use the new funding to protect the diversity of life on the planet through on-the-ground field conservation work.
“If we do nothing to stop the decline of species we will not only lose many plants and animals forever, but the very fabric of our society will be seriously threatened,” says Jean-Christophe Vié, Deputy Director of IUCN’s Global Species Programme and SOS Director. “We are grateful to FGEF for their interest in SOS and their willingness to join in our efforts to protect the natural world we share.”
Through their work, IUCN and FGEF share a common objective of protecting global biodiversity when and where it matters most—focusing particularly on species in developing countries. With a mission of “encouraging protection of the local environment in developing countries,” the FGEF combines environmental protection with sustainable development and focuses on biodiversity protection as one of its core areas. SOS’s targeted effort with species conservation work was a strong impetus for FGEF’s decision to fund and partner with the organization.
“We are confident in establishing this partnership with IUCN to save the planet,” says François-Xavier Duporge, secrétaire général of the FGEF. “IUCN has the best knowledge and expertise on species conservation in the world. We have chosen to provide financial resources to mobilize the conservation community into action—with hopes that other governments, philanthropists and the private sector will join us in our effort to save the wonders of our planet.”
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species demonstrates that the world’s rich diversity is disappearing at a frightening and accelerating rate, with one in four mammals, one in three amphibians, one in three corals, and one in eight birds at risk of extinction. SOS aims to slow the effects of the nature extinction crisis by bringing together all levels of society in the quest to protect life on earth, including innovative companies across all industries, such as Nokia—the first company to join SOS. Recently $US3.3 million worth of funding was allocated to 23 new SOS projects around the world to bolster conservation efforts.
“We are facing the biggest nature extinction crisis in human history,” says Alessandro Badalotti, SOS Coordinator. “Doing nothing means watching our basic economic security being undermined, and our way of life being directly threatened. The support of organizations like the FGEF helps us address these issues and really make a difference.”
This decade has been declared by the United Nations as the Decade of Biodiversity. Issues surrounding species survival will be discussed at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Jeju, Republic of Korea, from 6 to 15 September 2012.