In partnership with the European Commission, IUCN’s SOS – Save Our Species is delighted to confirm the first ten projects for funding through its African Wildlife initiative. This marks the beginning of an exciting period for coordinated species conservation action across the continent helping protect many of its iconic yet threatened animals.
This first phase of funding totals more than EUR 2 million and comes after an initial call for proposals earlier in 2017. It will support projects in 8 countries targeting 8 species including lions, leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs and Ethiopian wolves as well as wild ass, zebra and giraffe. Of these 4 are Vulnerable, 3 are Endangered and 1 is Critically Endangered as classified by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Of the approved implementing organisations, 8 will be new grantees for SOS of which 3 are locally based civil society organisations.
The African Wildlife initiative aims to tackle specific threats such as habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict and illegal wildlife trade while communicating about project progress and success stories to inspire others to join the SOS partnership. Projects will support these aims by working at species and landscape levels and working with communities and will be coordinated by the SOS Secretariat.
Importantly, capacity building is a hallmark of the initiative’s activities - in particular helping national organisations to develop and submit proposals in response to future calls issued by SOS. Projects earmarked for funding in this phase, will now be fine-tuned in collaboration with the grantees having qualified for grants following a rigorous review process supported by IUCN’s Species Survival Commission (SSC).
For large carnivores, projects will address and reduce human-wildlife conflict implementing solutions that empower communities to participate in conservation as part of innovative livelihood solutions. Increasingly the potential for human-wildlife conflict is heightened as human population growth accelerates across Africa. This continent is projected to double its population to 2.4 billion people between now and 2050.
In terms of anti-poaching efforts the African Wildlife initiative will support projects which comply with the aims of the EU Action Plan against wildlife trafficking while going beyond law enforcement through community empowerment efforts. This will be realised by ensuring smaller projects funded through SOS are complementary to larger projects which will be directly supported by the European Commission to implement its strategic approach to wildlife conservation in Africa, "Larger than Elephants".
Project profiles detailing conservation actions, target species and expected outcomes for individual grants will be published on www.SaveOurSpecies.org soon with work expected to start on the ground in the coming months and we look forward to sharing news of progress from this first phase of African Wildlife grants soon after.
SOS - Save Our Species contributes to the long-term survival of threatened species, their habitats and the people who depend on them by supporting civil society organisations in their work. It aims at building the capacity of many of these organisations and communicating about the successes to inspire more people to support this universal cause.
SOS is an initiative led by IUCN, founded by the Global Environment Facility, World Bank and IUCN in 2010. Other partners include foundations, bilateral as well as multilateral institutions including the European Commission, businesses and individuals.
SOS is IUCN’s response to the challenges identified by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ mobilizing IUCN’s unique knowledge and the expertise of members of the Species Survival Commission as well as its many Specialist Groups.