The world's biodiversity is in trouble, with wildlife crime, the spread of invasive species, and loss of habitat reducing the number of species. The loss has economy-wide consequences, but biodiversity is especially important for the 870 million rural poor whose livelihoods and safety nets are inextricably linked to natural and semi-natural ecosystems.
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Distinguished hosts and guests, ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted to be addressing such an eminent gathering of protected area professionals, conservation experts and decision makers. Thank you for... Show More + this opportunity to connect with old and new partners to strengthen and move forward the protected area agenda at a crucial juncture for parks, people and the planet.Some of you may remember me in previous incarnations, managing projects on biodiversity, land degradation and territorial approaches to climate change for UNDP, or pushing for the Sustainable Development Goals initiative from within the Colombian government. I moved to the World Bank in July with the same drive and passion because I now want to focus on implementation. As head of the new Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice at the World Bank, I see great opportunities to carry the conservation agenda forward by managing natural resources within the broader paradigm of poverty reduction and long-term sustainable, resilient development.Getting steps right to maximize present and future benefitsLet me start off with a story. A couple of months ago, on my first World Bank mission, I was in Tanzania. A country renowned for its national parks and protected areas. Indeed, national parks and the wildlife they host are the backbone of a tourism industry that accounts for a critical 13% of the country’s GDP and 400,000 jobs. Tourism spurs investment and business in other sectors. It’s also the largest export earner—which means it underpins the exchange rate, which makes much else in the economy possible.Nature-based tourism is thus a driver of growth in a country which still faces challenges in eliminating poverty. However, the natural assets that generate vital revenue face a range of threats.Some are more intractable such as the gruesome poaching crisis that has decimated elephant populations in the Selous Game Reserve, and demand concerted, collective international action. Other threats, however, could be readily addressed if the true worth of protected areas were understood. In the Ruaha national park, where 10% of the world’s remaining lions live, the Great Ruaha River is running dry and wildlife is in decline. Why? Irrigated rice fields have increased 10-fold in the upper watershed above the park in the last few years. Because so much water is being diverted upstream, for several months every year the Great Ruaha River simply does not run, with concomitant impacts on wildlife. Streams and watering holes are drying up. In addition to impacts on the Park, this limits livelihood options for downstream communities.This illustrates a story that is played out constantly all over the globe. The true worth of ecosystem services, now and for tomorrow, is often not taken into account. Decisions are made without fully understanding the trade-offs, without identifying win-win options that would so readily deliver co-benefits. Instead, poor management of resources limits development opportunities, generating cascades of social, environmental and economic externalities. Perversely, the very assets that would lead to long-term collective well-being are eroded as a result of investments that focus on narrow short-term gains and fail to appreciate that environment is actually a core part of the development equation.Tanzania’s government and business community are committed to ensuring that nature-based tourism remains a strategic driver of sustained growth. The Ruaha story is simply a reminder that resilient, sustainable development demands that we look at the big picture, one in which the health of both people and nature are deemed to be equally important as they are fundamentally interconnected. Ignoring nature inevitably erodes human wellbeing.When I started to position the SDGs I was told by many that they had to focus only on people. I always wondered exactly how that could serve humankind given that we happen to need the planet for life. Clearly we still need to make the case for the symbiotic relation between planet and people—and in this context then to make the case for protected areas. This is a vital task because unless we succeed, we will have a hard time steering decisions toward win-win solutions that help us simultaneously feed billions of people AND conserve habitats AND respond to climate change.Protected areas should be part of a broader poverty reduction strategyOur task, however, takes place against a sobering backdrop.It is what I call "receding reality"—the new normal. This is the slow onset degradation and depletion of our planet that lulls us into passivity. The fish are smaller, the forests emptier, the streams dry... Slow onset is not just sea level rise. Slow onset speaks to our progressive acceptance of a less rich and diverse world. This we must cognize and rebel against. Because a diminished planet also means that our collective global society will have failed to understand the inherent worth of protected areas.Current trends are encouraging—the global coverage of protected areas is increasing from around 9% at the first Rio meeting, to the current 15.4%. We’re on track to reach 17% coverage of terrestrial and inland water areas by 2020, one of the Aichi targets. However, much more effort is required if we are to reach the targets for oceans and marine areas. We also need to ensure that these areas are vibrant and real, not paper parks.The World Bank is proud to be working with governments to advance this can-do agenda. Our work supporting the Brazilian government through the Amazon Region Protected Areas program (or ARPA), for example, has largely contributed to global progress on protected areas, by establishing, expanding and strengthening the protection of 60 million hectares of rainforest.We’re also seeing more and more protected areas that are created with people and livelihoods in mind: ARPA’s success is largely founded on empowering Indigenous Peoples and building assets for the poor: the program has helped secure Indigenous Peoples’ rights over 45 million hectares of land, and enhanced their livelihoods by promoting the sustainable use and marketing of forest resources.My hope is that these best practices are carried forward into the new Parks of tomorrow. We know conservation must benefit nature-dependent people; we know how to do conservation without fencing out the people.But we can’t rely on protected areas alone. How will we feed 9 billion people in 2050? Where will land, fodder, fuel and jobs come from? Put simply, the forest will burn if people are hungry. Agriculture and fisheries drive the majority of biodiversity loss. We must look beyond the traditional boundaries of conservation, fisheries and agriculture, understand that there can be no divide, and address poverty and food security full-on. We need to promote the sustainable climate-smart intensification of agriculture, through landscape approaches, sustainable fisheries, agro-forestry, and the restoration of degraded lands. Protected areas should be positioned as core components of broader landscape and seascape development strategies. Our challenge is to ensure that Ministers of Finance and Planning and Agriculture understand protected areas are part of a functional and productive economy. By protecting and enhancing natural capital not only in parks but along watersheds, on farm land, in pastures, in freshwater and coastal waters, we can transform the economic prospects and food security of millions of people. We’ve seen it, for example, in Indonesia, where a project worked with 358 village communities to protect coral reefs, while improving fishing practices. Coral reef grew on average by 17% in 6 out of 7 districts, and communities’ income increased by 20% since 2008. Now in its third phase, the COREMAP project is working to mainstream an approach that makes coral reef protection planning an integral part of development planning and improves the welfare of coastal communities. Natural infrastructure delivers.Truly sustainable development requires policies and economic incentives, practical tools and safeguards to ensure that protected areas sustain critical ecosystem services and promote resilience and human well-being. In the coming year, we can set the pathway to that future if we can strengthen the role of protected areas in defining and delivering on the world’s Sustainable Development Goals, and by embedding protected areas in the procedures that define society’s development planning and underpin economic decision making. That's why I'm excited about the future despite the worrying trends: there are proven "win-win" solutions. We have the tools to ensure that both conservation and development are fully convergent.Steering development choices toward long-term gainsThis brings me to my second point: the rebellion against a receding reality only works if enough people in different walks of life join the good fight. And on this score there is also hope. Around the world we are witnessing a growing rejection of business as usual, with many taking risks and making hard choices to halt the planet’s decline, to slow down the destruction.Yesterday, China and the U.S. exemplified historic leadership in the run up to Lima, putting forth commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that should drive all Parties to greater ambition.Witness too the recent New York Declaration on Forests, with robust commitments to eliminating deforestation by national and sub-national governments, CSOs, Indigenous Peoples, companies. There is for example, a growing focus on the impact of commodities and consumer goods and the role that protected areas and natural ecosystems can play in sustaining commodity supply chains.The new Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture will be a decisive player in this effort.In addition to this, there is a growing chorus of governments and others seeking to look beyond GDP. More and more countries are asking for support from the Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services Partnership—WAVES.Natural capital accounting has already helped Botswana factor water constraints in its policy choices. In the Philippines’ biodiversity-rich Southern Palawan, where there are numerous competing demands on resources, ecosystem accounts are expected to provide decision makers with the tools they need to make no-regrets decisions on ecotourism, agriculture and mining. This work is challenging from a methodological point of view but politically vital. It is helping governments go beyond annual growth statistics and understand the importance of natural assets over a longer time horizon.Programs helping countries plan for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) are also having an impact, by creating an incentive for decision makers from different land-use sectors to sit around a common table, take out maps and negotiate a shared vision for the future that leaves valuable forests intact. We are creating and applying solutions to address and correct market, institutional and policy failures, by transforming how we measure and account for development and by providing clear incentives across sectors for responsible private and public investment in natural capital. And let me share, as a final thought, why this concerted, collective action is so critical in a time of receding reality. There is no question that the moral imperative of our time is poverty eradication. While we know that extreme poverty has declined, the proportion of people at risk of falling back into extreme poverty remains stubbornly high. And everyone one of us in this room knows that gains on this front will be lost unless we change the current development paradigm.The World Bank Group adopted two goals last year: to help countries end extreme poverty by 2030 and boost shared prosperity for the bottom 40% of the population in a sustainable manner. The second goal speaks to the rising expectations of a global emerging middle-class. We must also be prepared to manage the changing consumption patterns of this growing global middle class as this will further exacerbate resource depletion and stretch the carrying capacity of many productive systems. This demands structural, systemic changes that go beyond minimalist, quick-fix approaches. It is our collective task to ensure that those changes have at their core an understanding of landscapes and seascapes as an integral, vibrant whole. That the true worth and value of protected areas is reflected.We have come a long way from the Stockholm Conference of 1972. We must seize the moment. Follow up on the NY Declaration on Forests. Support climate-smart agriculture and fisheries. Ensure that forests are meaningfully included in future climate change agreements. Support the active and integrated implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. We must live up to the Promise of Sydney and implement solutions that cross boundaries and deliver lasting results for parks, people and planet.At Sydney this year, this must be our pledge. There is no plan B for people and the planet. Thank you. Show Less -
Honorable Mr. Jairam Ramesh, Chief Ministers, Secretary Chatterjee, Dr Rajesh Gopal of the National Tiger Conservation Authority, Official delegations from the Tiger Range Countries, Representat... Show More +ives of global conservation NGOs and members of the Indian Civil Society, Officers of the elite Indian Forest Services, colleagues from the World Bank:It’s a privilege to be with you today to inaugurate the International Conference of the Global Tiger Recovery Program.We all know, the world is facing many concurrent stresses. It is recovering from a global financial crisis. Unprecedented political changes are taking place in the Middle East and, in the past months, major natural disasters have hit countries like Haiti, Chile, Pakistan and, now, Japan.Although we are overwhelmed by real time news on these issues, we should not forget that the world’s biodiversity is also facing major stresses including habitat loss, air and water contamination, and climate change.Economic growth pressures on our planet have resulted in unprecedented extinction of species: one in eight bird species, one in four mammals, and one in three amphibians are threatened. And yet, biodiversity is critical to the integrity of ecosystems and to the ecological processes that support human beings.The decrease in the number of tigers in the wild, now under 3,500, is an emblematic reminder of the stresses on our biodiversity today.Wild tigers have occupied a very special place in South Asian culture and the world over. Images of tigers have been found dating back 6,000 years and the tiger is still strongly resonant in our culture today: A recent survey found that the tiger is the World's Favorite Animal. Animal Planet, who conducted the survey in over 73 countries, said that “we can relate to the tiger because its fierce and commanding on the outside but noble and discerning on the inside”.Tigers are also part of our collective unconscious, figuring out prominently in mythology as well as current coins, and flags.In Japan it is emblematic of the samurai warriors representing courage and also vision, improvement and change. In China, it’s the King of the Mountains breaking through thorns to climb to the top of the mountain. It reminds us of the impossible, of triumphs, the beauty of freedom.In South Asia, tigers are associated with strength, passion and sensuality, beauty and speed, cruelty and wrath. And the tiger is the National Animal of India. It symbolizes the power, strength, elegance, alertness, intelligence and endurance of the nation.Last November the Global Tiger Summit was held in St Petersburg, where 13 Heads of State signed the Declaration on Tiger Conservation.Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam came together to provide the political and financial support to the Global Tiger Recovery Program with actions for the next 12 years.Today, I bring the message from World Bank President, Robert Zoellick, that we are committed to the implementation of the first year of this program here in New Delhi -4 months after the St Petersburg Summit. He hopes this workshop will set the stage for a successful GTRP implementation.What is different about this initiative? While the number of tigers was reduced by half in the last decade, the decline would have been worse without the effort of existing programs, in particular initiatives spearheaded by NGOs, including the World Wildlife Fund and the Wildlife Conservation Society. The goal adopted at St. Petersburg - to double the population of wild tigers by 2022 - can only be achieved through the scaling up of successful approaches that have been time tested over the past decade. The Global Tiger Recovery Program innovations include:• Empowerment. For the first time, the Program’s goal is to empower those that are at the front lines of policy and implementation in each country. • Accountability and Transparency. The 13 tiger range countries, along with NGOs and donors will meet annually to take stock of actions and the accountability process will be open and transparent, and accessible to civil society. • Ownership. The national action plans that will be discussed in this conference were developed by each country from a holistic menu of actions in consultation with the best international experts. The Global Tiger Recovery Program has applied this customized approach with the benefit of best practices identified across the 13 tiger-range countries.Implementation is now the focus. To achieve this, alignment of incentives is essential. On the positive side, foresters need to be trained, well paid and professionalized; on the negative side poachers need to be penalized. For the first time, Interpol is part of the International Consortium for Combating Wildlife Crime, integrated with other enforcement agencies. This is recognition that poaching has to be treated as a regional issue.Bringing civil society and all stakeholders is also essential for success. I have seen first hand the passion that exists in South Asia for the tiger. Outstanding individuals have dedicated their lives to the protection and preservation of the tiger. They have passed this on to their children and have created civil society organizations to leverage their deep knowledge. Many of you are here today, from the 13 countries that are part of the GTRP.NGOs have been vital in piloting approaches to tiger conservation, in educating policymakers and the public about the importance of tiger conservation.In India, CSOs working on the tiger have inspired me personally. They had the awareness many years ago of the gravity of tiger extinction and worked tirelessly and selflessly many years before this initiative came of age.Implementation can’t succeed in a top down structure. It needs the commitment and energy of all stakeholders. It needs institutions that are open to communities, with the right culture and motivated front line foresters that can be part of finding solutions as the challenges emerge.Indian park managers, for example, have come up with best practices in implementation which can be used by other countries. Park rangers and forest guards are central to the success of GTRP; we need a public service that is transparent and interactive with all stakeholders, playing an integrator role, and CSOs that are involved in supporting the implementation of national plans, in identifying successful approaches that can be scaled up and playing a key role in accountability.I hope this conference is successful. In grappling with the difficult trade-offs of implementation and in prioritizing the most important interventions for each of the 13 countries here today; in having an honest conversation about the real issues, which is essential for the success of this effort, and in aligning all partners together behind a common program for the first year of the Global Tiger Recovery Program so that we will look back at this conference one day as an important milestone to the doubling of the wild tiger population by 2022.Thank you. Show Less -
Prime Minister Kan, Minister Matsumoto, Executive Secretary Djoghlaf, ladies and gentlemen, I would first like the people of Nagoya and Japan for being such gracious hosts. I am delighted that th... Show More +e government of Japan invited us to a city known for being a major center of global manufacturing that has strived to respect and protect its rich biodiversity. I would like to share four thoughts with you today. Why focus on Biodiversity? First, you probably know of the World Bank Group as a development institution. So, you might wonder, why is the World Bank attending a conference on biodiversity? Our answer is clear: successful conservation of our natural resources, our ecosystems, and our biodiversity is central to addressing all development challenges and to improving the lives of the poor. Biological resources provide livelihoods, sustenance, medicines, trade, tourism, industry, and more. Forests, grasslands, lakes, oceans, deserts, and other natural ecosystems provide a range of natural services that people have often taken for granted, even though they are vital to human welfare. I would add one more consideration: each of us – all of us – are stewards of other life on this planet. We should respect those lives. As a practical matter, we need to demonstrate the connections among overcoming poverty, sustainable economic growth, and the preservation of the planet’s rich natural heritage. There can be no effective preservation of that heritage unless it is done with and for the poor, who rely directly on natural resources for their livelihoods. The countries of the world adopted The Convention on Biological Diversity in Rio 18 years ago. Since then, we have made progress by: establishing new protected areas;regulating trade in wildlife;respecting the rights of indigenous communities;empowering communities and civil society organizations to conserve critical ecosystems; andimproving our understanding of the earth’s environment through research such as the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Investments in conservation have been substantial. World Bank Group Investment in Biodiversity Over the last 20 years, the Bank Group, working with developing countries, the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), environmental organizations, foundations, and many donor countries has supported over $6 billion in biodiversity conservation in more than 120 countries. This is an impressive figure. But it is not enough. Productivity of the land and seas is diminishing, and with them the ecosystem services that are crucial for people to get out of poverty. The buffering capacity of our environment is dwindling as climate change accelerates. Endangered species are fading away forever before our very eyes. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature warns us that one in four mammals, one in eight birds, and one in every three amphibians and corals face extinction. Who should be focusing on biodiversity? Second, to arrest the downward spiral in biodiversity, we need to draw in a broader group of stakeholders. We must reach out to and rely on key stakeholders who may not yet feel responsible or empowered to take actions to protect the environment. I’ve seen in my own experience that some of the most effective eco-system champions come from outside environment or forestry ministries. My former boss, at the U.S. Treasury Department, Secretary James Baker, led the way on debt-for-nature swaps, elephant ivory, and polar bears. More recently, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson hatched an idea with me that became the Climate Investment Funds, which can have biodiversity benefits. When I was the U.S. Trade Representative, we used Free Trade Agreements to build cooperation with local and international groups on CITES, migration routes, and local biodiversity projects. We need to engage more Finance, Economic, and Commerce Ministers. The potential allies reach far beyond governments. Many businesses want to assist. We need to connect the cause of biodiversity with all-comers, but especially those engaged with economic growth, infrastructure development, and overcoming poverty. We must strengthen and scale-up the actions that are proving effective -- at every level. Last year, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, I was struck by the immense biodiversity present in Virunga National Park, the oldest and most biologically diverse nature reserve in Africa. Courageous rangers were facing down poachers, charcoal traffickers, and warring militias. Against all these odds, they had managed to increase the population of the park’s rare mountain gorillas during years of conflict. These rangers deserve our thanks – but also our help. The custodians of Virunga only needed a few million dollars to back a project to substitute locally made briquettes from grass and agricultural waste for charcoal, to save the forest. Other rangers just need basic supplies, training support, and an opportunity to learn from their colleagues around the world. That’s one reason why I am meeting with a group of rangers here in Nagoya – to learn what they need. Similarly, we must all learn from and continue working with indigenous communities. Under difficult conditions, they serve as stewards for biodiversity-rich ecosystems. How Can We Value the wealth of biodiversity? Third, we must provide the missing information to guide leaders as they make decisions about biodiversity. Tomorrow we will launch a new partnership: the Global Partnership for Ecosystems and Ecosystem Services Valuation and Wealth Accounting. This new initiative will enable us to work with partners to strengthen capacity, particularly in finance and planning ministries, and integrate the true value of biodiversity and ecosystem services into a country’s development planning and its accounting systems. Let me explain why natural wealth accounting is important. Economic ministries make decisions based on calculations of growth, employment, prices, asset values, and returns on investments by private and public actors. As one COO told me: “In business, you are what you measure”. So we need to assist the economic agencies to measure “natural wealth”. The value of services we derive from ecosystems shouldn’t be assumed to be zero. The world is slowly starting to recognize these values, for example, through payments to avoid deforestation. But we need to help advance natural wealth accounting. For example, the calculation on destroying wetlands for housing would no longer be simply the cost of the construction and the sale of the houses producing a return on investment. Instead it would deduct from the profit the subsidies from mortgage interest relief as well as the costs from destroying wetland livelihoods and the costs that could incur from losing a barrier to cyclones. I want the World Bank Group to show what can be done. We will increase financing of ecosystem and biodiversity services through our projects in a wide range of sectors -- including infrastructure, agriculture, climate change, and policy lending operations. To help countries use this new work, we will also need to help them build capacity. So I’m pleased to see that the Revised Strategic Plan for the Convention increases support to mainstream biodiversity into sustainable development and poverty reduction. The Bank Group will also seek to reach out to other stakeholders, from rangers to businessmen, and on to investors in Green Funds. The Critical Ecosystems Partnerships Fund, launched ten years ago will help mobilize nongovernmental and private sector partners in conserving the Earth’s most biologically rich and threatened areas. Our new Save Our Species program will build support with business leaders. Fourth, the Global Tiger Initiative (GTI) is both a commitment to save an iconic species and an innovation in conservation. Since its launch in 2008, the GTI has been pioneering a new conservation model: The GTI encourages the Tiger Range countries to “own” the process. As we learned in other fields of development, outsiders, however well intentioned, will not be successful without local ownership. The 13 tiger range countries have now developed their own Global Tiger Recovery Program, connecting to local communities that are stewards of these landscapes, international research institutions such as the Smithsonian, national and international law enforcement groups, local and international conservation groups, celebrities and public information campaigns, and many others. We plan to go further. Tomorrow, we will be announcing that we are developing the Wildlife Premium Market Initiative, as a complement to REDD. REDD, as you know, addresses forests, climate and carbon. The idea behind the Wildlife Premium Market Initiative is to pay money to the rural poor for protecting high biodiversity wild life in forests, as part of a REDD++ system. Government leaders from all 13 tiger range countries will meet next month in St. Petersburg, hosted by Prime Minister Putin, to commit to saving tigers and all of the biodiversity that lives under the tiger’s umbrella. We are making progress, but we are racing against the clock. Only some 3,200 tigers remain in the wild. This incredible animal could be extinct in our lifetime. So in St Petersburg, bringing the heads of government together for the first time on this issue, we will seek to reverse the decline in wild tiger populations. Conclusion Mr Chairman, biodiversity is not an add-on. Preserving ecosystems and saving species are not luxuries for the rich. Conservation and development can go hand in hand. Our habitat and our planet deserve nothing less. Show Less -
I am very pleased to be back in Thailand and here today in Hua Hin.It is a distinct honor for me to represent President Zoellick at this conference, and to share the podium with Minister Suwit and Sec... Show More +retary Tridech.I am also grateful for the participation of Prime Minister Abhisit today to demonstrate the strong support of the Government of Thailand for our work together on tiger conservation. As World Bank President Bob Zoellick reminds us, the year of the tiger is here and it is now time to seize the momentum to save wild tigers, take our successes to scale and operationalize our approach.As President Zoellick said, let’s take decisive steps as partners to save this majestic species. I know that my colleagues in the World Bank will do their part to achieve this objective.The World Bank and the international community applaud Thailand’s leadership on sustainable development planning, conservation and particularly of wildlife law enforcement and governance. This was evident in your hosting the ASEAN-WEN Secretariat, sponsoring the meeting of conservation experts in Pattaya in April last year, and now in hosting this first-ever ministerial meeting on tiger conservation.In just two weeks, we will ring in the Year of the Tiger. This is an opportune moment for us to convene this conference to focus on the future and sustainability of the natural ecosystems of Asia, because how wild tigers fare is a core indicator of how Asia’s ecosystems will fare. But time is running out for the wild tiger. We need to make bold decisions now to reverse the trend towards the extinction of this majestic creature.The nations of the Asia and Pacific region have been the world’s most dynamic economies for the last 20 years. The pace of change is astonishing, so much so that economic growth, infrastructure development, and urbanization are defining phenomena for Asian people, including those of the tiger range countries. Even during the financial and economic crises of the past two years, Asia’s developing economies have remained quite stable. In fact, it is Asia’s growth that is driving the global recovery. During this period, the World Bank is proud to have been intensely engaged as a strong development partner with our Asian partner governments to drive this growth. We welcome the development milestones achieved and the economic prosperity that have improved the lives of so many Asian people. But it has also taken a significant toll on Asia’s environment, ecosystems, and biodiversity, forcing us to re-think our development paradigm. Environmental degradation and the looming challenges of climate change are changing how we define and measure economic growth. Economic development that imposes large, but usually hidden, costs on the environment is simply unsustainable—and eventually will turn around and cause dire consequences. We now realize more than ever that environmental sustainability must be central to development.Why is tiger conservation a priority at the World Bank?The Global Tiger Initiative is one of the drivers of the World Bank’s commitment to new strategies that balance economic development with nature conservation, biodiversity and environmental protection. Some may ask, why is the World Bank making tiger conservation a priority?” The reason is that in many parts of Asia, saving wild tigers is at the very heart of the conservation and biodiversity agenda.In the next few days, we will hear much about the plight of the wild tiger. We’ll hear how the tiger faces a near-term threat of extinction, and we’ll hear that only about 3,200 of these magnificent animals survive today when a century ago 100,000 lived in habitats across Asia.These facts alone are reason for action. Many of you have taken up the call, and some off you have devoted your lives to saving wild tigers. We share the belief that the loss of such beautiful symbols, of such an important part of Asia’s cultural heritage, would be tragic and so unnecessary if we act now.But beyond the beauty and heritage these creatures represent, the ongoing decline of the tiger habitat is symptomatic of the loss of Asia’s forests as a whole – the landscapes which are the habitats of the wild tiger. The disappearance of a species at the top of the food chain will endanger all of the species that live below it. Clearly other species of wildlife are also suffering similar plights. It is an issue at the center of the biodiversity and conservation agenda.What’s more, ecosystems, endangered species, biodiversity and loss of habitats are inextricably linked with the livelihoods of the poor. So this is not merely a crisis of one charismatic species; it represents a crisis for many such species and biodiversity across Asia, and that is of immediate concern to the international community.What happens to tigers has real-life implications for people, both for those who live in tiger habitats and sometimes even for those hundreds or thousands of miles away. And we know that the same deforestation in Asia that contributed to the tiger’s decline is already having devastating effects on many Asian people as well. The loss of wild tigers is a barometer for the health of ecosystems across Asia. We urgently need a new approach.A New Approach for the BankI have worked with the World Bank for over 30 years, and I have seen many changes. Historically, the environment strategy for World Bank-funded activities is based on safeguards and the “do no harm” principle. And within different sectors of the World Bank, we emphasized mainstreaming environmental considerations into our activities and projects.At the end of this year, the World Bank will release its new environment strategy. We intend to move beyond the narrower safeguards and “doing no harm” approach to embrace a broader perspective which takes account of the overall environmental sustainability of the World Bank Group’s portfolio. In other words, the World Bank is moving from the “do no harm” approach to the “do measurable good” approach by finding a place for fighting climate change, protecting biodiversity and ecosystems and conserving wildlife within the mainstream of its development paradigm.Tiger range countries face severe challenges with climate change impacts, deforestation, degradation of habitats and rapid urbanization. Within our new approach, the crisis facing tigers and other wildlife is similar to other sustainability challenges confronted by our environmental and infrastructure programs. It overwhelms local capabilities and transcends national boundaries.The new approach will emphasize smart infrastructure - within and across borders- applying green standards to tiger conservation habitats and introducing effective and professional management of national parks and protected areas. Innovative financing would be allocated to the most innovative, community-linked programs, such as eco-tourism, and development corridors which promote sustainability and biodiversity. Technological and scientific innovation will help establish monitoring frameworks, guide research and develop capacity building programs and bring to bear the best habitat designs within the biodiversity community.In the future, tiger range countries would gain much more than the higher likelihood of keeping wild tigers within their borders. Substantial benefits would accrue by decreasing trafficking crimes on borders, bringing economic advantages to poor communities and learning more about the ecosystems that sustain their lives and the economic well-being of neighboring communities.We appreciate the energy and commitment of the 13 tiger range countries. Since its launch in 2008 by partner organizations and President Zoellick, the GTI has gained momentum and helped provide opportunities for stakeholders in the tiger range countries to come together to seek real solutions and develop smarter wildlife conservation strategies. As President Zoellick reminded us, Asian leaders now accept that regional cooperation is a necessity for tiger conservation, wildlife preservation and protection of diversity.The World Bank must also take up the challenge: moving wildlife and habitat conservation to a mainstreamed position in our everyday business. The GTI platform is one of the ways we can do this. How well the Global Tiger Initiative is internalized into the World Bank’s everyday business in Asia – its work on infrastructure, its investments, its role in urbanization, and its own ecological footprint – will be the real test of our seriousness. The World Bank stands ready to support regional projects in law enforcement, community development and innovative finance.For my part, I am determined that my teams in Asia work collaboratively with partner countries, regional and international stakeholders and constituencies to operationalize this new approach. With concerted effort, we can make a real difference and save the remaining tigers before time runs out.But the Global Tiger Initiative is not only a commitment by the World Bank. It is an alliance of governments, international organizations, civil society and other dedicated partners. The World Bank’s convening power, as well as its political and financial leverage, do make it an important part of the GTI. We can help bring financing to the table to make the world safer for tigers and healthier for its biodiversity. We can also support research and encourage the smart infrastructure strategies and programs on the ground required to make an impact.I am optimistic about the tiger’s future. The GTI has already galvanized strong cooperation and partnerships to address this wild tiger crisis. The Kathmandu Global Tiger Workshop demonstrated how GTI has evolved and matured into an instrument of change, a platform to develop and test innovative ideas and take them to scale. All 13 of the TRCs presented and updated their national strategies on tiger conservation, and agreed to a far-reaching set of recommendations for future action that will be discussed and refined as you meet over the next few days.Here at Hua Hin, we are witnessing the convergence of political will. Political will at higher levels, combined with national action and international support, can create the essential conditions for wild tiger recovery.The Road from Hua Hin to VladivostokAs we move toward the September Tiger Summit in Vladivostok, I do challenge and urge the dedicated men and women in this room to take your conversations and ideas for solutions to the next level. Your passion—and the critical importance of your cause—must be conveyed to all of the ministries whose actions influence tiger conservation, from finance and justice to transportation, natural resources and mining ministries, and it must reach the boards of directors of large corporations and industry who can help make a difference on the ground.The international donor community also has an important role to play. I know that representatives from our partner development organizations like the Asian Development Bank are here, as are bilateral donor agencies. As the GTI gains momentum, new partners can be brought together before the Tiger Summit in Vladivostok to solidify funding mechanisms for the proposals and strategies that have been discussed in Pattaya, Kathmandu, and now Hua Hin.A most important year for Biodiversity; a crucial year for the tiger Ladies and gentlemen, 2010 is the United Nations International Year of Biodiversity as well as the Year of the Tiger. There are seismic shifts taking place in Asia. These require seismic shifts in how we create programs and policies that balance sustainability and growth.When we gaze into the eyes of a tiger, we are really seeing the face of biodiversity on our planet. It would be a travesty if wild tigers disappeared into the realm of history, and it would signal our failure to adapt and to address the modern problems of development, conservation and biodiversity.We have adapted before, though, and I believe—as strong partners together—we can be catalysts for innovation—and for long-term success.Speaking both for President Zoellick and World Bank colleagues, I want to assure you that we will continue to support the tiger range countries and the goals of the Global Tiger Initiative. It is the people in this room who stand at the front lines, taking on the sustainability challenges of the 21st Century, and on behalf of President Zoellick and the World Bank, I thank you for taking on this fight. 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