CIE A Level Biology (9700) 2019-2021

Revision Notes

18.3.7 The Role of NGOs in Conservation

The Role of NGOs in Conservation

  • International cooperation is essential if conservation is to be successful in the long term
  • There are several agreements, charities and authorities that exist within and between countries with the aim of protecting and conserving species worldwide
  • Organisations that are independent of government involvement or control are known as non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
    • They are usually non-profit organisations set up by citizens
    • People often trust these organisations more than those run by governments

WWF

  • The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an NGO founded in 1961 and it is the world’s largest conservation organisation, with active projects in over 100 countries
  • Their mission is to “stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature”
  • The size of WWF projects vary massively in scale
    • A project could be aimed at conserving a single species or a whole ecosystem
    • The projects may involve things like improving habitat conditions, removing invasive species and protection from poaching
  • The WWF is a major source of data and information
    • It publishes a report every two years called the Living Planet Report:
    • The report contains a Living Planet Index which is an indicator of the state of global biodiversity. The index is based on data from vertebrate species around the world
    • The Zoological Society of London is responsible for calculating the Living Planet Index in cooperation with the WWF
  • The WWF has been criticised in the past for its association with corporations
    • Some are concerned that large donations are being used to manipulate and shift conservation priorities in favour of corporate interests
  • The WWF is very successful at raising awareness of conservation concerns around the world

CITES

  • The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) is a global agreement that has been signed by over 150 countries
  • Its aim is to control the trade of endangered species and their associated products
    • For example, elephants and their ivory tusks
  • CITES categorizes endangered and vulnerable species into three appendices:
    • Appendix I : species that are endangered and face the greatest risk of extinction (for example, the red panda)
    • Appendix II: species that are not currently endangered or facing extinction, but will be unless trade is closely controlled (for example, the Venus fly trap)
    • Appendix III: species included at request of the country that is regulating trade of the species and trying to prevent its overexploitation (for example, the two-toed sloth in Costa Rica)
  • There are different trading regulations that apply to each appendix:
    • For species in appendix I: all trade in the species and their associated products is banned
    • For species in appendix II: trade is only granted if an export permit has been issued by the involved countries
    • For species in appendix III: permits are required for regulated trade. Permits are easier to come by for species in this appendix
  • Scientists are continuously adding new species and reviewing the status of species already in the database
  • There are several concerns about the efficacy of CITES listings
    • When the trade of a certain endangered species becomes illegal, its price increases
    • The increased economic value of the species can be a major incentive for people to break the law

Author: Lára

Lára graduated from Oxford University in Biological Sciences and has now been a science tutor working in the UK for several years. Lára has a particular interest in the area of infectious disease and epidemiology, and enjoys creating original educational materials that develop confidence and facilitate learning.
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