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


  • 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


  • 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.

Join Save My Exams

Download all our Revision Notes as PDFs

Try a Free Sample of our revision notes as a printable PDF.

Join Now
Go to Top