WWF embraces Independent Review’s recommendations

Posted on 24 November 2020
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© Pete Oxford
  • Panel assessed charity’s approach to human rights, with particular reference to supporting  government rangers, and called for greater rigour in implementation of its policies.
  • Panel found no evidence that WWF staff participated in or encouraged any abuse of human rights.
  • The charity reaffirms its commitment to the communities with whom it works. 
WWF today published ‘Embedding Human Rights into Nature Conservation: from Intent to Action’, a report from an Independent Panel it commissioned last year to review WWF’s role in relation to reported human rights abuses by some government rangers in the most complex and remote areas where it works. 
The Panel, chaired by former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Judge Navi Pillay, set out a number of recommendations on how to better integrate human rights into conservation.
The Panel found no evidence that WWF staff participated in or encouraged abuses of human rights.  When reports of abuses were raised, our staff took action in response, but the Panel found that we did not consistently fulfil all of our commitments to communities in every landscape where we work.
WWF embraces the Panel’s recommendations. 
David Singh, director or WWF-Guianas: "Human rights abuses are never acceptable under any circumstances and go against our core values. The Independent Review that we commissioned gives us clear guidance how improve our work on the ground. Our deep involvement with local and indigenous is not an add-on - it is imperative to realize impactful and long term conservation results for the benefit of all people."  

“WWF works with communities around the world and we recognize our responsibility to listen to their voices, advocate for their rights, and engage them in our work. It is deeply saddening to all of us that people have suffered” said Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International
The Panel also called for us to more clearly advocate for governments to fulfil their responsibility for protecting human rights - including with regard to government rangers who are implicated in these types of abuses. 
WWF has already changed its global approach to working in the most challenging regions of the world, which is directly aligned with the Panel’s recommendations. We have improved the ways communities can raise their concerns, changed our systems to centrally screen and approve high-risk projects, and we are prepared to suspend support to projects if our commitments to human rights cannot be met.
We will regularly and transparently assess our progress, beginning in 2021.
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