Private Sector Solicited by New World Bank Conservation Fund

In line with the latest conservation recommendations, the private sector is becoming increasingly involved in conservation efforts.

Endangered animals and plants are disappearing at rates 1,000 times higher than normal and the crisis has spurred both the private sector and the World Bank to respond with one of the largest cross-sectoral collaborations in conservation, starting with $10 million in financing commitments. The new Save Our Species (SOS) initiative hopes to become the largest conservation fund in the world by 2015.

While the SOS fund will focus its efforts on coordinating all of the various players in conservation to invest in endangered plant and animal ecosystems, much like the suggestions made by Conservation International, the differentiating feature of the SOS fund is the heavy involvement of the private sector.

"Our new partners from the private sector are showing a leadership role in the effort to address this crisis and we hope their efforts will inspire other companies, foundations, individuals and governments to join us," said World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick in the press release.

The SOS Fund will identify and disperse grants to highly-focused conservation initiatives on the ground that address specific environmental threats.

"So far, the private sector has been the missing link, but the SOS Fund is providing the right opportunity for business to act decisively on this agenda while attending to their corporate bottom line," said International Union for Conservation of Nature Director General, Julia Marton-Lefèvre, in the press release.

So far Nokia is taking a leading role.

"SOS–Save our Species, Save ourselves—is an important message to everyone, and Nokia is proud to be a part of this important initiative. We believe mobile technology can help us all to diminish our ecological footprint and play a key role in engaging people and raising awareness about biodiversity and the ecosystem that supports all life on our planet," said Nokia Vice President and Head of Sustainability, Kirsi Sormunen, in the press release.

With the recent conservation headlines—from preserving endangered biodiversity to restoring ancient cultural heritage sites—the theme throughout is taking an active, coordinated, and participatory approach, engaging all stakeholders. So if the various players all comply, we should indeed be seeing improved outcomes by the year 2015.

Follow me, Jenara Nerenberg, on Twitter.

[Image: flickr user Mike Baird]

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