In an unprecedented gathering in the serene backdrop of Dungkar Dzong in Pangbisa, Paro, the “Sustainable Finance for Tiger Landscapes Conference” has set the stage for a monumental shift in wildlife conservation strategies. Spearheaded by the Royal Government of Bhutan and the Tiger Conservation Coalition, this conference culminated in a pioneering commitment to mobilize a

Amur tigers Russia. Credit Dale Miquelle ©WCSIn an unprecedented gathering in the serene backdrop of Dungkar Dzong in Pangbisa, Paro, the “Sustainable Finance for Tiger Landscapes Conference” has set the stage for a monumental shift in wildlife conservation strategies. Spearheaded by the Royal Government of Bhutan and the Tiger Conservation Coalition, this conference culminated in a pioneering commitment to mobilize a staggering $1 billion over the next decade to enhance global tiger conservation efforts.

The event was dignified by the presence of Her Majesty, The Queen of Bhutan, who emphasized the critical need for sustainable funding mechanisms to protect tiger habitats and ensure the survival of this majestic species. Her Majesty’s advocacy for environmental stewardship underscored the urgency to address the financial unpredictability that often hampers conservation initiatives.

Joe Walston, Executive Vice President of WCS Global, highlighted the mixed success in tiger conservation, noting, “While we celebrate the rise in wild tiger populations, we must also confront our failures where they have gone extinct. Our goal should extend beyond numbers to ensuring there are no further losses.”

The conference featured influential voices from ten tiger range countries and leading figures from international agencies and the private sector. His Royal Highness Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah, Crown Prince of Pahang, shared Malaysia’s commitment to expanding protected areas, demonstrating the global nature of this initiative.

The event’s high point was the Paro Statement, a declaration of renewed vigour and collaborative intent among the participants. This manifesto seeks to secure financial resources and foster an international alliance that promotes ecological integrity, biodiversity, and the welfare of local communities intertwined with tiger landscapes.

Valerie Hickey, Global Director of the Environment, Natural Resources, and Blue Economy at the World Bank, poignantly remarked, “We will never have a world without poverty in a world without tigers.” This statement captures the intertwined fate of biodiversity and human prosperity.

Further enriching the conference’s discourse, the UNDP unveiled the Tiger Landscapes Investment Fund, aiming to catalyze investments that benefit nature and communities. Similarly, the Asian Development Bank expressed interest in exploring ‘tiger bonds’ as a novel financing tool to engage the private sector in conservation efforts.

The conference highlighted the financial strategies and stressed the necessity for robust international cooperation and public-private partnerships. Such collaborative frameworks are vital for implementing the innovative solutions discussed, like the tiger bonds and investment funds, which are poised to transform conservation financing.

As the conference concluded, Lobzang Dorji, Director of the Department of Forests and Park Services of Bhutan, extended heartfelt gratitude to all attendees for their dedication and stressed the importance of continued global collaboration to achieve the ambitious goals outlined in the Paro Statement.

This landmark conference in Bhutan marks the beginning of a ten-year journey towards securing a sustainable future for tiger landscapes, setting a global precedent for conservation financing that other initiatives could look to emulate.

 

 

 

Written by: Supaporn Pholrach

 

 

 

 

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