2021: thank you to all who have contributed to innovating more just and diverse futures

The challenges of 2021 have drawn on humanity’s collective ability to learn, adapt and re-imagine like seldom before. As climate change, biodiversity and socio-environmental justice move to the top of the global agenda, the solutions for our endeavours clearly lie in working collaboratively with the natural world.

In the Luc Hoffmann Institute’s Annual Report, Melanie Ryan, Director, observed, “We live in a world of trade-offs, growing inequality and continued devaluation of life on Earth, both of other species and humans. What gives me hope is that, in the face of these challenges, global movements are driving people to greater compassion and understanding and, more than ever before, there is momentum to build a world that is just and values diversity and nature.”

Melanie stepped into the role of Director in March when Jon Hutton, who led the Institute for 5 years, left to take on the position of WWF International Global Conservation Director. Jon continues to be part of the institute’s journey as the Chair of our Advisory Council. This dedicated group of people contributes their valuable time and energy to guarantee the Institute’s integrity and independence through their diverse insights and expertise.

Four new reports were published by the Institute this year, which highlight challenges, opportunities and current efforts in conservation and biodiversity. The Biodiversity Revisited Background Reviews publication comprises a set of six essays that formed the foundational contribution to the Biodiversity Revisited initiative, a collaboration between the Institute and the WWF, Future Earth, ETH Zürich Department of Environmental Systems Science (ETH Zurich), University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute (University of Cambridge), and the Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research at University College London (UCL).

Using Gamification in Nature Conservation explores how storytelling and gamification can derive value from, and for, wildlife. Mapping the Landscape for a Nature Economy, published in partnership with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and MAVA Foundation, provides an inventory of innovative financial transaction mechanisms and a range of related enabling frameworks. The Future of Nature-Based Tourism: Impacts of COVID-19 and paths to sustainability outlines current challenges facing the nature-based tourism sector and offers recommendations for future resilience and sustainability. 

As part of the Gamifying Nature Conservation initiative, the Luc Hoffmann Institute and Internet of Elephants hosted a webinar to present its latest report on using gamification for nature conservation. Exploring how technology and gamification can help generate new revenue streams for conservation, the report seeks to stimulate innovation and a new generation of entrepreneurs. 

For The future of conservation NGOs initiative, the institute convened and consulted over 80 conservation practitioners, academics, researchers, strategists, activists, fund managers, science communicators and supporters over two virtual sessions. The group deliberated on existing challenges, innovations and disruptive trends, and collectively identified areas of inquiry to create sustainable pathways for conservation NGOs.

The institute also held a virtual symposium on Exploring responses to corruption in natural resource management and conservation practice in partnership with the Targeting Natural Resource Corruption project, which is funded by USAID and led by the WWF-US in consortium with U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, TRAFFIC and TraCCC. Bringing together thought and action leaders originating from 27 countries to explore the impact of corruption on nature and people, this exploration catalysed potential new pathways toward the incubation of innovative action.

Exciting news from the Beyond Tourism in Africa innovation challenge, initiated in 2020 with the African Leadership University’s School of Wildlife Conservation and WWF Regional Office for Africa, was the launch of the winning ideas in late 2021. The Shaba enables artisans living in rural communities in Kenya to access a digital market platform to sell their products to the international market; and Home of Gorillas has launched a subscription-based app to interact with mountain gorillas, allowing the initiative to generate a sustainable, non-trekking revenue stream for gorilla conservation.

Innovation requires expertise, humility, hard work and tenacity. To all our stakeholders, project partners, staff, collaborators and suppliers – your support makes our work possible and our journey meaningful. A special note of recognition also goes out to our generous funders, including the MAVA Foundation. Thank you for your commitment, optimism and courage. We wish you everything of the very best over the holidays and look forward to working with you in 2022 and beyond!