Recent years have seen the emergence of innovative financial transaction mechanisms designed to help reverse the alarming trends in biodiversity loss. If implemented at scale, these mechanisms could help to kickstart a nature economy, where financial flows would take account of the natural laws and boundaries of our planet.
A new report by the Luc Hoffmann Institute – Mapping the Landscape for a Nature Economy – provides an inventory of these new transaction mechanisms and a range of related enabling frameworks. In doing so, the report aims to stimulate discussion and creative exploration. Further research on how well the mechanisms perform is needed to identify those most likely to attract large capital providers.
“Since we live in a world motivated and driven by economic incentives, giving an economic value to nature should provide an incentive to preserve it,” says Adrian Dellecker, Head of Strategy and Development at the Luc Hoffmann Institute. “This report takes an important step towards creating a nature economy that bridges the gap between academic valuations of nature’s benefits and the real-world transactions that are needed to fund conservation.”
The report describes a total of 23 transaction mechanisms and examples of their implementation. The mechanisms range from fiscal interventions and regulatory instruments to new government-enabled markets, traditional market-based instruments and hybrid mechanisms. The inventory also lists enabling frameworks, which provide common approaches to accounting and valuation. And finally, it covers the global datasets and standards that are necessary for the transaction mechanisms to be scaled up.
The authors of Mapping the Landscape for a Nature Economy are Britta Rendlen, an independent advisor on sustainable finance, and David Uzsoki, who is Sustainable Finance Lead and Senior Advisor at the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). The report is published in collaboration with IISD and the MAVA Foundation.
Corruption undoubtedly plays a role in degrading nature, undermining conservation efforts, distorting good governance and disrupting communities around the world. Corruption is dynamic – it changes and develops over time and no two situations look exactly alike. There is therefore no single solution. This initiative aims to highlight how rethinking relationships between and across sectors, organisations and geographies could foster strong and collective action and enact systemic change.
Drawing on the ongoing project Targeting Natural Resource Corruption (TNRC), the Luc Hoffmann Institute is partnering with the TNRC project consortium to incubate anti-corruption responses by connecting conservation practitioners with existing corruption expertise from non-conservation sectors. By opening up dialogue and sharing cross-sectoral learning on corruption, its impact on natural resource and conservation outcomes, and what is known about addressing it, this initiative aims to enable conservation policy and programmatic leaders to question, explore and adopt fresh and effective approaches to corruption in global conservation practice.
This initiative brings together a group of leaders from within conservation and other key sectors to explore how corruption impacts conservation and what conservation practitioners might learn and adopt from other fields that have been testing anti-corruption strategies for decades – fields such as international development, peace-building, infrastructure development and governance. It is envisioned that this process will increase connection and capacity, allowing for new and more effective anti-corruption approaches across conservation and natural resource management.
Rob Parry–Jones, Head of the Wildlife Crime Initiative at WWF International and c/o IUCN Asia Regional Office approaches the Luc Hoffmann Institute to consider a collaboration on a symposium to explore new and more effective approaches around anti-corruption learning.
The institute engages in conversation with peers from Targeting Natural Resources Corruption (TNRC) to incubate anti-corruption responses in conservation and natural resource management by catalysing dialogue and cross-sectoral learning, and fostering new networks.
A co-creative and inclusive approach is adopted. The collaboration agrees to explore the variety of ways in which individuals and organisations from diverse sectors are currently framing and acting in response to corruption.
13 May 2021
Co-creation is expanded through a virtual Sounding Board meeting, where sixteen individuals are drawn from project partners and other key influencers to define themes, definitions and priorities, and to bring diverse perspectives together as well as highlight other key areas for designing an impactful symposium.
By the end of 2021, participants commit to taking forward the symposium findings, insights and recommendations to influence the strategy and implementation of innovative anti-corruption measures in conservation and natural resource management.
How could gamification techniques revolutionise the way people interact with and fund conservation efforts? Half of the global population lives in urban areas, largely disconnected from the natural world. The problems facing the planet can feel overwhelming and impossible for individuals to influence. As a result, it is becoming increasingly hard to engage people with and fundraise for conservation. But new technologies and data are available that can track and replicate wild animals and the landscapes in which they live. By using these technologies to tell animals’ stories and by harnessing successful marketplace models and gamification techniques, can we create a brand new revenue stream for wildlife conservation?
The Luc Hoffmann Institute and Internet of Elephants have teamed up to explore these questions in a new venture lab. If you would like to know more please register your interest here.
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The Luc Hoffmann Institute partners with Internet of Elephants to explore a business model that turns conservation data (in this case, acoustic recordings of the sounds of animals in the wild) into a new revenue stream for conservation. A game prototype, ‘Howlers & Growlers’, is designed to entertain and amuse an audience by challenging them to imitate the sound of real animals, with a goal of raising users’ awareness of nature conservation issues.
After looking more deeply into business and governance models and theories of change, the Luc Hoffmann Institute and Internet of Elephants launch Gamifying Nature Conservation. The project aims to further research and test the potential for gamification in the conservation sector, to engage and mobilise new audiences, as well as raise new revenue for on-the-ground conservation organisations.
Adrian Dellecker, Head of Strategy and Development at the Luc Hoffmann Institute, writes a thought piece exploring the potential power of gamification to create change within nature conservation.
COVID-19 has led to an abrupt halt in nature-based tourism around the world, marked by travel restrictions, lockdowns and closures of protected areas. Unfortunately, when tourism stops, so too do the benefits of conservation, both for wildlife and local communities alike.
A new report by the Luc Hoffmann Institute – The Future of Nature-Based Tourism: Impacts of COVID-19 and paths to sustainability – outlines the challenges facing the nature-based tourism sector and offers recommendations for future resilience and sustainability. The author, Dr Anna Spenceley, is a leading authority in sustainable and responsible tourism with a focus on biodiversity conservation and protected areas, particularly in Africa.
While there have been some positive impacts from the global pause in tourism – such as a decrease in overtourism at popular destination sites, allowing wildlife the space to recover – it has also seen local livelihoods, many of which depend entirely on nature-based tourism, decimated and declines in revenues that go towards conservation efforts.
An EU survey cited in the report found that 543 tourism operators working in African protected areas collectively employed 48,000 people, of whom more than half were recruited locally. On average, 65% of local staff members were on reduced wages and hours because of the pandemic, and more than half have put some (or all) of their local employees on leave without pay since February 2020. An estimated 94% of local employees would be affected by being on reduced wages, unpaid leave, being made redundant or unemployed if the crisis continues.
The report offers examples of some pathways to sustainable recovery, such as virtual tours and creating new tourism products with lower rates for domestic visitors. Technical and financial assistance are also being made available in the form of grants, crowdsourcing, and investment and facilitation platforms. An African-led collaborative platform, incubated by the Luc Hoffmann Institute in 2020, for example, is being developed by WWF to increase existing fundraising efforts, connect funders with beneficiaries and build resilience within African wildlife communities, in response to COVID-19.
“The halt in tourism has been devastating for so many communities and conservation efforts, but the pause has also given people time to reassess priorities,” said Jon Hutton, WWF International Global Conservation Director and former Director of the Luc Hoffmann Institute. “Systems analysis is crucial for change, and research like this highlights the institute’s work in accelerating innovation and catalysing new approaches. It shows there is hope and a path toward recovery through diversification, resilience and sustainability.”
The research also emphasises the urgency of diversifying community livelihoods and conservation funding beyond a sole reliance on tourism. Since 2019, the Luc Hoffmann Institute has been working to address this need through Beyond Tourism in Africa, an innovation challenge held in partnership with the African Leadership University’s School of Wildlife Conservation and WWF-Africa. The challenge sought innovative ideas for how communities could diversify their incomes beyond tourism revenue. Fifteen winners were selected, with ideas ranging from live, virtual nature classrooms to rewilding initiatives, forest carbon payment systems and more.
“Assessing and understanding what actually happens when we experience shocks in our current systems is a key step to accelerating sustainable futures.”
“COVID-19 has forced us all to stop and reflect on how our world fundamentally works and for whom, and to consider alternate and better pathways. This report, and its research, open a door to discussion and new perspectives, which in turn can lead to systemic change and, eventually, a world in which all life on Earth can thrive together,” said Melanie Ryan, Director of the Luc Hoffmann Institute.
Bringing in new thinking from the outside is an important component of innovation, and working with both WWF and non-WWF partners is and always has been critically important to the institute. With Melanie Ryan as its new director, and with its recent adoption as a key part of WWF International’s Global Conservation Division, the Luc Hoffmann Institute has strengthened its Advisory Council for 2021 and beyond.
To guarantee its independence of thought as it transitions to serve as an engine for innovation within WWF, the Luc Hoffmann Institute is proud to have several new council members joining. “This is an exciting time for the institute as well as for our current and potential innovators and funders,” says Melanie Ryan, Director of the Luc Hoffmann Institute. “The institute is currently refreshing its strategy and positioning, and considering how the brand can be strengthened to reflect its role as an incubator of innovation efforts. With such a strong Advisory Council, I am confident that the institute can bring all its expertise and experience to bear on the 21st century challenges to nature conservation: encouraging diversity of thought, shaping inclusive agendas where everyone has a part to play, and incubating new ideas that move us all toward future horizons for society.”
What is the Luc Hoffmann Institute Advisory Council?
The Luc Hoffmann Institute Advisory Council is a body that helps guarantee the institute’s integrity and independence, and comprises diverse expertise in relevant fields. Principally, the Advisory Council provides timely, strategic, independent advice and guidance, participates in quality assurance activities, helps ensure that the institute’s portfolio remains independent and true to its vision and mission, and helps extend the institute’s engagement and reach within WWF and among other networks.
Who is on the council?
The Luc Hoffmann Institute has the privilege of welcoming both new and returning members of the council. The new members joining the council are:
Isis Alvarez, Senior Gender Advisor at the Global Forest Coalition, who has been actively engaged in campaigns and international advocacy work around sustainable management of forests by communities and for communities with a strong gender component
Elizabeth Ojo from the African Leadership University, where she helped set up and is now Director of Operations for the School of Wildlife Conservation, co-designing and implementing the school’s strategy for promoting conservation as an African growth sector by developing, equipping and informing entrepreneurial conservation leaders.
Dermot O’Gorman, Chief Executive Officer of WWF-Australia, who has been a global leader in sustainable development for over two decades. He has driven innovation thinking within WWF, especially on digital technologies, overseeing the establishment of WWF Panda Labs.
Thomas Vellacott is Chief Executive Officer of WWF Switzerland, working to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. Before joining WWF professionally, he worked for Citibank and McKinsey & Co.
In late 2020, Adil Najam stepped down as Chair of the Advisory Council. “Serving as the Chair of the Luc Hoffmann Institute has been one of the great honours of my career. To be associated with the name and legacy of Luc Hoffmann is itself a privilege and I have cherished the ability this has given me to work with dedicated professionals and thought leaders who believe passionately in the vision of the institute to catalyse innovation and transformative change for conservation and for a sustainable planet,” says Adil. Jon Hutton has taken on the role as Chair of the Advisory Council, bringing insight and advice from the ranks of WWF International to the Luc Hoffmann Institute as he settles into his new role as WWF International Global Conservation Director.
About the Luc Hoffmann Institute
The Luc Hoffmann Institute aims to be the world’s leading catalyst for innovation and transformative change to maintain biodiversity, the foundation of all life on Earth. We create the conditions for new approaches to emerge, identify and mobilise the most promising innovators and ideas, and provide a flow of impactful, de-risked and exciting initiatives for investors. Our passionate and open-minded team is dedicated to driving societal change for nature and people to thrive together. Learn more at luchoffmanninstitute.org, connect with us on LinkedIn, or follow us on Twitter @LucHoffmannInst.
Might you or someone you know be the missing piece of the puzzle? We are looking for an enthusiastic, strategic (marketing) communication professional with a passion for social innovation, nature and people. This position is transversal, working across our entire portfolio. Applications are highly encouraged from systems-thinkers with change management experience and an innovative mindset. Apply here via LinkedIn.
WWF International has appointed Melanie Ryan, current Head of Programme, as Director of the Luc Hoffmann Institute, effective 15 March 2021.
Melanie will remain based in the UK, from where she will lead the institute’s international team in developing its innovation and funding strategy as an incubator of ideas that accelerate the nature conservation sector’s efforts.
A seasoned sustainability and environmental leader, Melanie has been a part of the Luc Hoffmann Institute since 2015, gaining experience as a facilitative, inclusive leader heading the institute’s overall programme and prior to that, its capacity development and fellows programme. She has over 15 years of experience in areas including non-for-profit organisations, government, research and the private sector, and has led teams spanning diverse geographies. She is versed in empowering societal systems change for the benefit of nature conservation and sustainability in ways that incorporate inclusivity, diversity and innovation.
“I am proud that we have been able to fill this role internally,” said Jon Hutton, WWF’s Global Conservation Director and former Director of the Luc Hoffmann Institute. “Melanie has shown passion, perseverance and commitment to the empowerment of others throughout the years I have worked with her at the institute. I am confident that her skills will enable the institute to further differentiate its thought leadership and incubation capabilities for nature and people to flourish.”
Catherine Power, Director of Strategy and Partnerships at WWF, added: “We are thrilled to have a talent like Melanie to head the Luc Hoffmann Institute team. The WWF International recruitment panel was deeply impressed by the vision Melanie shared, by the approach she has articulated for guiding the institute’s transition and future, and by the creativity and enthusiasm she brings to considering the complex conservation challenges we must address in the coming years.”
As the human population grows and environmental issues such as climate change and habitat degradation escalate, negative interactions between wildlife and people are predicted to increase in both frequency and intensity. This in turn leads to conflicts between groups of people with different interests, values and power. Who makes the decisions about interactions between wild animals and people? Who writes the rules, and who implements them? Who mediates and what is ‘good’ governance in these circumstances?
On 11 February 2021, the Luc Hoffmann Institute and Griffith University convened a group of 33 individuals, including conservationists, researchers, human rights specialists, foundations and development banks, and representatives from community groups, for a three-hour spirited and progressive discussion to begin developing a task force and sowing the seeds of funding for a new standard for human-wildlife coexistence.
The convening was a culmination of work that the Luc Hoffmann Institute and Griffith University have undertaken since 2018 to strengthen the management of human-wildlife conflict (HWC) and achieve more sustainable coexistence between wildlife and people. In 2020, the Luc Hoffmann Institute published ‘The State of Knowledge and Practice on Human Wildlife Conflicts’, pointing the way to developing a standard to guide and improve approaches to HWC globally.
Introducing the convening, Jon Hutton, formerly Director of the Luc Hoffmann Institute and recently appointed Executive Director, WWF Global Conservation Impact, remarked on the importance of addressing human-wildlife conflicts: “Conservationists are incredibly resourceful and full of ideas. We’ve all been innovative, but our energy and tools are useless unless we ensure conflicts are mediated by professionals who are trained to do so. I would be reluctant as a donor to fund any initiative that doesn’t have guidelines, including for human rights and dignity.”
Addressing the need for a standard, Duan Biggs emphasised that human-wildlife conflict is, at heart, conflict between people, but the skills to facilitate and mediate such conflict is often very limited within conservation.
What would a standard for human-wildlife coexistence look like?
Participants heard from a panel of speakers that included Alexandra Zimmermann of the IUCN SSC Human-Wildlife Conflict Task Force, who spoke about the development of existing guidelines and how these can and should be linked with a new standard.
Brisetha Hendricks from Ûibasen Twyfelfontein Conservancy offered a Namibian community perspective on why current strategies for managing human-wildlife conflict are insufficient, emphasising that human-wildlife conflict is not new but that situations have worsened for communities as a direct result of tourism downturns due to the pandemic. Isla Hodgson, conservation social scientist from the University of Stirling, gave an overview of standards in conservation and explained the need for a standard to be tailored for local contexts.
Researchers then presented findings from research conducted for two reports in conjunction with the event. Nigel Dudley and Sue Stolton of Equilibrium Research spoke on the value addition of a standard for human wildlife coexistence to existing guidelines and standards, and Harry Jonas of Future Law discussed human rights, responsibilities and relationships in developing a standard.
Panelist talks were followed by lively Q&A sessions, breakout discussions and a ‘fishbowl’ roundtable session in which participants offered their insights and thoughts. The session was introduced by brief talks from:
Thierry Lefebvre – IUCN WCPA Green List
Khalid Pasha – CA|TS Manager, WWF Tigers Alive Initiative
Sybille Klenzendorf – Director, Wildlife Science and Monitoring, WWF Germany
By the end of the event, there was consensus about the potential usefulness of a global standard for human-wildlife coexistence, as discussions moved toward what that standard could and should look like.
Duan Biggs and Griffith University invite interested stakeholders to form a task force that will design and drive forward a new standard for human-wildlife coexistence. If you would like to be part of the task force, contribute your ideas or want to be involved in funding the important work of achieving resilient human-wildlife coexistence, please contact Duan Biggs at email@example.com.
While the COVID-19 lockdowns have shown how life could be different for our planet, they have also shed light on how unsuitable our current socioeconomic systems are for the well-being of nature and people. Nature is in crisis, undermining nature’s contributions to human well-being, and representing a major risk to the global economy. Yet a ‘Nature Positive’ future can now be paired with a ‘Carbon Neutral’ future with a goal of full recovery by 2050 – the goal is ambitious and also achievable. But ‘bending the curve’ on biodiversity loss requires transformative change.
The post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, which the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity will meet to adopt in 2021, is an opportunity to drive such change, with a bold vision of ‘living in harmony with nature’ by 2050. However, ambitious goals are only meaningful if they can be mainstreamed into society and translated into action.
To help devise a mainstreaming strategy around no-net loss and nature positive principles, the Luc Hoffmann Institute convened a diverse group of leaders and thinkers at the World Economic Forum in early 2020, including representatives from the United Nations, WWF, the Business for Nature coalition, Systemiq, Microsoft, IUCN, the universities of Oxford and Kent, the MAVA Foundation and other representatives from government, conservation organisations and the private sector. The group explored what an apex target for biodiversity could look like and debated the merits of no-net-loss and net positive approaches.
Stemming from that convening, and in preparation for this year’s Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, researchers from 22 institutions, led by the University of Oxford’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science and including Jon Hutton, Director of the Luc Hoffmann Institute and now Global Conservation Director for WWF International, have authored a bold new method that provides a way for everyone to play a role in achieving harmony with nature by 2050. The paper, published here by One Earth, shows how to change our overall impact from negative to positive through a four-step ‘Mitigation and Conservation Hierarchy’:
The refrain step involves avoiding negative impacts on nature as far as possible.
The reduce step involves minimising damage to nature where it cannot be completely avoided.
The restore step involves remediating any immediate damage to nature.
The renew step involves investing in revitalising nature.
“This decade and indeed this year must be the turning point, where we transform humanity’s relationship with nature and put the planet on a path to recovery,” says Hutton.
Indeed, the upcoming meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the future adoption of a new Global Biodiversity Framework, represent an opportunity to transform humanity’s relationship with nature. Restoring nature while meeting human needs requires a bold vision which will only succeed if biodiversity conservation becomes mainstream. The One Earth publication presents an overarching framework to support this, with practical implementation tips for policymakers, individuals, private sector organisations, non-governmental organisations and researchers available on the Mitigation and Conservation Hierarchy website.
What is the Convention on Biological Diversity?
United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is one of three international environment agreements that emerged from the Rio Earth Summit held in 1992.
The other two agreements are:
the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and
the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
About the Luc Hoffmann Institute
The Luc Hoffmann Institute aims to be the world’s leading catalyst for innovation and transformative change to maintain biodiversity, the foundation of all life on Earth. We create the conditions for new approaches to emerge, identify and mobilise the most promising innovators and ideas, and provide a flow of impactful, de-risked and exciting initiatives for investors. Our passionate and open-minded team is dedicated to driving societal change for nature and people to thrive together. Learn more at www.luchoffmanninstitute.org, connect with us on LinkedIn, or follow us on Twitter @LucHoffmannInst.
A new African-led Collaborative Platform designed to connect funders with beneficiaries and build resilience within African wildlife communities, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been incubated by the Luc Hoffmann Institute and successfully transitioned to WWF-US.
After a six month incubation period to design the initiative to the advanced concept phase, WWF-US took on full responsibility for the project in September 2020, as the implementing and executing agency of the lead funder, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), to develop the full work programme and lead its implementation.
Following the recent submission of the final project document to the GEF, WWF-US will guide further development of the initiative and work with the host secretariat, the WWF Regional Office for Africa, to lead and deliver the platform in the region.
The Luc Hoffmann Institute initiated the project back in April 2020, with the pandemic underway and the ensuing global collapse of tourism just beginning. Following an idea sparked internally as an initial response to this, the institute conducted an extensive literature review and research into the impacts that COVID-19 was having on nature-based tourism in Africa. This work highlighted the fact that rural communities – custodians of the landscapes and often marginalised – were not able to access enough emergency relief funding and were at high risk of losing their livelihoods.
In the six months that followed, the institute worked with a range of expert organisations in Africa and globally to develop and test the platform concept, and importantly, to look at ways to build resilience in the long term as well as relief in the medium term.
The Institute invested USD 175,000 in the groundwork, drawing on technical expertise within the institute and other organisations. Large scale mapping exercises on data and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as well as nature-based tourism trends were carried out while existing platforms and funding sources were investigated. In a truly collaborative effort, organisations such as the IUCN Eastern and Southern Africa, Vizzuality, Maliasili, Resource Africa, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the UN Development Programme were mobilised to support – along with community organisations on the ground.
More detail on key milestones and collaborative achievements to date can be found here.
Now that WWF-US’ work with GEF project partners and the WWF Regional Office for Africa is firmly underway, the collective ambition – assuming final confirmation of the funding – is to launch the African-led Collaborative Platform in 2021, to support communities on the ground first and foremost, and to recover and build back better – protecting people and nature.