Broadscale conservation

Equilibrium Research has always been at the forefront of the global debate on forest conservation and policy. In 2023, we were asked to be a central part of the first edition of the Forest Pathways Report for WWF UK. The research asked how our global forests are doing, and what better pathways we can take to meet 2030’s global forest goals. The message is simple - we do not need new global forest goals, we need to implement the ones we have with high ambition and accountability, tackle the systemic threats to forests, deliver the financing needed, and national policy and action in line with global commitments. 

We are also continuing to focus our work on advocating for two important, but often overlooked, biomes in the implementation of GBF - grasslands, working with WWF, and freshwater, working primarily with TNC. Our grasslands work is spanning a number of areas including: a policy brief on the importance of biodiverse grasslands globally for carbon storage and sequestration along with a series of supporting case studies and an internal analysis for WWF of financial solutions to support protect, manage and restore activities in several grassland landscapes in Latin America. Our freshwater work continues to focus on the representativity of inland waters in both GBF Targets 3 and 2. This includes the development of a methodology to track representation, an analysis of different options for area-based conservation and continued advocacy for explicit language on inland waters in GBF targets. This work will be bought together in a WCPA Technical Series Report in 2024.

Protected and conserved areas

Conservationists have spent years stressing the value of nature to people. But maybe we've gone too far? Many arguments for conservation focus only on some fairly theoretical economic benefits and on social benefits, as if other species exist just for our pleasure. Nigel's new book, Why Biodiversity Matters, defines biodiversity rights, comparing and contrasting these with other ethical priorities like human rights and animal rights. The three don't always align very neatly. Conservation and development projects have to negotiate trade-offs and compromises. The book discusses how different sectors of society tackle these issues and provides practical guidance, illustrated throughout with real-life examples.

The Global Biodiversity Framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and specifically Target 3 of the GBF (to ensure that at least 30 per cent globally of land areas and of sea areas are conserved), has already led to many countries declaring their support for the so-called 30x30 goal (30 per cent conserved by 2030). We worked with the UK government (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - Defra), TNC and WCPA, on a report on best practice in delivering this target whilst meeting human rights and equity considerations, as efficiently as possible. The second and final version of the report was launched at COP 15, Best Practice in Delivering the 30x30 Target Protected Areas and Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures, is one of many contributions made to seeing this target become reality.

We followed this up with a major new publication for the Global Environment Facility on guiding implementors in achieving the Global Biodiversity Framework’s Target 3 to protect 30% of the planet by 2030. This guide is the culmination of months of work for Equilibrium and our co-authors incorporating the contributions of hundreds of people from across the conservation hive-mind! We are very grateful for the time and energy of our colleagues and hope that this guide will support many practitioners worldwide in understanding the different elements of Target 3 and linking them to the best available practices for achieving the target.

Society and Environment

Our work with TNC encompasses a number of projects including the work on freshwater and the GBF outlined above. The major focus, however, is supporting the Eternal Mongolia Project Finance for Permanence project. Based on a negotiated, binding agreement, if agreed, the project will unlock 15 years of investment, dedicating US$198 million for conservation and sustainable development in and around protected areas. Our role is to help develop a summary of the project and working with many partners in country and beyond to start developing the overall strategic plan for this ambitious project.

As we build on our initial scoping reporting for the Universal Ranger Support Alliance (URSA) on good practices for building trust with rangers and communities, we are asking for more practical guidance, tips and ideas from rangers and communities as a contribution to the IUCN WCPA good practices series we will be publishing in 2024. To collect these good practices we are joining the Asia ranger congress in Assam in December, working with various ranger management bodies, are running social media campaigns on LinkedIn and Twitter through #TrustRangersTuesday and have live surveys to gather ideas online.