Gland, Switzerland, 17 May 2004 (IUCN) - This week, IUCN's Species Survival Commission (SSC) launches a new action fund that will boost the efforts of its members as they work to save a wide range of plants, animals and their natural habitats across the globe.
SSC members are formed into more than 120 Specialist Groups that focus on species ranging from orchids to rhinos, or on conservation issues ranging from the reintroduction of species to sustainable use. Collectively they carry out an enormous amount of work aimed at saving species from extinction, and all in a voluntary capacity.
One of the factors constraining their work is funding - particularly smaller scale support for specific on-the-ground initiatives. In many parts of the world, small amounts of money can have a significant and immediate conservation impact.
In 1990, SSC received a US$1 million grant from the Sultanate of Oman. A Fund was established in the name of Sir Peter Scott to prepare and publish a series of species Action Plans. These plans identify the actions necessary for the survival of species. Many of the recommended actions have already been implemented, but many still await funding.
So SSC is now renewing the Peter Scott Fund to support projects identified in these Action Plans and to enhance grassroots conservation impact. The aim is to replenish the Fund to a level that will allow regular allocations to Specialist Groups working to implement the Commission's Strategic Plan with its overall vision of "a world that values and conserves present levels of biodiversity".
Along with members of IUCN's five other commissions, SSC members form a pillar of the Union. Among their many other roles, SSC members provide scientific and technical advice to international environmental agreements, produce species Action Plans, and implement on-ground conservation projects. Thanks to their contributions, IUCN is able to produce the Red List of Threatened Species, one of its signature products that helps alert the global community to the scale of the extinction crisis.
Sufficient funds have been generated to award a limited number of grants this year through sales of the IUCN Red List Collection and the popular Red Book: The Extinction Crisis Face to Face, both of which aim to raise awareness about the threats to species. SSC is actively seeking greater sources to ensure long term viability of the Sir Peter Scott Fund. Grants are only available to SSC members and all applications must include a letter of endorsement from at least one SSC Specialist Group Chair.
Sir Peter Scott was founder of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), the largest international wetland conservation charity in the UK. He was also founder and first chairman of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF - now Worldwide Fund for Nature) in 1961, originator of the IUCN Red Data Books in 1962, and former SSC Chair.
Sir Peter Scott Fund for Conservation Action website
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