September 20, 2017

ICCF Group Reception: Committing to International Conservation Through Public-Private Partnerships

World leaders gathered in New York for the U.N. General Assembly

Special guests at the reception included His Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of Gabon (pictured left); His Honour Mokgweetsi Masisi, Vice President of Botswana (pictured right); Ambassador Mark Green, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); Ibrahim Thiaw, Deputy Executive Director of U.N. Environment; Heads of Delegations to the United Nations; and a number of private-sector and nonprofit leaders, including senior-level executives from Mars, Vulcan, Volkswagen, The Nature Conservancy, African Parks, National Geographic, Wildlife Conservation Society, Conservation International, and many others.

Speakers emphasized the necessity of prioritizing the important work that is being done around the world in the areas of conservation and sustainable development, else much of the progress that has been made will be lost. While many developing countries are investing considerable resources toward implementing sustainable development models, they will not succeed without the involvement of the private sector.

President Bongo of Gabon spoke of his country’s efforts to balance conservation and development, including the creation of 20 new marine protected areas, covering 26% of Gabon’s exclusive economic zone. “We believe,” he stated, “that professional stewardship of natural resources will both strengthen democracy, ensure peace and security, and enable us to gradually increase the sustainable harvest of natural resources, as we restore our ecosystems to their former productivity.”

Click here to read President Bongo’s full remarks.

Said Mr. Steiner, “Overall, we are approaching, and indeed have already surpassed, some of the planetary boundaries that define the thresholds of sustainability, and the very operating limits within which humankind lives. We must learn to stay within these limits, and to not only stem the loss of biodiversity but to harness the power of nature as an engine for sustainable development, and to do so through partnership between public and private actors alike.”

Click here to read the full transcript of Achim Steiner’s remarks.

The great news is that the private sector, along with large scale philanthropy and remittances, are now becoming the most important [development] force in the world," added Ambassador Green, "And so it is only when leaders like the President are able to partner with all of you from the private sector, that we can hope to achieve the goals that we have set forward."

Read the entirety of Ambassador Green's remarks, here.

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