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 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.
Please contact Nikhil Advani at Nikhil.Advani@wwfus.org for information and future updates on the project.