How can we collectively reimagine integrated, innovative, and impactful pathways for conservation NGOs in a rapidly changing world?
As the climate crisis intensifies and biodiversity loss accelerates, the work of nature conservation organisations is becoming increasingly urgent. The scope of conservation, too, is widening. The conservation agenda – traditionally determined by environmental drivers – is now confronted by the human and social rights agenda.
There is a growing recognition of the interconnectedness of the issues – that the ecological crisis is also a social crisis, a humanitarian crisis.
In recent years, conservation NGOs have come under increasing criticism and pressure, raising questions about organisational culture, racism, colonial legacy, power distribution between Global South and North, and existing funding models. These issues are not unique to conservation NGOs, but they are particularly relevant in light of the urgent need for conservation action.
Further, the context in which nature conservation organisations operate is also rapidly changing. External trends, such as rapid digital transformation, the growing role of the private sector, and the spread of nationalism and urbanisation, are all affecting the work of conservation NGOs.
As the gap widens between the pace at which the world is changing and the pace of change within conservation NGOs themselves, how can we ensure that the conservation sector remains effective and relevant? What would a successful and impactful nature conservation world look like?
The Future of Conservation NGOs project is bringing together a diverse set of voices to reflect on these systemic patterns and their impacts on conservation effectiveness. It is envisioned that this process will help rethink the presence, role and structure of existing conservation NGOs and then co-create integrated and innovative future-relevant pathway(s).