New funding for Wild Planet project announced at 8th World Wilderness Congress

October 06, 2005

ANCHORAGE, AK - New funding for proactive global wildlands initiatives was announced today at the 8th World Wilderness Congress. The WILD Foundation and CEMEX announced the first funding for the Wild Planet Fund (WPF), the funding mechanism for the Wild Planet Project. The project's goal is to integrate new data on the benefits of wilderness conservation into a concise and compelling "case" for decision makers.

"We need to quantify the benefits of intact wilderness with respect to economic values," said Cyril Kormos, Vice President of Policy for The WILD Foundation and head of the Wild Planet Project. "Most people think that the environmental community is too recreation-focused, at the expense of local communities and indigenous groups, and that wilderness is separate from and less of a priority than sustainable development."

The Wild Planet Project will oversee and disseminate state-of-the-art information on mapping and managing wilderness to key policymakers, with a goal of protecting and sustaining wilderness areas and showing the social and ecological benefits of doing so.

CEMEX, one of the world's largest cement companies, based in Mexico, has launched the WPF through an initial financial commitment of $60,000 for Phase One of the project. At the same time, the Global Environmental Fund, associated with the World Bank has endorsed the initiative as "important in the protection of biodiversity, especially in tropical countries and key desert habitats." Further funding support is likely from both the corporate and private foundation sectors.

The WILD Foundation is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), non-governmental organization founded in the United States in 1974 by South African Ian Player, and based in Ojai, California. For 29 years, WILD has worked around the world to protect highly threatened wilderness areas and wildlife, with a field project focus in Sub-Saharan Africa. WILD promotes wild lands conservation and species protection throughout the region and facilitates and implements a range of creative and pragmatic projects that integrate conservation objectives with the needs of local peoples.
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For more information, visit www.wild.org

The theme for the 8th WWC, Sept. 30-Oct. 6 in Anchorage, is Wilderness, Wildlands and People: A Partnership for the Planet. It will generate the most up-to-date and accurate information on the benefits of wilderness and wildlands to contemporary and traditional societies and will review the best models for balancing wilderness and wildlands conservation with human needs. Learn more at www.8wwc.org.

CONTACT INFORMATION:
Journalists interested in more information or in scheduling an interview should call the 8WWC Media Center at (907) 277-5501 or send an email to media@8wwc.org

Conservation International

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