Jersey Overseas Aid (JOA) hosted a two-day conference, ‘Shaping the Future of Conservation Livelihoods Funding Together’.
The event, which was hosted virtually from Durrell’s headquarters at Jersey Zoo on 7th and 8th April and saw more than 125 participants join over the two days, brought together practitioners, donors and academics in the fields of conservation and international development to discuss the opportunities and challenges that working together brings.
The purpose of the event was to explore how JOA can support organisations and communities to more effectively and sustainably improve the lives of people and the environment they live in.
JOA funds multi-year projects that are awarded to registered UK and international charities and concentrates its major development grants on three carefully chosen themes – Dairy for Development, Financial Inclusion and Conservation Livelihoods. The three themes have been selected for their effectiveness in bringing lasting change to the lives of the poor and because they are areas in which Jersey has skills and knowledge that can be shared to add particular value.
The conference was opened by Jersey’s Minister for International Development, Deputy Carolyn Labey. “The conservation of ecosystems, and poverty eradication, are intrinsically linked and must be tackled together. Low-income communities are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of environmental degradation, which is destroying livelihoods and resulting in growing food insecurity and displacement.
“For many communities, the conservation of the ecosystem in which they live is essential to improving their livelihoods to alleviate poverty. By conserving the environment through enhancing environmental protection, whilst enabling nature-dependent communities to benefit sustainably from such natural resources, we intend to strengthen a virtuous circle of wellbeing between people and the environment.”
The importance of environmental protection and conservation resonates widely in Jersey, in part due to the establishment of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in 1959. For over 60 years the Island has conducted conservation work worldwide, from preserving endangered species to training conservation workers and responding to growing threats to global biodiversity.
“As a relatively new funder for integrated conservation and development, it is important that JOA learns from practitioners, donors, and academics already working in the fields of conservation and international development to ensure that JOA’s grant-making is as effective as it can be.
“The Conference provided an excellent opportunity to harness the experiences and expertise of professionals from around the world that will now shape the design of JOA’s Conservation Livelihoods Strategy,” added Simon Boas, Executive Director, JOA.
As a result of the event, JOA has now established links with organisations which will ensure ongoing engagement and dialogue as well as continued learning from those working in the sectors.
“The event reaffirmed much of JOA’s strategic thinking to date, such as the importance of measuring impact really empirically. It was also valuable to hear so many examples of how developing interventions in partnership with local communities – and building on existing expertise – facilitates peoples’ visions for their community in a way that creates scalable, sustainable solutions.” added Becki Curtis, Monitoring and Impact Officer, JOA.
Panellists at the event included Dr Hem Baral, Nepal Country Director, Zoological Society of London; Antoinette Ngoma, Director of Programme (Zimbabwe) of Plan International; Christopher L. LaFranchi, Founder and CEO of OneReef Worldwide Stewardship and Carina Hirsch, Advocacy and Projects Manager of the Margaret Pyke Trust amongst others.
Attendees dialled in from over 20 countries including Zambia, Kenya, India, Malawi, Ghana, UK, Nepal, Jersey, Mozambique, the Netherlands, Indonesia, Madagascar, Ethiopia, USA, Sierra Leone, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Tanzania, Israel, South Africa.