Bhutan and the Tiger Conservation Coalition Release the Paro Statement, Commit to Catalyzing US$1 Billion for Tigers

The Sustainable Finance for Tiger Landscapes Conference concluded today on a high note, marking a historic moment for global conservation efforts. The event hosted by the Royal Government of Bhutan under the royal patronage of Her Majesty The Queen, Jetsun Pema Wangchuck, and the Tiger Conservation Coalition of which World Wildlife Fund-US (WWF-US) is a member, brought together tiger range countries, visionary private and public sector donors, international development agencies, and conservation NGOs to pave the way for innovative solutions to sustainably finance tiger landscape conservation.

High-level representatives from ten tiger range countries including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam delivered statements on progress and ambitions for conserving their tiger landscapes. Speakers also included His Royal Highness Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah, Crown Prince of Pahang, Tshering Tobgay, His Excellency the Prime Minister of Bhutan, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility, and WWF-US President and CEO Carter Roberts, multilateral banks and leaders in the financial sector.

The conference culminated with the Paro Statement inviting participants to join a shared commitment to catalyze an additional US$1 billion to conserve tigers and their landscapes over the next ten years. In addition to securing and increasing global tiger population numbers, funds will contribute to expanding tiger ranges and restoring the ecological integrity of tiger landscapes, benefiting the species, biodiversity, and local communities.

“Over the last 10 years, the global tiger population has rebounded from a historic low of around 3,200 tigers to some 5,500 tigers in the wild today. This is the result of remarkable collaborations between tiger range countries, local communities and organizations such as those represented in the Tiger Conservation Coalition, (WWF, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA); International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); Fauna & Flora International (FFI); Natural State; Panthera; TRAFFIC; United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS); and the Zoological Society of London),” said Carter Roberts, CEO of WWF-US.

“Bhutan for Life, an innovative financing program, helped boost the country’s tiger population by 27%, paving the way for the Sustainable Finance for Tiger Conference and the Paro Statement. The discussions in Bhutan this week rallied governments, organizations, and world leaders to work towards the ambitious goal of mobilizing a $1 billion financing strategy to restore tiger populations and secure their critical landscapes over the next decade. Achieving this goal would mark the most significant progress yet toward sustainable financing and long-term conservation plans for wild tigers and some of Asia’s most biodiverse ecosystems. We have the right tools at our disposal – from the Project Finance for Permanence (PFP) model embodied by Bhutan for Life, to sustainability linked bonds (SBL), and new opportunities to bring large-scale public and private financing together.

“Securing a thriving future for tigers and their critical landscapes was once considered out of reach. But the momentum from this conference gives us hope for an even brighter future.”

The Paro Statement signifies a dedication to implementing innovative finance solutions, fostering international and public-private collaboration, and supporting national level initiatives that ensure the well-being of these majestic creatures and their ecosystems.

This ambition was reflected in the conference proceedings, where numerous opportunities for sustainable financing were outlined. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) presented the Tiger Landscapes Investment Fund, a new financial mechanism that will be directed to support projects promoting the coexistence of humans and tigers; while also protecting biodiversity and furthering sustainable development in tiger landscapes. In addition, the Asian Development Bank noted its intention to explore opportunities to support relevant countries with innovative financing instruments such as the Tiger Bond to engage private sector investors and promote nature-based solutions and conservation.

In a closing statement, Lobzang Dorji, Director of the Department of Forests and Park Services with Bhutan’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, expressed gratitude to all participants for their dedication to the cause and emphasized the importance of continued collaboration to achieve the ambitious goals in the Paro Statement.

The Conference was the first step in a ten-year collaborative process towards securing sustainable financing for the conservation of tiger landscapes.

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