Interested in biodiversity conservation, and in maximizing philanthropic impact upon it over the coming years? Have an opinion on what the major challenges are, and where you think our investments should be going? You may want to check out the Keystone Center's Science and Public Policy, Survey on Investment Opportunities for Biodiversity & Wildlife Habitat. The big question addressed by the project is:
“What are the major challenges to biodiversity conservation over the next 5 to 10 years and beyond and what might be the most significant opportunities for philanthropic impact?”
The Keystone Center is soliciting participation in the survey from as many people as possible to get a good dataset. After providing your input, you get to see basic results right away, and can also participate in an online discussion forum.
This project will continue from December 2007 through April 2008. In addition to this survey and an online discussion, Keystone will be conducting a series of national and regional meetings involving advocacy, scientific and policy leaders to focus on the central question.
The result will be a series of recommendations that will be available to the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and other conservation foundations to help guide their decision-making for the next 5 to 10 years.
In my initial eyeballing of results, a couple of interesting points jump out:
1. Over the past decade, most respondents (51%) rank "Improved technical and scientific information about threats to wildlife habitat and ways to reduce those threats now on hand." as the top successful accomplishment. Likewise the same category is ranked at the bottom of the list for "future challenges"
So it seems, most people agree, that we've made great strides in understanding the problems, and know what we need to do. I tend to agree even though this might mean reducing emphasis on funding research!
2. "Stronger political leadership for wildlife conservation", on the other hand, was ranked lowest (by 49%) in terms of past accomplishments and highest (by 35%) among future challenges!
And again, this echoes my own feeling - but I'm not sure how philanthropic investment (the main agent in this study's focus) is going to bring about such stronger political leadership. Dipping into the forums might provide some solutions, so I may get sucked into the discussion there, although yet another online forum to participate in is the last thing I need!
I may have more to share here after I've had a bit of sleep and a think - meanwhile, go participate in the survey, spread the word, and tell me what you think about these issues.