From 4 to 5 May 2015, a meeting of Senior Officials on the implementation of the Global Tiger Recovery Program (hereinafter referred to as the Program) was held at the World Bank’s headquarters in Washington. Representatives of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of Russia, the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources and the Amur Tiger Center took part in the meeting from Russia.
The reason for the meeting was the decision of the World Bank to stop financing the work of the Secretariat of the Global Tiger Initiative (hereinafter the Initiative) starting in June 2015. The World Bank unilaterally notified the countries participating in the Program in November 2014 about this decision.
The meeting participants discussed current issues related to the implementation of the Program and the results of the activities of the countries of the tiger range. The meeting also discussed the results of the activities of the Initiative and the Initiative's partner organizations in the implementation of the Program. In addition, possible ways of providing the transition management functions, staffing and financial needs were discussed.
On behalf of the Russian Federation, Irina Fominykh, Deputy Director of the Department of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation, made a report on the implementation of the Program. Proposals for the possible management of the Initiative during the transition period were presented by the Acting Head of Rosprirodnadzor Amirkhan Amirkhanov.
“Unfortunately, the mechanism that was created collectively by the World Bank, tiger range countries and partner organizations for the implementation of the St. Petersburg Declaration of 2010 and the Program only started to work clearly and coherently, but was closed unilaterally by the World Bank, without consulting with . But it is the countries of the area that are responsible for fulfilling the commitments made in the framework of the Declaration and the Global Program and must make the final decision” - noted Amir Amirkhanov.
After discussion, the representatives of the tiger range countries decided to establish a high-level Initiative Council. The board of the Initiative, in the general opinion of the meeting, should be chaired by former World Bank President Robert Zoellick.
Robert Zoellick - the ex-president of the World Bank initiated the creation of the Initiative and the holding in 2010 of the International Forum on Tiger Conservation on Earth. Together with the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin Zoellick was the moderator of the high-level segment of the Forum, which resulted in the signing of the Declaration of Heads of Governments of the tiger range countries.
As a whole, the architecture of the Council of the Initiative and the possible level of its members were discussed and approved. The council will include representatives from all countries of the range, as well as representatives of key partner and donor organizations.
“The tiger is a type - “umbrella”, since the increased protection of this species favorably affects the entire natural complex - animals and forests are saved. It is this species that unites 13 countries and helps to coordinate efforts aimed at preserving the unique nature of Asia. - comments on the participant of the meeting, director of the Primorsky branch of the Amur Tiger Center Aramilev Sergey- It would seem that Russia borders only with one country - China, where tigers live and could be managed by a bilateral agreement, but it should be borne in mind that participation in the Program reduces the consumption of tigers and their parts in Asia, and exchanges advanced research technologies and the protection of large predators, suppress the channels of illegal trade and much more. Most importantly, participation in the Program makes it possible to make the processes for the protection of one or another species inside the country transparent for the entire world community. It is very important that the meeting adopted a realistic plan to ensure the continuation of work on the implementation of the Program and the transfer of fictitious Secretariat from the World Bank to other organizations. For our part, we are ready to assist the state bodies in fulfilling these functions within our country.”
To support the activities of the High-Level Initiative Council, it was proposed to create a “supporting platform” which, in turn, will be supported by two key partner organizations - the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Global Tiger Forum (GTF).
Recall, the Global Tiger Initiative involves working with countries of the tiger distribution area and a large coalition of international organizations. The initiative was created to stop the decline in the number of wild tigers and to ensure the restoration of their habitat and population to a level of sustainability. It is designed to provide support to the international community of conservationists in taking immediate priority measures to save the wild tiger at the local and transboundary level.