IUCN’s Tiger Programme joined key stakeholders in Bhutan as part of a global effort to mobilise sustainable finance for tiger conservation

Amidst the increasing pressing challenges facing the world's wild tiger populations, the Sustainable Finance for Tiger Landscapes Conference convened in Bhutan on April 22 and 23 2024. Aiming to bring together different key stakeholders to address the critical issues surrounding tiger conservation, this conference paved the way for a sustainable future where tigers thrive in their natural habitats.
Tiger (Panthera tigris) in Royal Belum State Park, Malaysia.
Tiger (Panthera tigris) in Royal Belum State Park, Malaysia. Image credit: Emmanuel Rondeau/WWF US

Organized jointly by the Royal Government of Bhutan and the Tiger Conservation Coalition (consisting of 9 organisations, including IUCN), the Sustainable Finance for Tiger Landscapes Conference featured expert panels facilitating in-depth conversations on sustainable finance, alignment with the Kumming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and the Global Tiger Recovery Programme 2.0, and the significance of public-private partnerships in protecting tiger habitats.

Her Majesty The Queen of Bhutan, Jetsun Pema Wangchuck and artist John Banovich
Image credit: Royal Office for Media
Main hall at the Sustainable Finance for Tiger Landscapes Conference
Image credit: Lasola Creatives

Over the course of two days and seven themed sessions, the event brough together representatives from tiger range countries, forward-thinking private and public sector donors, international development agencies, and conservation NGOs. Together, they engaged in constructive dialogue that highlighted the intersections between tiger conservation and global environmental agendas, particularly those related to biodiversity and climate change.

Ana Nieto, head of the Species Conservation Action unit at IUCN, participated in the panel of a session titled “Linking Tiger Landscape Conservation to Global Agendas on Biodiversity and Climate” on Tuesday, April 2024. This session delved into the critical role of tigers as umbrella, keystone, and flagship species in driving and measuring the health and integrity of ecosystems. Ana Nieto said: “The Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) emphasizes the importance of undertaking conservation action in a manner that is equitable and just, and that recognizes and respects the role of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, and their rights of their lands, territories, resources and traditional knowledge. The GBF in particular singles out women and girls, and youth.  Those involved in tiger conservation practice already apply these principles when working with local communities, in full knowledge that it is only with local support that compatible conservation and land-use practices can co-exist and avoid human-wildlife conflict.”

Panel of Session 4: Linking tiger landscape conservation to global agendas on biodiversity and climate at the Sustainable Finance for Tiger Landscapes Conference
Ana Nieto, Head of the IUCN Global Species Conservation Action team (second from right), sitting on the pannel of “Session 4: Linking tiger landscape conservation to global agendas on biodiversity and climate”. Image credit: Lasola Creatives

Throughout the session, panellists provided insights on how the implementation of sustainably funded tiger recovery plans can help tiger range countries meet their commitments under various multilateral environmental agreements.

The conference represents a pivotal moment in the global effort to conserve tigers and their habitats, as the global wild tiger population has experienced a drastic decline, with over 96% of their historic range lost within a century. Despite concerted efforts over the past 12 years, tigers continue to face threats as their habitat dwindles to less than 3% of its original expanse. As apex predators and keystone species, tigers are not only integral to the health of their ecosystems but also serve as indicators of environmental well-being.

Atendees of the Sustainable Finance for Tiger Landscapes Conference
Image credit: Royal Office for Media

By mobilizing $1 billion through collaboration between governments, donors, and conservationists, a new chapter unfolds for tiger preservation. This critical funding will be directed towards safeguarding tiger habitats, combating poaching, and fostering community involvement. Beyond tigers, these efforts will have a ripple effect, protecting a wealth of species within these vital ecosystems. Healthy forests in tiger ranges act as carbon sinks and ensure clean water supplies for millions.  While securing the full $1 billion might take time, the ambitious plan launched in Bhutan marks a significant step towards a future where tigers and their ecosystems thrive.

About the Tiger Conservation Coalition

The Tiger Conservation Coalition brings together leading biologists and experts in wildlife crime, human-wildlife coexistence, policy, finance, development and communications, with unprecedented alignment on achieving tiger conservation at scale. Its member organisations include the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Environmental Investigation Agency; Fauna & Flora; Natural State; Panthera; TRAFFIC; the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); the Wildlife Conservation Society; Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).  For more information contact info@tigercoalition.org