Friday, 22 August 2008

The World Land Trust builds on success

By June this year, the WLT had already raised over £1 ($2) million in the UK alone, and is all set to at least double its 2007 income. And this is good news, as the increase in income is not matched by an increase in fundraising expenditure. This means that even more of the income goes to projects, and in particular buying land.

The downside is that land prices are escalating almost everywhere. As the world's population increases day by day, and there is a demand for more and more food, even marginal lands are being gobbled up. The WLT recognises that land often has even more important values -- water catchment, for one -- and that we must not allow short-term profits erode the world's natural heritage.

That's why the world Land Trust's approach to saving land has been so important. In the 20 years since we were founded (initially to support Programme for Belize) we have seen more and more organisations follow us. When we started, hardly any NGOs were funding land purchase internationally. Now its a veritable bandwagon, on which everyone wants to ride. And that has to be a good thing. But as as our partners know, there are significant differences in the way we operate, and we believe that the long term success of our projects is largely due to the strength of our partners. Fundacion Patagonia Natural, REGUA, Fundacion Jocotoco, Philippines Reef and Rainforest, Ecominga, Guyra Paraguay, and the Wildlife Trust of India are just a few of our project partners. But our partners are not just a group we give money to. We have long-lasting well-developed working relationships with them. I have just spent a 5 week sabbatical in Paraguay, and for the next three months a member of the Guyra Paraguay team will be working in the WLT Office, to ensure that we work closely together for the long-term success of conservation in Paraguay.

But all this needs funding, land is disappearing under the axe and the plough. So please make a regular commitment to the WLT The price of a bottle of wine a month is enough to save the area of a small vineyard every year!

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