"Conservation of wildlife and economic development must go together," urges African Wildlife Foundation, as new Conservation Centre opens in Nairobi.
AWF reinforces 'a vision of Africa that is both economically prosperous and retains significant large wildlife landscapes'
New Conservation Centre heralds new era for AWF in its 50th year
NAIROBI (November 11, 2010) -- The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) today inaugurated the AWF Conservation Centre in Nairobi to usher in a new era of sustainable conservation planning for the continent.
The African Wildlife Foundation, which aims to ensure that the wildlife and wild lands of Africa endure, urged all African governments to ensure that economic development and conservation of wildlife are not seen as conflicting priorities. One of the aims of the Centre will be to further the cooperation between advocates of development and conservationists.
Helen Gichohi, President of AWF, said: "Many advocates of economic growth see an inevitable tradeoff between meeting the needs of people and saving important wild places. AWF goes beyond this proposed dichotomy to a vision of Africa that is both economically prosperous and retains significant large wildlife landscapes."
Hon. Benjamin W. Mkapa, AWF Trustee and former President of Tanzania, who attended the opening ceremony, said: "If wildlife is to be a part of the future of a modern Africa, it is time for a new approach. Wildlife is as much an African asset as its people, so let us - African governments and their development partners - work together to ensure a symbiotic existence."
"Conservation and development are not in conflict. They can and must go together. African countries know that preserving their key asset is essential for economic development," said Patrick Bergin, AWF CEO. "We at AWF will continue to illustrate and communicate more forcefully how our work helps drive ecological sustainability while also promoting economic development. The new Conservation Centre will help us do that."
The AWF, an African-based organization, is committed to furthering African development with initiatives such as those in the Kilimanjaro Heartland, which promote land management strategies that will sustain crop farming, livestock husbandry, and sustainability of wildlife conservation areas.
The AWF Conservation Centre is located at the edge of the Ngong Forest, which lies on the outskirts of Nairobi. It is the operational base and focal point for AWF's work throughout Africa. The Centre will also serve as a gathering place for conservationists, wildlife experts, and other constituents working to advance conservation across the Continent. The Conservation Centre will also serve as the permanent headquarters for AWF, which kicked off its 50th anniversary year at today's opening ceremony.
Founded in 1961, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) is a conservation organization focused solely on the African continent. AWF's programs and conservation strategies are based on sound science and designed to protect both the wild lands and wildlife of Africa and ensure a more sustainable future for Africa's people. Since its inception AWF has protected endangered species and land, promoted partnerships with the private sector for ecotourism to benefit local African communities as a means to improve livelihoods, and trained hundreds of African nationals in conservation -- all to ensure the survival of Africa's unparalleled wildlife heritage. AWF is a non-profit organization currently operating in 14 countries across the continent. AWF is a registered 501(c)(3) in the United States. Visit www.awf.org.
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