COVID-19 Statement from AWF CEO Kaddu Sebunya
UPDATE JUNE 15, 2020: See AWF's updated COVID-19 Emergency Response Framework
COVID-19 STATEMENT April 23, 2020:
The impact of coronavirus is being felt across the world and conservation projects are no different.
These are extraordinary, challenging times. I hope you and your families are well and able to take the necessary precautions to stay safe. Because I know you care about AWF and our work on behalf of African wildlife, wild lands and the communities living with and around them, I thought you would appreciate a quick update on how we are dealing with COVID 19.
We’re ensuring the safety of staff, communities, wildlife, and supporters. First and foremost, we must look out for one another’s safety, including our families, colleagues, communities, and wildlife. AWF is working to ensure the wellbeing of our staff across Africa, Europe, and the U.S., and to date, everyone is safe. We have designed a special task force to monitor the situation across all of the countries we work in and take real-time action in response.
We’re continuing to deliver our programs and fight for Africa’s wildlife. We remain focused on delivering on our programs on behalf of wildlife and wild lands. AWF is fully operational at this time, but we are already preparing for our programs to inevitably be impacted. We are currently doing a project by project assessment, and adjusting work plans accordingly, and we will be communicating with impacted communities, partners, investors, and our supporters on a regular basis.
We’re equipped to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on wildlife, funding, communities, and economies. When it has run its course, this global pandemic will undoubtedly be responsible for untold damage to families, communities, and nations across the world — but it will also significantly impact Africa’s wildlife and wild lands. Travel and tourism are plummeting. Budgeted revenue from the safari industry — much of which is dedicated to wildlife protection and protected area management — is down…way down. And it hasn’t reached the bottom yet. Wildlife and those dedicated to protecting it will pay a heavy price.
But AWF is no stranger to crises. When poaching escalated rapidly about 10 years ago, we pivoted our focus to handle the crisis with urgent action and partnership with the most effective groups already on the ground. And, as this current crisis unfolds, rest assured AWF will continue to dedicate ourselves to creative solutions with our myriad of partners and dedicated supporters to ensure wildlife and wild lands thrive.
As we all hunker down, doing our part to slow the spread of this virus, it also offers us time to reflect on how connected we all are around the world, and how our daily decisions and actions can impact the planet. I am more convinced than ever that AWF’s direction and approach are on right on target. We are fortunate to count you among our friends, and your dedication to African conservation has never been more important. My heartfelt thanks.