We take steps to protect wild lands where they are threatened by inappropriate development, legislation and overpopulation.
“Without wilderness, the legacy for future generations is a deeply impoverished planet: biologically, culturally, economically and spiritually. We must act immediately to keep Earth’s wilderness intact.” Chairman and the Executive Committee of WILD9, the 9th World Wilderness Congress 6-13 November 2009, Merida, Mexico
We seek new ways to raise the value of wilderness through economic, social and biodiversity programmes. We commission and carry out research which monitors the effect of wilderness experience on people and dwindling biodiversity across the world. Together with our sister organisations in South Africa and the USA, we partner the renowned World Wilderness Congress, held every four years in a different location across the world. This is the largest global forum for wilderness advocates and has been in existence since 1976,
In November 2009, WILD9 (the ninth World Wilderness Congress) hosted 1800 delegates from 50 countries in Merida, Mexico, and over 10,000 online participants from 100 countries. Opened by President Felipe Calderon, WILD9 conveyed a an extraordinary atmosphere of hope and enthusiasm. With the central theme of wilderness, people and climate change, the WILD9 process addressed the most imperative environmental issues, resulting in many specific outcomes summarized below:
- 44 targeted resolutions adopted, and available online for discussion and reporting on outcomes;
- The Message from Merida (El Mensaje de Merida): An international call to action with specific policy guidelines to integrate wilderness and biodiversity conservation into global climate change strategy. Delivered to Copenhagen with 75 organizational co-signers and still growing.
- The first international agreement on wilderness conservation, initiated by WILD and signed by the governments of Mexico, Canada and the US;
- The first-ever Corporate Commitment to Wilderness, a results-oriented initiative for wilderness, signed initially by 15 corporations, with others to follow;
- New protected areas in Mexico and elsewhere, including: a new private sector commitment of 50,000 hectares in the Carpathian mountains (Romania); the intention to create the first marine wilderness areas in the US and territories; a new coastal, Mangrove protected area in Mexico; and the commitment to significantly increase protected area coverage in the Yucatan;
- Engaging young professionals on substantive issues of wilderness, biodiversity and climate change;
- Creation of six new Intergovernmental Working Groups involving US, Canadian, Mexican, and other government agencies to stimulate ongoing collaboration on conservation matters;
- Extensive Government agency collaboration NGO and indigenous partners to strengthen peer-to-peer networks and produce numerous targeted trainings,
- Communications and Conservation – Integrating media, culture, public opinion, science and policy, through many popular and professional outlets;
- The formal launch of the Marine Wilderness Collaborative (MWC)
- Launch of a “New Vision for Protecting the Marine Wilderness of the Gulf of California”
- Announcements by the Government of Mexico on wilderness & water.
- Launch of WILD’s “At Least Half WILD”™ campaign – working with world-wide partners to protect at least half of the planet, land and sea, in an inter-connected way.
The Wilderness Foundation UK was delighted to participate in the congress and play an active role in achieving these outcomes.
Alongside our sister organisations Wild (USA) and the Wilderness Foundation South Africa we continue to work to preserve and promote wilderness worldwide. Our flagship Wilderness Action Programme in the UK is “Wild Britain”, while in South Africa it is the “Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve”.
Our flagship programmes are those that we believe highlight the relevance of wilderness in our work, but by no means overshadow the others that we are engaged in. We hope to showcase all these projects on an ongoing basis, sharing our visions and the practical application of how wilderness can act as a catalyst for positive change.