Historic Paro Statement: Bhutan and Tiger Conservation Coalition Commit mobilizing USD1 Billion for Tigers

As the curtains on the Sustainable Finance for Tiger Landscapes Conference held in Paro drew, it left a resounding mark on global conservation efforts. Hosted by the Royal Government of Bhutan under the Royal patronage of Her Majesty The Queen, Jetsun Pema Wangchuck, and the Tiger Conservation Coalition, this event brought together a diverse array of stakeholders united in their commitment to tiger conservation.

High-level representatives from ten tiger range countries, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam, convened to discuss progress and ambitions for conserving their tiger landscapes. The conference also welcomed esteemed speakers such as His Royal Highness Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah, Crown Prince of Pahang, Tshering Tobgay, the Prime Minister of Bhutan, Carlos Manuel Rodrรญguez, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility, and WWF-US President and CEO Carter Roberts, alongside multilateral banks and leaders in the financial sector.

A pivotal moment of the conference came with the issuance of the Paro Statement, inviting participants to join a shared commitment to catalyze an additional USD1 billion to conserve tigers and their landscapes over the next decade. These funds will not only contribute to securing and increasing global tiger population numbers but also to expanding tiger ranges and restoring the ecological integrity of tiger landscapes, benefiting both the species and local communities.

Carter Roberts, CEO of WWF-US, emphasized the significant progress made in tiger conservation over the last decade, attributing it to remarkable collaborations between tiger range countries, local communities, and organizations such as those represented in the Tiger Conservation Coalition.

Bhutanโ€™s innovative financing program, Bhutan for Life, played a pivotal role in boosting the countryโ€™s tiger population by 27%, setting the stage for the Sustainable Finance for Tiger Conference and the Paro Statement. Discussions at the conference rallied governments, organizations, and world leaders towards the ambitious goal of mobilizing a USD1 billion financing strategy to restore tiger populations and secure their critical landscapes over the next decade.

The Paro Statement signifies a dedication to implementing innovative finance solutions, fostering international and public-private collaboration, and supporting national-level initiatives that ensure the well-being of these majestic creatures and their ecosystems.

Looking forward, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) presented the Tiger Landscapes Investment Fund, a new financial mechanism aimed at promoting the coexistence of humans and tigers while protecting biodiversity and furthering sustainable development in tiger landscapes.

Additionally, the Asian Development Bank expressed its intention to explore opportunities to support relevant countries with innovative financing instruments such as the Tiger Bond.

In a closing statement, Lobzang Dorji, Director of the Department of Forests and Park Services expressed gratitude to all participants for their dedication to the cause and emphasized the importance of continued collaboration to achieve the ambitious goals outlined in the Paro Statement.

The conference, was held earlier this week andย  marks the first step in a ten-year collaborative process towards securing sustainable financing for the conservation of tiger landscapes, heralding a brighter future for these iconic species and the ecosystems they inhabit.

By Tashi Namgyal, Thimphu