GRASP seeks to identify appropriate and inclusive high-quality and innovative conservation planning processes and to support national governments and other stakeholders in creating, adopting and implementing great ape action plans.
UNEP has provided funding to scientists from Harvard University, the Max Planck Institute, the Jane Goodall Institute and the Woods Hole Research Institute to produce indicative lists of priority populations in need of immediate conservation support. This list is being combined with the ongoing national planning processes to establish a number of national and scientific great ape conservation priorities for interested donors.
GRASP, in association with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, the Arcus Foundation, UNEP-WCMC and the Jane Goodall Institute, is developing a global database on great ape populations and habitats. The GRASP Scientific Commission believes that this database, known as A.P.E.S. (Ape Populations, Environments and Surveys) , will form the basis for GRASP priority decision-making. A.P.E.S. will be an open-access web-based database, and will be designed to help conservation managers, especially protected area authorities, in decision-making. Visit the APES Mapper website for details
GRASP focuses primarily on assisting great ape range states to produce a National Policy Document on Great Ape conservation. Known as National Great Ape Survival Plans (NGASPs), this process aims to provide a strategic framework to new and on-going conservation efforts within each range state, generate political commitment from range state governments and act as a mechanism to monitor and evaluate the conservation work being undertaken. GRASP provides ongoing support to the governments of Cameroon, DR Congo, Guinea, Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda to produce and implement their NGASPs. Requests for assistance with great ape planning from the governments of Gabon, Ghana and Nigeria have also been received by GRASP, and, under the guidance of the GRASP executive and scientific bodies, the feasibility of these requests is being assessed.
In addition to national planning mechanisms, GRASP has also provided support to the World Conservation Union (IUCN) regional great ape action plan processes in west and central Africa, which are complementary to the national policy instruments that GRASP promotes.
Technical Support Teams (TST) are one of the strengths within GRASP because of their ability to mobilize resources quickly and provide decisive action. Prominent examples include ad hoc support to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oils (RSPO), the implementation of a High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF) approach in Indonesia and Malaysia, the development of transboundary protected areas and peacebuilding processes in Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, DR Congo, Republic of Congo and Angola, and support to the ebola crisis in Congo. GRASP has also benefitted from technical support from the Born Free Foundation.
GRASP seeks to raise the profile and understanding of the threats facing great apes through education and publicity; to approach potential donors effectively with GRASP priority projects; and to organize high-level events and generate global support for great ape conservation projects. In order to achieve the above objectives, these activities focus in particular on establishing GRASP as a communication platform for dialogue among partner organizations, donor governments and interested parties and on educating local people and promoting cultural attitudes and traditions that are conducive to the conservation of great apes. GRASP Envoy Ian Redmond has provided steady support in this capacity since 2001.
The overall goal of the GRASP strategy is to lift the threat of extinction facing most populations of great apes, namely gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans; to conserve in their natural habitats wherever they exist, wild populations of all species and subspecies of great apes; and to ensure that, where apes interact with people, those interactions are mutually positive and sustainable.
From the beginning, GRASP's activities and workshops have helped define what strategy GRASP might adopt to address this crisis, given its unique position as a truly international alliance among relevant stakeholders.
National Great Ape Survival Plans (NGASPs) have helped great ape range states develop conservation strategies, scientific reports have raised the profile of the crisis, and the umbrella function of GRASP has improved communication and cooperation among non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and provided valuable insights into the challenges of addressing the problem at the global level.
GRASP is a unique mix of UN agencies, governments, civil society and private sector members. An international Executive Committee guides the work of GRASP and an independant Scientific Commission provides advice on great ape conservation priorities. The GRASP coordinating team sits at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.
GRASP's overall strategy is:
High-level national and intergovernmental dialogue to generate political will and influence policy for great ape conservation globally.
Promote international dialogue on great ape conservation at the highest levels among donor and range state governments, institutions and other stakeholders.
Strengthen collaboration with the relevant biodiversity-related multilateral environmental agreements, including CITES, CMS, WHC, CBD and Ramsar.
Engage intergovernmental bodies (NEPAD, AMCEN, European Union, ASEAN, etc), international financial institutions (World Bank, IMF, Export Credit Agencies, etc), other relevant multilateral organizations (ITTO, ATO, etc) and UN agencies to include biodiversity conservation, with a particular emphasis on great apes, as a key factor in establishing programme priorities at the national, regional and international levels.
Planning and monitoring at the national, regional and international levels to help bring the decline of great ape populations to a halt.
Identify priority populations of great apes for conservation and to formulate and begin the implementation of detailed national, regional and international conservation plans for all high-priority populations.
Design and initiate a system for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of great ape conservation efforts at regional and international levels
Work with range state governments to facilitate and assist in the development of national policies to advance the conservation of great apes.
Development and promotion of best practices, cooperation and technical support between stakeholders.
Promote greater cooperation and communication between all stakeholders (including local communities) in governance and priority setting for great ape conservation, through such activities as the:
Provision of technical and other support to range state authorities to increase capacity to manage great ape populations and their habitat sustainably
Organization of regional and other law enforcement training activities and workshops for relevant officials and experts to address illegal trade and resource extraction issues.
Develop and replicate best practices to address common threats facing the great apes, with a focus on special projects such as:
Joint initiatives to address deforestation and habitat loss involving governments and representatives of extractive (timber, oil, mining) and forest conversion (plantations, palm oil) industries, with a particular focus on Central Africa and Southeast Asia in cooperation with national ministries, the private sector and multilateral institutions
Those that identify and implement effective and adaptable common approaches to unresolved issues such as the bushmeat crisis and interspecies disease transmission
Other pilot projects in key fields where GRASP has a competitive advantage such as those with transboundary collaboration, peace-building and integrated conservation and sustainable development opportunities.
Media, information and public awareness to mitigate the threats facing the great apes.
Initiate and facilitate interested GRASP members to undertake a locally-adapted great ape public information and awareness raising conservation education campaign in priority regions of the African and Southeast Asian great ape range states.
Increase current efforts to present great ape information to key decision makers and staff in relevant national, intergovernmental and donor institutions, the United Nations system and the corporate sector, including dissemination through the media.
New and additional funding for great ape conservation.
Raise new and additional funding to achieve the preceding priority actions for great ape conservation from donor governments, intergovernmental and multilateral bodies and corporate sponsors.
Adopted at the first GRASP Council Meeting in Kinshasa on the 7th of September 2005, the official and detailed Global strategy for the survival of great apes and their habitat highlights the strategy objectives and actions at different levels.
Global strategy for the survival of Great Apes and their habitat [English] [Français]
APES Mapper Website
Mayombe Transboundary Initiative
Tai-Sapo Transboundary Initiative [www.Tai-Sapo.org]
© 2012 Great Apes Survival Partnership