The Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) was launched in 2001 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to help lift the threat of imminent extinction faced by gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans in Africa and Asia.
GRASP is a unique mix of United Nations agencies, governments (mainly the great ape range states), donors, international and national conservation organizations, the scientific community and private sector companies. GRASP is led by UNEP and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
GRASP unites all the principal institutional actors in great ape conservation in a concerted approach to halt a major extinction crisis. Due to its status as a World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) Type II Partnership and its position within the United Nations system, GRASP has a unique and vital role in great ape conservation ,complementing the efforts of individuals and organizations through appropriate diplomatic channels.
The following are some of the attributes of GRASP and the added value that it brings to the global conservation effort:
As a WSSD Type II Partnership, hosted within the UN system, GRASP has the potential to engage governments and intergovernmental organizations in a systematic way beyond the reach of individual conservation organizations. GRASP's focus on great apes enables it to concentrate exclusively on the threats facing chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos and orangutans, while benefitting from and contributing to other global initiatives which support conservation efforts in great ape range states. GRASP uses this unique positioning to place great ape conservation on the political agenda in both great ape range and donor states.
By engaging all major stakeholders in great ppe conservation, both governmental and non-governmental, GRASP provides a broad, global overview of the issues and priorities in all 23 great ape range states in Africa and Asia . GRASP offers a unique framework wherein coherent plans for great ape conservation can be developed and implemented at international, regional, national and community levels.
The GRASP Council, GRASP Executive Committee, GRASP Scientific Commission and GRASP Secretariat do not seek to create an enabling framework within which GRASP members can work together to ensure the coherence of their activities.
GRASP contains a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the form of individuals, organisations and institutions. In order to ensure maximum efficiency and avoid duplicating existing activities, the GRASP Secretariat facilitates communication and promotes synergies and cooperation between existing initiatives partners.
GRASP's collaborative potential is evidenced through its involvement with great ape range states and local communities in governance and priority setting, the development and replication of best practices to address issues such as deforestation, bushmeat and disease while enabling (1) increased capacities to manage natural and wildlife resources and national law enforcement, (2) transboundary conservation and peacebuilding initiatives and (3) integrated sustainable development and conservation activities.
With access to international news media, GRASP is able to increase both the profile and the scope of great ape conservation-related publicity and awareness raising messages. GRASP speaks for great apes with a unified, credible and well-recognized voice, and has the clout to provide an important communication platform necessary to both inform key decision-makers and create innovative and appropriate methods of awareness raising at all levels.
The collaborative potential of online communications and social media has become a great asset to GRASP and offers a new international platform in which to inspire dialogue, cooperation and action towards great ape conservation.
As an international coalition of organizations from both the private and public sectors seated within the UN system, GRASP is uniquely positioned to leverage new sources of funding for great ape conservation. The non-partisan status of GRASP provides access to governmental and intergovernmental financial resources previously unavailable to conservation efforts.
The bulk of the new and additional funding has in the past and will continue to originate from institutions such as the Global Environmental Facility, the World Bank Group, the European Commission, bilateral (donor governments), the United Nations and large corporate donors.
GRASP is not a major new funding mechanism or institution, nor will it compete with traditional GRASP member sources of conservation financing. The added value of GRASP, a WSSD Type II Partnership, was clearly demonstrated during the Intergovernmental Meeting (IGM) on Great Apes and the first GRASP Council Meeting in Kinshasa.
The IGM, which brought together over 200 international delegates, as well as more than 300 participants from the DR Congo, resulted in the adoption of four key Official Documents: (1) the Global Strategy for the Survival of the Great Apes and their Habitat, (2) Rules for the Organization and Management of the GRASP Partnership, (3) the GRASP Partnership Outline Workplan 2003-2007 and (4) the GRASP Partnership: A Distinctive Approach - Current Priorities.
The most significant output of the IGM, however, was the adoption of the Kinshasa Declaration, a high-level political statement on the future of great apes. By signing this declaration, the 76 representatives - including 16 range states, six donor countries, 25 non-governmental organzations (NGOs), two multilateral environment agreements (MEAs) and two intergovernmental organizations - affirmed their will to protect the charismatic species for the first time in history. This major historical event was showcased as front-page news worldwide.
Structure of the Partnership
GRASP Programme of Action [English] [Français]
The GRASP Partnership - A Distinctive Approach Current Priorities [English] [Français]
© 2012 Great Apes Survival Partnership