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Please see our statement about biodiversity offsets and compensatory mitigation. We believe that if a project destroys any ape habitat or harms apes, the project should pay “damages,” which is our preferred term over "offsets" or "compensation". The term “damages” acknowledges a wrongdoing and does not try to mask what has been taken by terms such as “no-net-loss,” or “net-gain.” We do not use the terms “no-net-loss,” or “net-gain” in reference to apes because we do not believe that the loss of the life of even one ape should be measured in “net” terms or can described in any way as a “gain.”

We do not believe that damages should be paid in terms of activities that are difficult to quantify, such as capacity building, education or awareness campaigns, and support to ape sanctuaries. These activities should be supported through the project's mitigation strategy, however additional concrete actions must be taken to compensate appropriately for damages to apes. We believe that damages should be paid in terms of protecting areas of important ape habitat where populations are below carrying capacity, or under threat, or where increased protection can increase the number of apes present in the long-term. We also believe in investing in areas that are priorities within a strategic plan, rather than isolated set asides that are biologically meaningless.

While our emphasis is on great apes, these species are an integral part of the habitat in which they live. This habitat has value for ecosystem services and it also provides home to many other species as well.  Loss of habitat does not just impact apes, but also the many people who rely on the services it provides and the species who rely on it for shelter and food. We thus prefer to look at impacts and damages in a holistic way, rather than apes as separate from these ecosystems.

We can work with you to layout what sort of damages would be considered acceptable to the IUCN SSC PSG SGA/SSA Specialist Groups. We can also work with you to follow Best Practice Guidelines for sustainable financial models. Finally, we can issue an IUCN Statement concerning your final compensation proposal. We would request that all of these documents are eventually made public on our website.

Bossou with Mt. Leclerc in the background 21.8.2012 (2).JPG

© Maegan Fitzgerald

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