messages from ifaw
message from the chairman of the board
Impact-based solutions to complex challenges
As the challenges of 2020 have tested the resolve of so many people and organisations worldwide, I am optimistic and inspired by the achievements and resilience of IFAW’s diverse initiatives, pushing forward the powerful principles of animal welfare and conservation. As uncertainty looms and daily routines are disrupted, I am reminded of the intensely interwoven relationships that exist between humanity and the world’s rich wildlife.
Global challenges ranging from the devastating COVID-19 pandemic to the massive Australia bushfires and beyond, 2020 has reminded us all that vital work must continue regardless of the difficulties faced. IFAW has not only understood this throughout its half-century of history but has committed itself outright, adapting to a world whose challenges have grown ever-more complex and broader in scale.
During my career, I’ve focused on driving strategies that leverage the critical intersection between systems, science, and solutions. As Chairman of IFAW’s Global Boards of Directors, I have witnessed firsthand the strategic, impact-based solutions that IFAW and its diverse global staff employ, on a daily basis, to ensure animals and people thrive together. These strategies have resulted in success across multiple sectors, and IFAW’s tireless dedication to animal welfare and conservation’s fundamental ideals continues to inspire me even through these toughest of times.
My time with IFAW has taught me many critical lessons in this field of animal welfare and conservation. One such less is that community-based solutions are essential to delivering both immediate and lasting impact. There is no one-size-fits-all solution in conservation and innovative approaches are vital to confronting the challenges of our day.
These challenges are not limited to our relationship with the environment or its rich wildlife. We have seen enormous social struggles in the necessary pursuit of racial equity across much of society. This fundamental pursuit of equality that IFAW has embraced ensures transparency and commitment to the critical pillars of JEDI—Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. As community is crucial to the success of IFAW’s projects across 40 different countries, a healthy and transparent internal community aware of and committed to these ideals is just as fundamental to ensuring long-term success.
The enormous number of endangered animal populations and the need for immediate action to address issues ranging from habitat loss to climate change and even beyond to unforeseen natural disasters gives further credence to the cornerstone of IFAW's philosophy—that individual animals matter. They can mean the difference between the very survival of a species or its ultimate extinction.
Like my predecessors before me, I am privileged to lead a Board that is resoundingly committed to fulfilling its duties and IFAW’s mission of ensuring that both animals and people thrive together. Across virtually every continent and scores of project sites all over the world, IFAW will continue to engage in critical life-saving work, relying on open and honest collaboration with governments, communities, and conservation NGOs. Whether driving legislative change at the country level or international change to tackle increasing threats such as the global trade in illegal wildlife, IFAW will be at the forefront with fundamental strategies and on-the-ground actions that will allow us to continue securing wildlife worldwide.
IFAW and I are aware that we cannot do it alone. The support of our donors and supporters is unwavering and essential to IFAW's ability to achieve our shared mission.
On behalf of the Boards of Directors and the incredible people that make up IFAW, I thank you for your support. We are united not only as a human community but also as a global community living amongst our shared planet’s rich wildlife.
With immense gratitude and humility on behalf of the International Fund for Animal Welfare,
Mark T. Beaudouin
Chairman of the Global Boards of Directors
message from the CEO
Ever-critical work for a more hopeful future
The year 2020 will be seared into our collective memory as one of the most challenging in modern human history. As the COVID-19 pandemic has upended so many aspects of our daily lives, we find ourselves at a crossroads. Do we heed the flashing warning signs and lessons that Mother Nature teaches us, or do we continue humanity’s exploitation of wildlife and the degradation of the planet?
The challenges faced in 2020 have only reinforced my belief in the ever-critical work IFAW has done over the past half-century. It is work we proudly continue during the pandemic. As you have no doubt done for your own families, my priority has been to keep the IFAW family safe, adapting as necessary to ensure our global work can continue during even the darkest of times.
I am captivated by our staff’s resilience and persistence to ensure our programmatic initiatives continue. We can only continue because of our donors’ unwavering support. You understand that this work can't be set aside for a later date—it must continue regardless of the obstacles. We are in the business of saving lives, and as stewards of nature and this shared planet, we must protect its abundant yet fragile wildlife resources.
IFAW has championed fundamental ideals thanks to diverse projects and collaboration from across the globe. We believe individual animals matter, conservation must always include people, and trust must be earned. In 1969, IFAW took on one problem threatening one species in one part of the world, ultimately saving more than 1 million seal pups with the ban on whitecoat harp seal products.
Since that time, we have taken on more problems threatening more species in over 40 countries worldwide. Rescuing more animals and securing more habitats than at any other point in our history, as an organisation, we once again reaffirm our commitment to building a world where animals and people thrive together.
This year has brought numerous challenges alongside the COVID-19 global pandemic, including a steady drumbeat of climate-related disasters, from massive bushfires in Australia to the fury of Hurricane Dorian in the Caribbean. Despite these trials, we made tremendous progress. For example, we protected keystone species in Africa thanks to the fortitude of IFAW’s Team Lioness, an all-female team of rangers. We conserved landscape in Greater Manas, India. After 17 years of IFAW-led action at the local level, we've finally seen an end to whaling in Iceland. These are but a few of the milestones achieved during a year when the odds were against us.
Challenges we face at the social level further illuminate the inherent need to come together as a human community. Without the active inclusion of our diverse global community, we could not continue to tell the IFAW story—a story where we are driven to save lives every day.
Humans and nature’s connection is more apparent than ever. The work outlined in this annual report demonstrates our vision for a future that redefines the relationship between humankind and the natural world.
We thank you for being a part of our collective story, for placing trust in us and our work for animals, people and the place we call home.
To continued success and toward a more hopeful future for all,
Azzedine T. Downes
President & CEO
International Fund for Animal Welfare
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