© Karine Aigner/WWF-US
WWF understands that conservation and regeneration are about people, their behavior, and their attitude towards nature.

The decisions people take in making efforts to conserve nature are highly interlinked with culture, wealth, ethnicity, religion, and gender. This complex system of beliefs and values can create connections - but also disputes - between people. To ensure the protection of both people and nature, our social policies guide all WWF activities.

© Nabin Baral/Hariyo Ban Program/WWF Nepal

Environmental and Social Safeguards

WWF’s Environmental and Social Safeguards Framework (ESSF) provides an institutional mechanism to manage the environmental and social risks of WWF’s work, helps deliver better conservation outcomes, and enhances the social well-being of local communities in the places where WWF operates.

The safeguards framework is designed to address a broad range of environmental and social risks, mindful of the different challenges and needs in different parts of the world.

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© WWF Nepal/Hariyo Ban Program

Free, Prior and Informed Consent

Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) is an established right of Indigenous Peoples which recognizes their collective rights over their collective domains such as land, territories and resources. 
WWF Nepal conducts the FPIC process if activities carried out by WWF Nepal directly results in negative impacts such as access restriction. All such efforts are carried out in consultation and in keeping with implementation arrangements in the Terai Arc Landscape, and the approval of community governance structures.
WWF Nepal has collaborated with National Foundation for Development of Indigenous Nationalities (NFDIN) to design a national guideline for Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of Indigenous Peoples which will be endorsed their council. 

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One of the Dalit members, Til Maya Sarki of Pachakanya CLAC, Dhading, listening attentively to a CLAC session.

© FECOFUN Dhading/ Hariyo Ban Program, Susma Silwal

Human Rights Based Approach

WWF Nepal aims to promote positive links between conservation and rights of people to secure their livelihoods, enjoy healthy and productive environments and live with dignity. 

WWF Nepal is committed towards respecting and promoting human rights within its scope of conservation initiatives, while also recognizing the role and contribution of Indigenous Peoples. 

© WWF Nepal, Hariyo Ban Program/ Nabin Baral

Gender Equality and Social Inclusion

Gender equality is a fundamental human right, and a necessary foundation for a sustainable, resilient and peaceful world in which people live in harmony with nature. The objective of gender equality is to ensure a society in which women, men, boys, girls and people of other gender minorities, have access to the same opportunities, rights and obligations in all spheres of life. WWF considers gender equality essential to achieve sustainable and inclusive conservation as well as human wellbeing. 

Activities supported by WWF Nepal emphasize on increasing access to poor, Dalits, women and excluded groups to resource and opportunity and implement program that empower and benefits to them.

Nepal's Environment and Social Safeguards Process

WWF has developed a Safeguards Screening Tool (SST) under which an ESSF screening has been completed for the Terai Arc Landscape and Mountain Landscapes in Nepal. ESSF screening identifies and suggests possible steps to mitigate those risks associated with WWF’s activities in its working landscapes. Three issue areas corresponding to the substantive ESSF standards has been identified in both landscapes:

- Community Health and Safety
- Indigenous Peoples, and
- Restrictions to Access to Resources. 


The safeguards reviewer categorizes the landscape into one of the following risk categories and records the outcome in the categorization memo. The memo shall clarify whether any additional assessment (e.g. an environmental and social impact assessment) is required, and if so, the scope and content of such. 

As a result of the screening exercise, projects will be categorized according to their risk level.
Category A: High-risk projects
Category B: Medium-risk projects and
Category C: Low-risk projects.

Terai Arc Landscape and Mountain Landscape falls under medium risks category.

A mitigation plan has been developed for the Terai Arc Landscape to guide WWF Nepal in its program design. It will be applied to project implementation, monitoring, and evaluation for all activities supported by WWF across this landscape. 

The Terai Arc Landscape Program runs with a holistic approach for ecosystem conservation through multi-stakeholder engagement and coordination at federal, province and local levels. The Terai Arc Landscape Strategy envisions enhancing the governance mechanism at each level through institutional arrangements across stakeholders working in the landscape. It starts with participatory planning through inclusion of community based organizations, community ownership, and monitoring of progress.