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  • Earth Hour 2020 goes Digital in Solidarity with People and the Planet

    Earth Hour is one of the world's largest grassroots movements for the environment. © WWFOn Saturday, 28 March, Earth Hour, one of the world's largest grassroots movements for the environment, will once again inspire individuals, businesses and organisations in over 180 countries and territories to renew their commitment to the planet.
    In the midst of the global COVID-19 health crisis, Earth Hour marks a moment of solidarity for the planet as global communities unite and organise events digitally. Consequently, WWF Central and Eastern Europe and the national offices that comprise it (WWF-Bulgaria, WWF-Hungary, WWF-Romania, WWF-Slovakia and WWF-Ukraine) will commemorate Earth Hour 2020 completely online this year. People-led initiatives around the world like Earth Hour are vital to continue to inspire awareness on the importance of nature and prompt action to help deliver a nature positive world by the end of the decade.
    Greta Thunberg, climate and environmental activist, said, "Earth Hour for me is every hour of every day. The need to unite and protect our planet has never been greater. As we have been asked to avoid public gatherings to slow the spreading of the COVID-19 (coronavirus), I recommend everyone to come together virtually for #EarthHour to renew our commitment to the planet and use our voices to drive action online safely and responsibly. This Earth Hour, 28th March at 8:30pm, I urge you all to turn off the lights and use the hour to engage your online community to pledge support at Voice for the Planet. We must look after one another and the one home we all share. Stand with me and millions around the world to make this Earth Hour a moment to show your united presence. Let us raise our collective voices online to help ensure a cleaner, safer and greener future for everyone."
    Earth Hour is an opportunity for us to reflect, think and talk about the relationship between the planet and humankind. We have the chance now to show empathy and #ConnectWithHumanity During this Earth Hour. We ask people to use this time of darkness to think about how we can switch back on the lights for our civilization and live in harmony with the rest of nature. During the following days, help each other while helping the planet! Help the most vulnerable population by offering to shop or go to the pharmacy for them if you are going anyway, taking their dog for a walk, or helping them connect digitally to their loved ones. Swap supplies, help occupy a friend's kids online for an hour, and download some of WWF's fun online nature activities. Most importantly, speak to your family and friends about the future of our planet. How will you change your behaviour post-Covid19 that will have a positive impact on the planet?
    With nature loss continuing unabated, Earth Hour 2020 draws attention to the immediate need for halting nature and biodiversity loss for our health and well-being. The global moment comes ahead of world leaders scheduled to take critical decisions on nature, climate change and development.  Earth Hour marks a pivotal opportunity for civil society members, citizens, nation heads, CEOs and environmentalists to demonstrate the need for a New Deal for Nature and People by pledging their support at

    Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International, said, "We are deeply saddened by the loss of lives from the COVID-19 outbreak and our thoughts are with the families who have lost loved ones or who are sick. In this hour of crisis, we need to unite now more than ever to safeguard our future and the future of our planet. It is a time for solidarity and a time to respond to challenges more creatively and work more collaboratively, which is why Earth Hour is being marked through digital events across the globe. Nature is the lifeline for the 7.6 billion people inhabiting planet Earth. It underpins our societies and economies and is one of our greatest allies in combating the climate crisis. But today nature is failing like never before. We are destroying the natural systems we rely on for our health and well-being faster than they can replenish themselves - jeopardizing our own survival and existence. Earth Hour 2020 offers a key opportunity for all of us to join millions of people to raise their voice for securing an international commitment to stop and reverse the loss of nature. In this challenging time, we must look after one another and the one home we all share - the imperative in making a difference for our collective future is now greater than ever."
    What's happening?
    WWF-Hungary is launching a 10-day social media challenge starting on Earth Hour. They are asking people to make a commitment to nature, and to tell us (using 3 hashtags, such as #earthhour2020) what they are going to change in their lives for good when the current situation comes to an end. A number of celebrities and influencers are publically taking up the challenge and encourage their friends and followers to participate, and other environmental NGOs are also communicating both the switch-off and the challenge this year. 
    Being out in nature and with people are some of the things we are missing the most, but at least we can connect with many of our loved ones digitally. This is not so easy with nature. WWF-Slovakia has launched a social media #TogetherInNature challenge to help us virtually connect to nature. The campaign aims to spread positive emotions and boost social interactions with friends by talking about their experiences in nature. Individuals, companies and influencers are sharing their last photos in nature with their families, friends and colleagues.
    WWF-Ukraine is using Earth Hour to encourage changes in personal habits that can help halt biodiversity and habitat loss, and restore nature. A number of corporations and influencers have joined the Earth Hour campaign and are helping to create a "digital wave" of support for a New Deal for Nature and People.
    WWF-Romania is reminding everyone that the core of the movement is #togetherpossible. Millions of people united, despite the distances, switching off their lights together, including your family, friends and colleagues is an act of local and global solidarity. To help people feel less alone, less isolated while they #stayhome, and encourage them to participate in this landmark event, finalist of The Voice – Romania Dora Gaitanovici, and the band Rockabella are going to perform live from their own living rooms. The film "American Parks" will be premiered with an online guided tour of 11 US national parks in a quest to find out how nature conservation began in the US, and what we can learn from their protected areas.
    WWF-Bulgaria's digital Earth Hour will focus on the importance of forests, particularly riparian forests, and their key role in managing climate change, flood prevention, improving water quality and providing important green corridors and wildlife habitats. Among the many WWF influencers posting videos on WWF's Facebook page in support of the event, Bulgaria's Eurovision representative Viktoria Georgieva will be the main ambassador, and Boyana Zhelyazkova will stream a LIVE fairytale concert for the Earth.

    Help WWF in Central and Eastern Europe make the New Deal for Nature and People a reality. Switch off March 28, 20:30 your time. Make your VOICE for the planet heard: earthhour.org/voice
    Link to virtual events
    Link to Earth Hour site
    Watch the Earth Hour 2020 Theme Song- Rock the World by The Script
    Link to Earth Hour 2019 photos
    Link to New Deal for Nature & People
    About Earth Hour
    Earth Hour is WWF's flagship global environmental movement. Born in Sydney in 2007, Earth Hour has grown to become one of the world's largest grassroots movements for the environment, inspiring individuals, communities, businesses and organisations in more than 180 countries and territories to take tangible environmental action for over a decade. Historically, Earth Hour has focused on the climate crisis, but more recently, Earth Hour has strived to also bring the pressing issue of nature loss to the fore. The aim is to create an unstoppable movement for nature, as it did when the world came together to tackle climate change. The movement recognises the role of individuals in creating solutions to the planet's most pressing environmental challenges and harnesses the collective power of its millions of supporters to drive change.

  • Poachers are not Afraid of Viruses: 2 Sturgeon Rescues, 2 Countries, 2 Days

    More than 100 karmaci, long lines with hundreds of hooks, have already been seized in Bulgaria this year.  © Executive Agency of Fisheries and Aquaculture, BulgariaPoachers are not afraid of viruses. Fortunately, the Ukrainian Izmail Frontier Detachment, the Bulgarian Border Police and the Executive Agency of Fisheries and Aquaculture (EAFA) are still very active during this most important period of #sturgeon migration and spawning in the Danube.
    More than 100 karmaci, long lines with hundreds of hooks, have already been seized in Bulgaria this year. On March 19 alone, more than 40 karmaci were seized near the Bulgarian town of Kozlodui. A 100 kg #Beluga sturgeon was found alive and hooked on one of them. Given the timing and the sturgeon's body shape (size), he probably spawned within the last few days. The inspectors were able to safely return the sturgeon to the river. WWF-Bulgaria experts from the Life for Danube Sturgeons Project could only be on the scene virtually.
    On March 20, the Ukrainian Izmail Frontier Detachment seized a 2 m, 150 kg pregnant Beluga sturgeon from two fishermen near the town of Vilkovo. The sturgeon was successfully released back into the Danube, and criminal proceedings were initiated against the fishermen.
    Massive layoffs due to Covid-19 may put even more pressure on this, the most endangered species on the planet, as people search for alternative income sources. Protecting sturgeon and their habitats is crucial if we are to achieve the New Deal for Nature and People's goal of zero biodiversity and habitat loss by 2030. Add your voice for the planet � panda.org/voice

    For more information:
    Roselina Stoeva
    Project Coordinator and Regional Communications Officer for Sturgeons,
    Tel: +359 885995559

    Tetiana Karpiuk
    Communication Officer,
    Tel: +38 0973910003

    WWF is engaged in sturgeon protection measures in most Danube countries. Sturgeons used to be present in almost all European rivers, but today seven out of the eight species of sturgeon on the European continent are threatened with extinction. Sturgeons have survived the dinosaurs, but now teeter on the brink of extinction. The Black Sea Region is crucial to the survival of these species in Europe. The Danube and the Rioni River in Georgia are the only two rivers remaining in Europe where migrating sturgeons reproduce naturally. The main reasons are overfishing and loss of habitat through dams that block migration routes or in-river constructions, facilitating navigation. These are often detrimental to the feeding and spawning habitats, necessary for sturgeon survival. Within the EU the only river with naturally reproducing sturgeon populations remains the Danube. Crucial but no longer reproductive stocks are left in the Po River in Italy and the Gironde in France. Restocking activities take place in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, France, Germany, Poland, Austria and the Netherlands. Our priority is to identify and protect the critical habitats of the remaining four sturgeon species (Huso huso, Acipenser stellatus, A. ruthenus, A. gueldenstaedtii) in the Lower Danube and north-western Black Sea, as well as to reduce pressure on their remaining populations by addressing poaching and ensuring protection.
    The EU-funded LIFE project "Sustainable Protection of Lower Danube Sturgeons by Preventing and Counteracting Poaching and Illegal Wildlife Trade" is coordinated by WWF-Austria and implemented by WWF- Austria, WWF-Bulgaria, WWF-Romania, WWF-Serbia and WWF-Ukraine, together with the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Authority in Romania and IZW Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Germany. It started in October 2016 and will continue until the end of 2020. More on the project and its work to save Danube sturgeons: danube-sturgeons.org

  • Enhancing National Climate Plans Through Nature-Based Solutions

    The Bukit Tigapuluh, or

    Under the Paris Agreement, countries can take more ambitious action on climate change by updating their climate plans (Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs) in 2020. A new set of recommendations from WWF explores how these climate plans should include the opportunities offered by Nature-based Solutions. 

    Nature-based Solutions are ecosystem conservation, management and restoration interventions designed to address a wide array of societal challenges, while also benefiting biodiversity and human well-being. Recently, Nature-based Solutions have emerged as essential tools to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. 

    To help countries in their efforts to take more ambitious climate action, WWF reviewed current guidance from several institutions on using Nature-based Solutions for climate change and how nature-based solutions were featured in existing NDCs.

    From this review, we developed 8 simple recommendations that, if followed, will help countries show strong commitments to Nature-based Solutions.

    This guidance was developed as a contribution to the NDC Partnership and made possible by the Support Project for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement (SPA), which is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenrarbeit (GIZ) and funded by the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) under its International Climate Initiative (IKI).