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EU policy: WWF on the gravy train

2014-03-01 04:23:00

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Further investigating the footprint left by NGOs in the development and implementation of policy related to water habitats (including flood management), I was intrigued to see how often WWF came into the picture. As far as the EU was concerned, this particular NGO is a major partner in the policy-making and implementation process.

Furthermore as one might expect from a supranational construct policy is no longer made at a national level, but on a Europe-wide and even international basis, with results of findings being fed into the centre and guidelines being developed to cover all member states, in what is called the Common Implementation strategy.

Therefore, apart from nationally-rooted NGOs such as RSPB (which also gets involved in Europe-wide schemes), the only way you can fully appreciate how firmly NGOs such as WWF have hitched themselves to the EU Gravy Train is to track them down at the international level.

And if between 2007-2012 the RSPB netted over 14 million in EU funds to secure a first class seat on the gravy train, the WWF reserved itself a private carriage, grabbing a massive 53,813,343 for its services to itself and the EU empire.

The range of projects is quite staggering and if we start in 2007 at the beginning of our period, we see the WWF pocketing 8,573,049 in EU funds. That also includes an operating grant to WWF European Policy Office in Brussels of 632,675.

The money is by no means confined to EU countries, as we see the Swiss branch of the WWF managing a project on "Strengthening Indigenous Community Based Forest Enterprises (CBFEs) in Priority Ecoregions in Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Africa", which attracted 3,499,999 in EU funds.

Bizarrely we in 2007 also see the UK branch running a project which got 750,000 in EU funding, but this is for "Reducing poverty in Rufiji-Mafia-Kilwa, Tanzania, through improved livelihoods and sustainable coastal and marine resource management".

The year 2008 sees 9,013,943 of EU money filling WWF pockets. To get this, the UK branch manages another overseas project, this one attracting 1,988,158 in EU funds. It aimed to promote "sustainable and responsible trade promoted to wood processing SMEs through forest and trade networks in China, India and Vietnam". 642,600 went to the European office in Brussels.

The German branch, incidentally, fronts a 279,840 project on "local initiatives to create opportunities for children, young people and women of Udege and Nanai tribes in the Bikin River area, Russian Far East", while the Hungary branch looks after the "conservation of alluvial habitats of community interest" which attracts 1,075,896 in EU funding.

In 2009, the WWF does less well, attracting a mere 5,776,115, which includes 661,878 to run the Brussels office. But in 2010 funding soars to a record amount for the period, adding no less than 14,672,869 including 621,503 for the Brussels voice.

The year 2011 sees the EU contribution drop down to 6,088,216, with only 594,157 going to the Brussels office but, in 2012 the EU contribution to the WWF climbs to 9, 689,151, with the now statutory operating grant for the European Policy Office in Brussels standing at 559,974.

In 2012, we see 2,405,679 going to Tanzania for "building effective long term fisheries co-management in five coastal districts, and promoting coast-wide learning on the same", a scheme managed by WWF Tanzania.

The UK branch of the WWF got to manage a scheme called: "Celtic Seas Partnership (CSP) a stakeholder driven integrated management of the Celtic Seas marine region", to which the EU contributed 1,973,546.

In Pakistan, 652,550 in EU funding went to the TRA project - City-wide partnership for sustainable water use and water stewardship in SMEs in Lahore, Pakistan. The Swiss branch of the WWF meanwhile gets involved in a programme to give support to food security and agricultural and rural governance in the districts of Boma and Lower River, with an EU contribution of 2,405,679.

WWF in Bulgaria even benefited. They ran a project aimed at understanding better the role of local or regional information exchange for the market uptake of renewable energies & to improve the current market situation. For that, the EU contributed 798,564.

Over these six years, the WWF is often working with partners and the total EU payments for these schemes exceed 77 million. Given that these schemes are most often match-funded, very often from national or local government entities, we are most probably looking at the thick end of 150 million under WWF management, directed at EU schemes.

Of the UK end of the operation, WWF-UK gets 9,532,612 which can be doubled by the time the match funding is added. Therefore, just two UK NGOs WWF and the RSPB have raked in more than 23 million in EU funding and as much again in national funding getting on for 50 million.

Furthermore, there are many other NGOs taking the EU shilling, money which is being used in the environmental field to drive an "anti-human" agenda which is leading to the ethnic cleansing of the Somerset Levels. This the EU has money for, but when it comes to protecting [human] life and property, there is nothing left in the kitty.