Collaborating with the NGO community to support frontline wildlife protectors

The Universal Ranger Support Alliance (URSA) was launched in July 2020 and is a collaborative initiative of eight conservation organisations who have come together to deliver a “new deal” for wildlife rangers, including the development of global welfare standards and a code of conduct.

URSA has developed an action plan in response to the Chitwan Declaration, a declaration endorsed by more than 550 rangers from 70 countries at the World Ranger Congress in 2019. The Chitwan Declaration called on NGOs and other conservation groups to act on a detailed list of needs and priorities for rangers. URSA intends to enable and advocate for better training, support, safety and equality for rangers; to support their work in building trusted relationships with communities; and to generate a greater recognition of the critical value of their work.

FFI works with rangers across a number of its projects, including in Kenya and Romania and through its action plan, URSA aims to help:

  • Improve pay, working conditions and equipment for rangers: many rangers do their jobs without proper pay, contracts, equipment or insurance – often in dangerous environments.
  • Improve ranger opportunities for training and learning: the work expected from rangers is varied and highly skilled. Yet around half feel that they are inadequately trained.
  • Deliver more trust and accountability: rangers need to treat people fairly and to strictly observe the law and the rights of others; they need robust guidance and leadership.
  • Create fairer employment opportunities and conditions: there are currently not nearly enough rangers to do the enormous job required of them, so creating more jobs is a priority.
  • Foster better representation and advocacy: while the IRF is the global professional body for rangers, many rangers remain unrepresented. URSA will work to empower national ranger associations.

URSA’s vision is a network of well-supported, professionally competent, mandated, motivated and representative rangers working effectively as custodians of biodiversity and the life support systems upon which all life depends.

URSA’s founding members are Fauna & Flora International, Force For Nature, Global Wildlife Conservation, International Ranger Federation, Panthera, IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, World Wildlife Fund, and Zoological Society of London.

For more information visit the URSA website.