The Universal Ranger Support Alliance (URSA) was launched in July 2020 and is a collaborative initiative of eight conservation organisations that 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 greater recognition of the critical value of their work.
Fauna & Flora 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 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, Force For Nature, Global Wildlife Conservation, International Ranger Federation, Panthera, IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, World Wildlife Fund, and Zoological Society of London.
Visit the URSA website