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The Government of Mongolia and The Nature Conservancy Secure ‘Eternal Mongolia’, a Pathway to Achieve the Nation’s Climate and Biodiversity Goals

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The Government of Mongolia and The Nature Conservancy Secure ‘Eternal Mongolia’, a Pathway to Achieve the Nation’s Climate and Biodiversity Goals
News

News

The Government of Mongolia and The Nature Conservancy Secure ‘Eternal Mongolia’, a Pathway to Achieve the Nation’s Climate and Biodiversity Goals

2024-04-22 14:01 Last Updated At:14:20

ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Apr 22, 2024--

Today, the Government of Mongolia, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and others announced the launch of Eternal Mongolia – a Project Finance for Permanence (PFP) initiative that will deliver lasting conservation and sustainable community development for the Central Asian country whose vast steppe represents our planet’s last great tract of intact temperate grassland.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20240421544883/en/

Eternal Mongolia is a negotiated partnership that will deliver USD $198 million of new investment over 15 years to support Mongolia’s ambitious goals and deliver lasting conservation and sustainable community development in and around protected areas. This includes a USD $71 million transition fund from private and other global donor sources. This transition fund will accelerate Mongolia’s conservation and community development goals, while providing time to develop sustainable financing mechanisms to ensure protected areas can be managed sustainably in the long-term and that Mongolian people benefit from nature, now and for the future.

Eternal Mongolia will dramatically expand and strengthen the effectiveness of the country’s entire National Protected Area network, support sustainable herding practices, invest in the sustainable tourism industry, and set an unprecedented example to the rest of the world about the value of land and freshwater conservation.

The PFP will support local community-driven proposals to safeguard an additional 14.4 million hectares of Mongolia’s lands and waters including intact grasslands, forests, deserts, wetlands and rivers; strengthen the management of all of Mongolia’s National Protected Areas covering 47 million hectares; and extend sustainable and climate-resilient community-managed practices to 34 million hectares outside protected areas.

Mongolia established itself as a world conservation leader 30 years ago by committing to a vision revolutionary for its time: to protect 30% of its lands—a goal now shared around the world. Eternal Mongolia unlocks all the funding and policy commitments needed for Mongolia to ensure its 30% conservation target will be met by 2030 while providing a secure and economic future for Mongolians.

Eternal Mongolia is an initiative of Enduring Earth, an ambitious collaboration between The Nature Conservancy, The Pew Charitable Trusts, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and ZOMALAB that works in partnership with nations and communities as they accelerate and amplify conservation for a more sustainable, prosperous future for people and planet.

“To address the dual climate and biodiversity crises we must catalyze action at scale and ensure that people and livelihoods are at the center of the solution,” said Jennifer Morris, CEO of The Nature Conservancy and Board Chair of Enduring Earth.

Eternal Mongolia anticipates key financial support from Legacy Landscapes Fund.Eternal Mongolia initiatives would not be possible without philanthropic support from Jennifer Speers, Pamela Tanner Boll, The Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust, Joanna & Stuart Brown, TheLorinetFoundation, China Global Conservation Fund, Sabra Turnbull & Clifford Burnstein, Trafigura Foundation, Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, Arcadia,Fondation Hans Wilsdorf,TheGallogly Family Foundation,and Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust.

The full version of this press release with more information and additional quotes, including those from the Government of Mongolia, can be found at www.nature.org/en-us/newsroom/eternal-mongolia-pfp-announcement/

Mongolia's Nationally Protected area, Toson Hulstai. ©TNC

Mongolia's Nationally Protected area, Toson Hulstai. ©TNC

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Workers at Georgia school bus maker Blue Bird approve their first union contract

2024-05-25 00:36 Last Updated At:00:40

FORT VALLEY, Ga. (AP) — A year after they voted to unionize, workers at a Georgia school bus manufacturer have approved their first contract.

The United Steelworkers union and Blue Bird Corp. said union members at Blue Bird's assembly plants and warehouse in Fort Valley have voted to approve a three-year contract between the company and the union.

The union said the contract will provide all 1,500 covered workers with at least a 12% raise, with some of the lowest-paid workers getting raises of more than 40%. The union says the company will contribute to a retirement plan for workers, share profits, and improve health and safety.

The negotiations had been closely watched by President Joe Biden's administration, in part because Blue Bird has gotten $40 million in federal aid to build electric school buses.

Biden released a statement Thursday saying acting Labor Secretary Julie Su had helped bring the negotiations to a successful agreement. Contract talks after a first union vote are often difficult.

“Congratulations to members of the United Steelworkers and to Blue Bird for proving once again that meeting our clean energy goals is an opportunity to create good-paying union jobs for American workers,” Biden said.

Blue Bird is one of three major school bus manufacturers in the United States, along with Thomas Built Buses, a subsidiary of Daimler Truck AG, and IC Bus, a unit of Navistar International.

Blue Bird had urged employees to reject unionization last year, but CEO Phil Horlock said in a statement Friday that contract talks had been “very collaborative” and that the company is “looking forward to a strong partnership with our USW team members.” The company said higher pay, benefits and opportunities for career development will help Blue Bird attract workers.

“We reached an agreement which provides positive outcomes for all parties involved and will continue to drive our One Team, high-performance culture,” Horlock said. “We are confident that the agreement will further bolster Blue Bird’s position as an employer of choice in the region."

Blue Bird is a publicly held company based in Macon. With about 2,000 employees overall, it has long been the largest private employer in Peach County.

The vote for the USW was a notable win for organized labor in the traditionally unfriendly Deep South.

“Federal investments like these must come with a seat at the table for workers,” United Steelworkers District 9 Director Dan Flippo said in a statement. “Our union has a long history in the South fighting for better wages and working conditions in a variety of industries, but for too long, corporations and their political cronies have tried to characterize the South as a place where they could run away from unions, cut corners and pay workers less."

The share of workers who are unionized nationwide has been falling for decades, dipping to 10% last year, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. And private sector workers are much less likely to be union members, with only 6% paying dues.

Organized labor is an even smaller sliver of Georgia workers, with only 4.4% of workers being union members. The state's business leaders have long been hostile to unions, with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp this year pushing through a law that would bar companies taking state incentives from recognizing unions without a formal secret-ballot election.

FILE -- An all-electric school bus sits on display in front of the Blue Bird Corp. factory in Fort Valley, Ga., on Feb. 8, 2023. The company and the United Steelworkers union said on Thursday, May, 23, 2024 that workers had approved an initial three-year contract after voting to unionize in May 2023. (Matthew Pearson/WABE via AP, file)

FILE -- An all-electric school bus sits on display in front of the Blue Bird Corp. factory in Fort Valley, Ga., on Feb. 8, 2023. The company and the United Steelworkers union said on Thursday, May, 23, 2024 that workers had approved an initial three-year contract after voting to unionize in May 2023. (Matthew Pearson/WABE via AP, file)

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