From Protecting Marine Life To Providing Medicines To All: Changemakers At Davos 2020
A worker hangs a sign inside the Congress Center ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. (Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg)

From Protecting Marine Life To Providing Medicines To All: Changemakers At Davos 2020

Climate change and income inequality were the broader themes at the 50th edition of the World Economic Forum, which drew to a close.

Greta Thunberg’s stark message that “nobody is doing anything” to stop the earth from warming and the forum urging governments to act on global inequality were among the showstoppers at the annual business gathering at the Swiss ski resort.

Here are two changemakers who participated at the event and are doing their bit to make an impact.

This Non-Profit Is Boosting Peruvian Livelihoods By Conserving Marine Ecology

Peru, once among the top fishing destinations for the manta ray, is gravitating towards ecotourism after it realised its immense economic value.

And Planeta Oceano, a non-profit based in the South American nation, is engaging with local fishermen to develop ecotourism to conserve marine ecosystems.

“Manta rays were overlooked and not protected in my country,” Kerstin Forsberg, founder and director of Planeta Oceano, told BloombergQuint on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum 2020 in Davos, Switzerland. “Now this is a conservation success story as they have become a source of income for the local fishermen to take tourists to see them in the water alive.”

A scuba diver feeds a manta ray in South America. (Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg)
A scuba diver feeds a manta ray in South America. (Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg)

Forsberg said Planeta Oceano was instrumental in working with the government to pass legislation to have the species legally protected. The non-profit identifies fishermen and volunteers and supports them in collecting data and launching eco-tourism initiatives. These people, in turn, spread awareness as local leaders.

Globally, the species is classified as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature—they are likely to become endangered unless circumstances that threaten its survival and reproduction improve.

Thanks to the conservation efforts, a manta ray could generate more than $1 million in revenue on account of eco-tourism in its 40-year lifespan, The Guardian reported citing a research study. Dead, it is worth between $40-500, according to the study.

<i>Manta alfredi&nbsp;</i>(Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Manta alfredi (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Watch | Planeta Oceano’s Forsberg On Scaling Up Her Ocean Conversation Efforts

Accessibility Is Not Just A Third-World Problem Today

Access To Medicine Foundation works with global pharmaceutical companies to provide medicines to people living in low-income countries, including those where people earn less than a dollar a day.

“We try to incentivise the companies by inviting them to tell us how they address this challenge (of accessibility),” Jayasree K Iyer, executive director, Access to Medicine Foundation, told BloombergQuint on the sidelines of World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Drugmakers should also be able to serve 83 percent of the world’s population that lives in low-income countries, she said. “If companies are serious about the issue, they will be able to solve the problem by looking at the cost of production, excessive promotions, and invest in the research and development that also addresses the needs of the poor.”

The scale of the problem used to be an issue where people would recognise it as this is a problem of the third world. This was about 10 years ago. Today, everyone recognises that this problem is right here and it has no borders. Every country is suffering from either shortages, or the lack of access to medicines and vaccines.   
Jayasree K Iyer, executive director, Access to Medicine Foundation

The foundation, Jayasree said, has devised a model using data where firms giving up on profit margins in certain areas results in medicines and vaccines reaching a wider audience. “There have been a few pilots and trials, however, there’s no investor or company that has said ‘let’s take that risk’.”

Watch| Accessibility Issue Should Be Beyond Just CSR Initiatives For Drugmakers: Access To Medicine Foundation

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