Welcome to the January 2004 iteration of the Conservation Finance Guide CD. In this CD, we are pleased to make available two products:
1. The Conservation Finance Guide is a new tool that offers a comprehensive approach to developing finance strategies (including identifying and implementing viable new funding sources) for nature conservation in general, but with a special focus on protected area management.
In recent years, as a result of recurrent funding shortfalls, the conservation community has turned to other disciplines in search of new ideas. By doing this, it has encountered many untapped opportunities to raise funding through innovative financing mechanisms. Some of these finance mechanisms such as "debt for nature swaps" and "environmental trust funds" have been successfully tested and implemented throughout the world. Others, such as markets for the environmental services produced by healthy ecosystems (like clean water and carbon sequestration), are currently being developed. The challenges now are three fold: (i) continue to innovate and experiment, (ii) spread the word and train conservation practitioners and policy makers, and (iii) apply these sustainable finance solutions for the benefit of conservation in general and protected areas in particular. This Guide hopes to address, in part, these last two challenges.
This subject is not easy, and is often ignored by conservationists because it deals more with the difficulties of day-to-day management than with traditional conservation skill sets. Many still think that the single most effective way to raise funding for conservation is to seek out potential donors and ask them for money. Yet as we hope to show in this Guide, many other financing options exist. This Guide will hopefully help to show you that there are many other ways to achieve your conservation finance goals, while at the same time, promote poverty alleviation.
2. The papers and presentations from the Sustainable Finance Stream of the Vth IUCN World Parks Congress, which took place in Durban, South Africa, from September 8 - 17, 2003.
This stream, organized by the Wildlife Conservation Society's Conservation Finance Program, on behalf of the Conservation Finance Alliance (CFA) and in close collaboration with a number of international organizations, had as its objective to present and highlight the challenges and opportunities of developing sustainable finance solutions for protected areas. Participants were introduced to a range of financial arrangements and options for the generation of revenues. The Stream also looked at the benefits protected areas offer to the wider community, considering not only what goods and services are provided but whether these goods and services are properly valued and shared.
The papers and presentations from this stream, as well as the Conservation Finance Guide mentioned above, can also all be found online at www.conservationfinance.org, the website of the Conservation Finance Alliance. The CFA is a collaborative effort to promote sufficient and sustainable funding for biodiversity conservation worldwide. The CFA was created to catalyze increased and sustainable public and private financing for biodiversity conservation to support the effective implementation of global commitments to conservation. New papers and information are added regularly to www.conservationfinance.org so check back often!
We hope this information will prove useful to you and we look forward to expanding our collaborative efforts in order to make Conservation Finance a truly integrated part of every conservation initiative.
Senior Trade and Development Advisor
Ramsar Convention Secretariat
Chair of the Conservation Finance Alliance