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Consevation Finance and Policy

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“The Sustainable Finance Plan filled a major gap in the national landscape plan in Grenada, particularly with respect to environmental planning.  In fact it is quite timely as Grenada sought to institute a holistic and integrated approach to development following the devastation caused by Hurricane Ivan.  The time is right.  The Grenada Declaration must remain the primary focus as we seek to rebuild the national economy.  The Sustainable Finance Plan is a central pillar.”

Dr. Spencer Thomas, Former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Grenada

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La Amistad International Park/Bocas del ToroSustainable financing of protected area systems remains a one of the most daunting challenges to achieving conservation goals in the Latin American and Caribbean region, and throughout the world. Finance-related threats to protected areas and systems are increasingly undermining conservation. Parks in Peril created sustainable—that is, long-term and reliable—sources of financing for conservation programs through debt-for-nature swaps, conservation trust funds, tourism-based user fees, and alliances with international finance organizations.

Photo: La Amistad International Park/Bocas del Toro © Felipe Carazo

For example, PIP worked with the Conservation Finance Alliance (CFA; http://conservationfinance.org/) a large group of international conservation organizations and donors—to support the forming and/or strengthening of national-level alliances (sustainable finance working groups) of diverse stakeholders that can convene the necessary political, technical and financial resources; e.g. CFA members, national governments, The Nature Conservancy Operating Units and local partner organizations. In particular, the strategy relied on the expanded capacity of regional alliance-based networks and national environmental funds. Through this component, national alliances and/or conservation finance working groups moved from early stage discussions and a conceptual framework, to planning and implementation of PA system sustainable finance plans.

In individual protected areas and countries, PIP supported a variety of financial mechanisms, including water-fee systems, visitor-use fees, and conservation trust funds to endow conservation for individual sites or entire systems of protected areas.  PIP’s Site Financial Planning methodology has been applied by many organizations to calculate the costs of protected area management and determine how to meet them long-term.

Conservation efforts are also dependent on supportive public policy. Without a supportive framework for legislative action, conservation efforts are destined to fail. This entails constructive governmental action in areas such as road construction, parks management, invasive species, wetlands protection and international agreements.
PIP has made ground-breaking policy changes, including establishment of no-take zones (areas where fishing is prohibited) and fishing seasons that promote successful fish spawning and protect threatened fish populations (e.g., in Dominican Republic and Baja California).  Policy work to establish a legal basis for private lands conservation (e.g., Guatemala, Panama, Ecuador, Colombia) provides private land owners with incentives to manage their holdings for conservation and inclusion in biological corridors among isolated protected areas.  Since many ministries in charge of protected areas lack the funding and expertise they need to do their jobs effectively, PIP’s work to promote co-management agreements among governmental and non-governmental organizations has improved support to a number of protected areas (e.g., Guatemala, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Jamaica). PIP has been instrumental in efforts to change the Government of Mexico’s practice of suppressing all wildfires to the adoption of fire as a land-management tool in appropriate habitats.

In individual protected areas and countries, PIP supports a variety of financial mechanisms, including water-fee systems, visitor-use fees, and conservation trust funds to endow conservation for individual sites or entire systems of protected areas.  PIP’s Site Financial Planning methodology has been applied by many organizations to calculate the costs of protected area management and determine how to meet them long-term.

Conservation efforts are also dependent on supportive public policy. Without a supportive framework for legislative action, conservation efforts are destined to fail. This entails constructive governmental action in areas such as road construction, parks management, invasive species, wetlands protection and international agreements.

PIP has made ground-breaking policy changes, including establishment of no-take zones (areas where fishing is prohibited) and fishing seasons that promote successful fish spawning and protect threatened fish populations (e.g., in Dominican Republic and Baja California).  Policy work to establish a legal basis for private lands conservation (e.g., Guatemala, Panama, Ecuador, Colombia) provides private land owners with incentives to manage their holdings for conservation and inclusion in biological corridors among isolated protected areas.  Since many ministries in charge of protected areas lack the funding and expertise they need to do their jobs effectively, PIP’s work to promote co-management agreements among governmental and non-governmental organizations has improved support to a number of protected areas (e.g., Guatemala, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Jamaica). PIP has been instrumental in efforts to change the Government of Mexico’s practice of suppressing all wildfires to the adoption of fire as a land-management tool in appropriate habitats.

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