HAPPY HOLIDAYS! LATEST NEWS FROM THE GLOBAL CONSERVATION FUND
The Global Conservation Fund (GCF) finances the creation, expansion and long-term management of protected areas.
Letter from the GCF TeamAs we come to the end of another year, we are proud to say that the Global Conservation Fund is now in its 10th year of operations. Over the last decade, GCF has emerged as a vital force in the race to conserve terrestrial and marine areas of the highest importance. In 2001, with a generous $100 million donation from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, GCF sought to become a global innovator in the long-term protection of vital ecosystems. After 10 years, the results are encouraging.
Today, an area almost twice the size of California has been protected with GCF support, conserving precious natural resources while bringing countless benefits to the local and global communities that depend on the services provided by these ecosystems. GCF has dramatically amplified CI’s contribution to the long-term effective management of protected areas in some of the world’s highest-priority conservation regions. At the close of 2011, GCF has provided critical support to the protection of 79.9 million hectares of land and sea, established 11 conservation endowments, and played a key role in facilitating four debt-for-nature swaps.
GCF has worked with dozens of partners over the last decade to achieve these impressive results, and in some cases we’ve even helped to create brand-new partners. For example, this year the GCF team worked closely with the government of Kiribati and the New England Aquarium to establish the Phoenix Islands Conservation Trust. This is a new local institution designed to provide an endowment to cover the recurring management costs of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, a massive World Heritage marine protected area in a remote corner of the Pacific. GCF’s ambitious mission and global reach has enabled CI to expand its scope to new regions and broaden its partner base significantly, while protecting tens of millions of hectares of the world’s conservation priorities.
We look forward to continuing close collaboration with our partners—both old and new—as we embark on the next 10 years of the Global Conservation Fund.
GCF Contributes to Innovative New Biodiversity Fund for Costa RicaGCF, with support from CI-Costa Rica, is participating in an innovative new fund for Costa Rica — the first of its kind globally — that will support biodiversity services under a payment for ecosystem services (PES) scheme targeting private land holders. This national PES fund, known as the Trust for the Sustainable Biodiversity Fund (TSB Fund), totals $15.3 million and is funded by the German Development Bank (KfW) and the Global Environment Facility.
GCF is making a $500,000 contribution toward a $2 million fund — the Osa Fund — within the larger TSB Fund. The Osa Fund is earmarked to provide long-term financing for PES focused on private lands in the Osa Biological Corridor. Co-funders Conservation Osa and Fondo Nacional de Financiamiento Forestal (FONAFIFO) also contributed a combined total of $1.5 million. GCF’s participation establishes CI-Costa Rica as one of five members of the Special Committee that will oversee the TSB Fund.
Since 2005, GCF has supported the Center for Environmental Law and Natural Resources (Centro de Derecho Ambiental y Recursos Naturales — CEDARENA) in engaging key landowners in the Osa Peninsula to enter into long-term PES agreements. The PES contract is a proven instrument for private lands conservation in Costa Rica, and this is the first time it is being applied in the Osa Peninsula. The agreements are focused on key properties in the Osa Biological Corridor located between the Piedras Blancas National Park, the Corcovado National Park and the Terraba-Sierpe National Wetlands. Where possible, CEDARENA is also engaging landowners to place conservation easements on their properties. These agreements establish a legal commitment to conserve the property even when the land is sold or transferred to other owners.
The area contains one of the best examples of lowland tropical rain forest remaining in Central America. Largely untouched, Osa features a high level of biological diversity as well as 13 distinct tropical ecosystems, according to Conservation Osa. It is home to 50 percent of all species found in Costa Rica, including many species found nowhere else.
Protecting these areas safeguards key ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration, freshwater sources and habitat for as-yet undiscovered species. Costa Rica continues to be a global leader in developing markets for ecosystem services, and GCF’s investment in the TSB Fund will provide excellent demonstration value for CI and partners.
Endowment to Aid Community-Owned Bird Reserves in Peruvian Andes
A new $2 million endowment fund established by GCF in partnership with CI-Perú, Fondo de las Américas del Perú (FONDAM), and the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) will disburse funds for projects to conserve Polylepis woodlands beginning in 2012. Polylepis is a genus of trees and shrubs unique to the Andes of South America that form the highest-altitude forests in the world. Conserving Polylepis forests is crucial for several globally-threatened species (including birds such as the royal cinclodes, white-browed tit-spinetail, and ash-breasted tit-tyrant ) and also plays an important part in regulating water supplies for downstream communities.
ABC and its Peruvian partner Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN) have worked since 2001 with indigenous communities in the Vilcanota Mountains of the Andes to protect and restore high-altitude Polylepis forests on community-owned lands with support from GCF, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Marshall Reynolds Foundation, Inter-American Foundation, and other donors. To date, participating communities have protected more than 15,000 acres in seven private conservation areas recognized by the Peruvian national government, with more reserves currently being created. This includes the new 1,897-acre Pampacorral Private Conservation Area, and the 4,515 acre Qosqoccahuarina Private Conservation Area, both of which were approved by the Peruvian government in April 2011. More than half a million Polylepis saplings and other native species have been planted to restore forests, and many areas have been fenced to protect saplings from grazing animals and promote habitat regeneration.
“The project has benefitted more than 8,000 people in over 20 communities by planting 150,000 trees that provide a sustainable fuel wood supply so they do not need to cut down Polylepis forests to cook,” said Constantino Aucca, president of ECOAN. Aucca added that the project has also provided nearly 6,000 fuel-efficient clay ovens to reduce fuel wood needs, erected solar panels to provide electricity and hot water for washing, aided in the construction of greenhouses to provide healthy food to communities, and funded health and educational services. ABC and ECOAN have also provided communities with technical assistance to improve pasture management, wool production and textile marketing, and to develop sustainable nature tourism at the private conservation areas. A new visitor center opened this past February at the Abra Málaga Thastayoc-Royal Cinclodes Private Conservation Area.
First Trust Fund for Brazil’s Kayapó to Protect Vast Swath of Amazon Rain Forest
In July, GCF and CI announced the ground-breaking new Kayapó Fund. This is the first trust fund dedicated to the long term support of the Kayapó indigenous peoples and will provide grants targeted at terrestrial monitoring and protection of Kayapó land, as well as the development of sustainable economic activities for the Kayapó people. The Kayapó territories are rich in biodiversity and are located in the middle of the so-called “arc of deforestation”— the front line of forest destruction moving north from southern and southeastern Amazon, where approximately 80 percent of deforestation is concentrated. This frontier is characterized by violent land conflicts and the highest rate of deforestation in Brazil.
Since 1992, Conservation International has supported Kayapó efforts to protect their land and culture by providing economic alternatives to logging and strengthening territorial surveillance capacity. Development of economic alternatives focuses on the abundant non-timber forest products that are found in the Kayapó forests and which can be harvested easily by communities. With limited financial resources and a relatively small population, the Kayapó people have been struggling to protect the borders of their territories against the increasing pressures of illegal encroachment from ranchers, loggers, gold-miners and fishermen. The grants from the new Kayapó Fund will support their ability to increase monitoring and enforcement against this kind of illegal resource extraction well into the future.
The fund will start operations with an initial donation of $8 million. GCF, along with CI-Brazil, contributed $4 million, as well as technical expertise, to establish the fund. Another $4 million was donated by the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) through the Amazon Fund. The Kayapó Fund will be managed by Fundo Brasileiro para a Biodiversidade (FUNBIO), a non-profit civil association focused on Brazil’s biodiversity. Grants will be used to help conserve an area of 10.6 million hectares, (approximately 106,000 square kilometers / 41,000 square miles) which is about 3 percent of the Amazon or approximately equal in size to Guatemala or the U.S. state of Ohio.
Environmental Funds Tool Kit
Conservation Finance AllianceThrough GCF, CI actively participates in the Conservation Finance Alliance and their Environmental Funds Working Group. In March 2011, the Conservation Finance Alliance launched their new Environmental Funds Tool Kit. The goal of the Tool Kit is to help guide the creation and start-up of new funds, promote best practices for existing funds, and increase the efficiency and effectiveness to secure, and expend, reliable funding streams for biodiversity conservation. With nearly 200 documents from funds in almost 30 countries around the world, the Environmental Funds Tool Kit is quickly becoming the standard resource for best practices on conservation trust funds.
We encourage all GCF partners to take advantage of this fantastic resource at:
|Photo Credits: Patacancha community forestation with polylepis: © ECOAN; Kayapó children playing in waterfall: © Cristina Mittermeier/ iLCP |
Header Photo: Girl Near Tayna: © CI/Photo by Hari Balasubramanian, Valdivian Coastal Forest: © CI/Photo by Hari Balasubramanian