© CI/Photo by Russell A. Mittermeier
We recently expanded our portfolio to include two innovative initiatives: Technical Assistance Grants and the Conservation Finance Learning Network.
Both initiatives strive not only to help particular GCF partners in overcoming specific challenges in the transition of their projects to long-term financing, but also to create products and knowledge that can be shared throughout the conservation community.
Our Technical Assistance Grants focus on supporting the creation of effective management and planning tools for protected areas. Seven existing GCF projects received these grants (averaging $25,000) in FY 08 for activities ranging from creating business plans for protected areas to expanding fundraising capacity.
GCF is an active contributor to the Conservation Finance Learning Network (CFLN), which aims to explore and evaluate the potential of innovative financial revenue streams for conservation. Through CFLN grants, schemes such as ecosystem services payments, carbon markets and volunteer programs are being evaluated as sources of sustainable long-term funding for protected areas. GCF disbursed four of these small grants in fiscal year 2008, each of which was under $20,000.
Additionally, the CFLN supported several staff members from Conservation International and partner institutions to enroll in a Business Planning for Protected Areas online course, developed by The Nature Conservancy, Washington State University and UNESCO. GCF staff and several participants supported by GCF also attended a workshop that followed the online course.
In total, GCF funded 11 of these innovative technical assistance and learning grants over the past year, with more than $240,000 going toward pioneering technical studies, research and project assistance.
GCF also participates in the Conservation Finance Alliance as part of our aim to share knowledge and best practices related to sustainable financing for protected areas.