Safeguards Overview

Our Environmental and Social Safeguard System

Conservation International is committed to funding and implementing programs that improve the lives of people by protecting nature. At the outset of each project, we work to analyze, minimize and mitigate any potential adverse impacts on people or the environment.

Guiding our efforts is Conservation International's Environmental and Social Safeguard System (CISS), which provides staff and partners with the policies, standards, procedures and guidance to ensure projects are effective, efficient and equitable. The CISS is designed to avoid or mitigate adverse environmental and social impacts and enhance the project’s overall benefits for people and nature. To promote human rights, the CISS works to reduce equity gaps, promote gender equality, and improve social and environmental sustainability.

The CISS relies on four operational policies and 10 standards with corresponding procedures and requirements, all of which are detailed within the Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF).

Read the full ESMF: English | Español | Português | Français


© Cristina Mittermeier/sealegacy



Safeguard steps


Screen project

Screening helps us understand potential risks to people and nature that may be present in the project and prepare to avoid or mitigate those risks during project implementation. The screening produces an environmental and social (E&S) risk rating — low, medium, or high — and indicates the type of impact assessment and safeguard plans needed.



Design Safeguard Plans

Risk rating and the scope and complexity of a project are considered when developing and budgeting for safeguard plans. At a minimum, all projects require a stakeholder engagement plan, gender mainstreaming plan, and accountability and grievance plan. Safeguard plans are cleared by an independent review.



Monitor compliance

Conservation International carefully monitors the performance of E&S risk management to ensure accountability and timely adaptive management. Safeguard plans, risk ratings, monitoring reports, and clearances are tracked and fed back into the project, so that they can guide future program decision-making.



Evaluate compliance

As part of overall project evaluation, Conservation International assesses and reports if E&S risk and impact mitigation objectives have been implemented or achieved.



Safeguard Workflow per risk category

Safeguard Screening Form

  • Filled in by project team
  • Reviewed by CI’s Project Delivery & Monitoring team
  • Identifies primary safeguard areas
  • Categorizes project by risk category

Category A / High Risk

Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) — E&S Management Plan (ESMP) (PDF, DOCX)

  1. Gender Mainstreaming Plan (PDF, DOCX)
  2. Stakeholder Engagement Plan (PDF, DOCX)
  3. Accountability & Grievance Plan (PDF, DOCX)
  4. Others TBD by ESIA*

Category B / Medium Risk

Limited ESIA — Limited ESMP (PDF, DOCX)

  1. Gender Mainstreaming Plan (PDF, DOCX)
  2. Stakeholder Engagement Plan (PDF, DOCX)
  3. Accountability & Grievance Plan (PDF, DOCX)
  4. Others TBD by Limited ESIA*

Category C / Low Risk


  1. Limited Gender Mainstreaming Plan (PDF, DOCX)
  2. Limited Stakeholder Engagement Plan (includes a limited Accountability & Grievance Plan) (PDF, DOCX)

* Other plans may include an Indigenous Peoples Plan, Resettlement Plan, Community Health Safety & Security Plan, Pest Control Plan, etc.