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RedLAC Capacity Building

The RedLAC Capacity Building Project has the objective of strengthening EFs to develop innovative financial mechanisms for biodiversity conservation and to reduce their dependence on donations. It also aims at supporting the establishment of new EFs, by systematizing and sharing good practices.

This project  is based on ten workshops for EFs' staff and a call for proposals for innovative financial mechanisms pilot-projects. Here you will find...

Start Up

Building a new Environmental Fund is a daunting task – but one hopefully made easier by building on the experience of the Funds that have already made the leap successfully. An oft referenced work by the Global Environment Facility from 1998 cites “essential factors” for effective start-up including:

1) The biodiversity conservation issues to be addressed require a financial commitment of at least 10-15 years;
2) There is active government support for creating a public...

Legal and Governance

Environmental Funds are established as legally independent entities governed by a Board of Directors through Articles of Incorporation or Charters approved by government authorities.

The legal framework varies by country, but to be effective Trust Funds must receive tax exemptions so that invested funds can grow and be expended on in-country conservation activities. In some cases, Environmental Funds such as the...

Planning

All Environmental Funds go through various types of planning exercises ranging from large-scale visioning to strategic planning, and then to business plans, annual work plans and ultimately to yearly budget projections. 

Visioning: while visioning usually occurs in the Start Up...

Fundraising

Environmental Funds raise money in the form of endowment funds, sinking funds, revolving funds, and the ongoing operational funds needed to effectively advance their mission. To determine the needed level of financing, a number of Funds have done financial needs assessments (particularly of protected area systems as part of their Planning efforts), while others, particularly in the...

Finance and Administration

The ability to manage expenses and administrative processes with accountability, efficiency and transparency, is essential for the reputation and long-term sustainability and growth of Environmental Funds. While this sounds straight-forward, Environmental Funds face complicated issues of currency conversion and tracking, indirect cost rate calculations, and procurement restrictions from donors that often require high levels of financial sophistication.

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Investment Management

Environmental Funds must invest wisely to grow their endowments – and ensure their ability to deliver critical ongoing annual funding to in-country conservation programs. Over the past few years there has been a plethora of new research on fund management, use of investors, and average returns. The yearly Conservation Trust Fund Investment Surveys provide an opportunity for Environmental Funds to share information and learn from both good and bad market experiences. The 2009 Survey (based on...

Grant Making

Environmental Funds have a dual nature – they must secure funding but also effectively distribute it in support of their mission. Most provide reliable annual funding streams to cover the recurrent costs of managing protected areas and other biodiversity conservation programs. Many funding programs, like the Amazon Region Protected Area Program (ARPA), support government investments in equipment, infrastructure maintenance, travel and supplies. Other grant programs are designed to support...

Communications

Communicating the value of Environmental Funds is a critical component of establishing the legitimacy of the Fund to donors, government agencies, local communities, and the media. Why does the Environmental Fund exist? Why does it deserve support? What impact does it have?

Communication Plans: many Environmental Funds were eager to share their communications materials in this Tool Kit....

Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring: Environmental Funds have many different methods for monitoring their ongoing projects and working with grantees to ensure good tracking of expenses, activities, and outcomes. Most keep a spreadsheet of current projects and update it with regular field visits and grantee reports. The spreadsheet data is then used to complete more formal annual progress reports, scorecard checks, or develop full...