Financial Mechanism and Resources

T3(Conservation): How to Use GEF Funding

1. This page aims to provide information regarding effective conservation and management of terrestrial, inland water, and of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services, for recipient Parties and relevant stakeholders, including how to access funding of the Global Environment Facility in this regard. It is a work in progress and will be updated as necessary.

2. The proportion of the planet’s land and oceans designated as protected areas has been increasing, but progress has been more modest in ensuring that protected areas safeguard the most important areas for biodiversity, are ecologically representative, connected to one another as well as to the wider landscape and seascape and are equitably and effectively managed. Reported actions included: creation or expansion of protected areas; development of buffer zones; converting private reserves into formal protected areas; providing support for community-based conservation areas; providing formal recognition of indigenous and community-conserved areas. Reported challenges were: complex land tenure systems; land tenure uncertainties; bias towards creating protected areas in remote areas rather than on making them ecologically representative and covering areas of importance for biodiversity; greater focus on terrestrial than on marine areas; limited recognition of the ecosystem approach in protected areas management; limited management effectiveness; lack of management effectiveness assessment systems; limited coordination between national agencies; lack of protected areas management and development plans; limited monitoring and surveillance systems; lack of financial and human resources.

Guidance from the Conference of the Parties

3. The Conference of the Parties has invited the Global environment Facility to finance the following areas:
  • Projects that utilize the ecosystem approach, without prejudice to differing national needs and priorities which may require the application of approaches such as single species conservation programmes. (Decision X/24, annex, para. 4.15; XIII/21, annex II, para. 3)
  • Community conserved areas, national and regional systems of protected areas, further development of the portfolio on protected areas towards comprehensive, representative and effectively managed protected area systems addressing system wide needs, country driven early action activities of the programme of work on protected areas to enable its full implementation, projects that demonstrate the role-protected areas play in addressing climate change, and address the long-term financial sustainability of protected areas, including through different mechanisms and instruments. (Decision X/24, annex, para. 4.4; X/25, paras. 10 and 11; XI/5, para. 18; X/31, paras. 9, 10 and 13; XI/24, paras. 1 and 3; XIII/21, annex II, para. 15)
  • Projects that promote the conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal biodiversity under threat, and implement the elaborated programme of work on marine and coastal biodiversity and the programme of work on island biodiversity; Country-driven activities aimed at enhancing capabilities to address the impacts of mortality related to coral bleaching and physical degradation and destruction of coral reefs, including developing rapid response capabilities to implement measures to address coral-reef degradation, mortality and subsequent recovery; Implementation of training and capacity building and other activities related to ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs); Support for capacity-building in order to further accelerate existing efforts towards achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets in marine and coastal areas.(Decision X/24, annex, paras. 4.19, 4.20; X/25, paras. 18, 19; XI/5, para. 17; XII/30, para. 22; X/29, paras. 20, 38, 74; XI/17, para. 22; XI/18, para. 25; XII/23, para. 17; XIII/21, annex II, para. 5)
  • Projects that assist with the implementation of the programme of work on biological diversity of inland water ecosystems, and which help Parties to develop and implement national, sectoral and cross-sectoral plans for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity of inland water ecosystems, including comprehensive assessments of the biological diversity of inland waters, and capacity-building programmes for monitoring the implementation of the programme of work and the trends in inland water biological diversity and for information gathering and dissemination among riparian communities. (Decision X/24, annex, para. 4.18; XIII/21, annex II, para. 7)
  • Projects that promote the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity in arid and semi-arid areas, including the implementation of the Convention’s programme of work on biodiversity of dry and sub-humid lands.( (Decision X/24, annex, paragraph 4.21; XIII/21, annex II, para. 8)
  • Projects which promote the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity in mountainous areas. (Decision X/24, annex, paragraph 4.22; XIII/21, annex II, para. 9)

4. Planning

  • Develop a long-term action plan or reorient, as appropriate, relevant existing plans, including national and/or regional targets, for the extent, representativeness and effectiveness of national systems of protected areas, and incorporate them into relevant plans, programmes and initiatives, including national biodiversity strategies and action plans; (X/31A, para. 1(b); VII/28, paras. 7 and 23, annex, goal 1.1)
  • Integrate within development strategies (such as country assistance strategies, poverty reduction strategies and national development strategies) protected area objectives, and ensure that conservation and development activities in the context of protected areas contribute to the eradication of poverty and sustainable development and that benefits arising from the establishment and management of protected areas are fairly and equitably shared; (IX/18A, para. 19; VII/28, para. 11)

5. Monitoring

  • Assess and monitor biodiversity status and trends, governance diversity, management effectiveness and equity, biodiversity outcomes of protected areas, using new technologies including geographic information system and remote sensing tools for monitoring protected areas; (X/31B, para. 32(f); VII/28, annex, goal 4.3; IX/18A, para. 5(c); XIII/2, para. 5(c), 5(d), 5(e), 9(b), 9(c); VII/28, annex, goal 3.2)
  • Identify and explore options to protect areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, considering ecological representativeness, connectivity, integration with the wider landscape and seascape, habitats of threatened, endemic and migratory species, wild relatives of cultivated crops and wild edible plants, coverage expansion, centres of origin or centres of genetic diversity, management under collective action, and full and effective participation of indigenous peoples and local communities; (XIII/2, para. 5(b); X/31A, para. 1(a) and 1(h); VIII/24, para. 29; XI/24, para. 1(f))
  • Develop and implement research and monitoring programmes for conservation and, in accordance with their management objectives, sustainable use within protected areas at any relevant scale as well as assess the efficiency and effectiveness of various kinds and categories of protected areas complying with the three objectives of the Convention; (X/31A, para. 2; XIII/2, para. 9(a); IX/18A, para. 3; XI/29, annex, action 9)

6. Ecosystems

  • Use additional protected areas of dry and sub-humid lands to increase the extent of temperate grasslands contained in protected areas and address the under-representation of such protected areas; (X/35, para. 2(d), 2(g); V/23, annex I, activity 7(a))
  • Establish and strengthen be adequate, effective comprehensive and representative national, regional and international networks of mountain‑protected areas, promote integrated transboundary cooperation, strategies for sustainable activities on mountain ranges through mutually agreed-upon arrangements by countries concerned, and reduce the impacts of adverse land-use practices and changes in urban, forest, inland waters and agricultural areas in mountain ecosystems, including the buffer zones of protected areas; (X/30, para. 3; VII/27, annex, action 1.1.1, 1.2.5, 1.2.9, 2.3.1)
  • Increase the coverage, quality, representativeness and connectivity, where appropriate, of inland water ecosystems and their key hydrological features in protected‑area systems through the designation or extension of inland-water protected areas within the framework of integrated catchment/watershed/river‑basin management and maintain or enhance their resilience and sustain ecosystem services including through the use of existing designation mechanisms available and being applied under biodiversity related conventions, such as the World Heritage Convention and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands; (X/31B, para. 25; X/28, para. 10(c), 10(d); VII/4, annex, goal 1.2; Convention on Wetlands (CBD/SBI/3/6/Add.3, 16 February 2021))
  • Identify and establish comprehensive, representative and effectively managed national and regional systems of protected areas taking into account issues of resilience, ecological and physical connectivity to conserve viable populations of threatened, endemic, and ecologically or culturally important island species; (VIII/1, annex, priority action 1.2.1, 7.1.1-7.1.2; XI/15, para. 1(a))
  • Increase spatial coverage and management effectiveness of marine protected areas and other area-based conservation measures including noise and ocean acidification considerations, in coral reefs and closely associated ecosystems, in cold-water areas, in areas meeting ecologically or biologically significant areas (EBSA) criteria and in areas in need of protection to ensure maximum adaptive capacity of biodiversity, and integrate marine protected areas into the wider seascape to strengthen a range of measures for long‑term appropriate management of marine protected areas, incorporate good governance principles and increase the resilience of coastal and marine ecosystems; (IV/5, annex, programme element 3 ; V/3, annex, C and para. 6; VIII/21, para. 5; VIII/24, para. 11; IX/20, para. 26 and 27; X/29, para. 13(a), 13(b), 15, 29, 32, 33, 67, 7, 8; X/31B, para. 21, 23, 24; XI/24, para. 1(b); XII/22, para. 8; XII/23, annex, para. 8.3, 8.4 and 3(h); XIII/11, annex II, para. 5.3; 14/8, para. 6; VII/28, annex, goal 1.1)
  • Develop strategies and priority targets for effective enforcement of sustainable forest management and protected area regulations, promote, establish and maintain and/or develop connected national or regional forest protected area networks, including complementary restoration areas, and apply spatial and land-use planning tools to identify areas of particular importance to the sustainable use and conservation and restoration of forest biodiversity, including in buffer zones; (IX/5, para. 1(h); V/4, para. 10; VI/22, annex, programme element 1, goal 3, objective 3 and programme element 2, goal 1, objective 2; VIII/19A, para. 7; XIII/3, para. 55)

7. Areas and species

  • Take action to establish or expand protected areas in any large, intact or relatively unfragmented or highly irreplaceable natural areas, or areas under high threat, as well as areas securing the most threatened species in the context of national priorities, and taking into consideration the conservation needs of migratory species; (VII/28, annex, goal 1.1)
  • Establish and strengthen regional initiatives, action plans and networks on protected areas, transboundary protected areas and collaboration between neighboring protected areas across national boundaries, in regard to planning and management practices, connectivity as well as to development across national borders; (XIII/2, para. 9(d); XI/24, para. 1(h); X/31A, para. 4, 5, 6; VII/28, para. 27, and annex, goal 1.3; IX/18A, para. 6(f), 11-12; VII/28, para. 13 and annex, goal 1.1; IX/18A, para. 6(c))
  • Integrate the conservation and sustainable use of wild and managed pollinators and their habitats into land management and protected areas and other effective area-based conservation policies; (14/6, para. 5)
  • Support conservation strategies that promote the establishment and maintenance of networks of climate resilient sites for migratory species; (Convention on Migratory Species (CBD/SBI/3/6/Add.3, 16 February 2021))
  • Evaluate and improve the effectiveness of protected areas management, using participatory and science-based site‑planning processes with full and effective participation of stakeholders, and minimum standards and best practices for national and regional protected area systems, as well as considering climate-change adaptation and mitigation in management‑effectiveness assessments; (X/31B, para. 19; VII/28, para. 31 and annex, goal 1.4, 4.1 and 4.2; IX/18A, para. 9, 4(b))
  • Improve inter-agency and intersectoral coordination, through multisectoral advisory committees, especially for mainstreaming protected areas and biodiversity and integrating protected areas into wider land- and seascapes, including using protected areas as natural solutions in ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation; (XI/24, para. 1(d) and 1(i); X/31A, para. 1(e); X/31B, para. 30(a) and 32(e); IX/18A, para. 5(b))
  • Improve, diversify and strengthen protected-area governance types, applying governance principles, such as the rule of law, decentralization, participatory decision-making mechanisms for accountability and equitable dispute resolution institutions and procedures; (VII/28, annex, goal 3.1; X/31B, para. 32(a)-(b); IX/18A, para. 6(a)-(b), 14, 21)

11. Finance

Update and implement sustainable finance plans, including a national fund-raising target, for protected‑area systems, based on realistic needs assessments and a diversified portfolio of traditional and innovative financial mechanisms, such as, inter alia, national and local government budgets for protected‑area management, retention by local or national protected-area management authorities of visitor fees and other revenues generated from protected areas, national trust funds that support protected-areas systems, payments for ecosystem services, biodiversity offsets, as well as enhancing the effectiveness of financial-resource utilization; (IX/18B, para. 3(a); X/31B, para. 10(c), 10(a); VIII/24, para. 26, 18(a), 18(g), 18(h), 18(f), 18(e); VII/28, para. 10, annex, goal 3.4; IX/18B, para. 5, 3(g), 3(f), 3(e), 3(c), 3(b))

8. Climate

  • Integrate improved design and management approaches for comprehensive and integrated protected area systems (including buffer zones, corridors and restored landscapes) into national strategies and action plans for addressing climate change, including through existing national adaptation strategies and plans, exploring funding opportunities for protected area design, establishment and effective management in the context of efforts to address climate change; (X/31B, para. 14(e); IX/18B, para. 3(h))
  • Support and finance the conservation and management of naturally functioning ecosystems and in particular, protected‑area systems in contributing to carbon sequestration and maintenance of carbon stocks as well as to ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation to climate change, including areas that are important for both biodiversity conservation and for climate‑change mitigation and/or adaptation; (X/31B, para. 14(c)-(f), 15)
  • Enhance scientific knowledge and the use of the ecosystem approach as well as traditional and indigenous knowledge to support the development of adaptive management plans and to improve management effectiveness of protected areas for addressing impacts from climate change on biodiversity and increasing resilience to climate change; (X/31B, para. 14(a)-(b))

9. Restoration

Increase restoration activities to improve the effectiveness of protected area systems in biodiversity conservation and enhance their resilience to climate change and other stressors, including connectivity tools such as ecological corridors and conservation measures in and between protected areas and adjacent landscapes and seascapes; (X/31B, para. 20; X/31B, para. 26(a)-(b))

10. Mainstreaming

  • Assess, document and communicate the socio-economic values and benefits of protected-area systems; (VIII/24, para. 18(c), 18(b); IX/18B, para. 3(d); X/31B, para. 29(b), 29(a))
  • Mainstream protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures into key sectors, such as, inter alia, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, mining, energy, tourism and transportation; (XIII/2, para. 5(a); XI/24, para. 1(a)-(d); VII/28, annex, goal 1.2; IX/18A, para. 4(a); 14/8, para. 4 and 12)
  • Prevent and mitigate the negative impacts of key threats to protected areas by applying timely environmental impact assessments to any plan or project with the potential to have effects on protected areas, liability and redress measures in relation to damages to protected areas, addressing risks associated with invasive alien species in protected areas, and curbing the illegal exploitation and trade of resources from existing protected areas and from areas of ecological importance for biodiversity conservation; (VII/28, para. 21 and annex, goal 1.5)

11. Benefit sharing

Further develop and implement measures for the equitable sharing of both costs and benefits arising from the establishment and management of protected areas, support initiatives on the role of protected areas in poverty alleviation as well as for indigenous and local community livelihoods, and encourage users and providers to direct benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources towards the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components, inter alia to enhance the management and establishment of protected areas important for biodiversity conservation, while ensuring the fair and equitable sharing of benefits with indigenous and local communities; (XI/24, para. 9; X/31B, para. 32(d), 30(b); VII/28, annex, goal 2.1; IX/18A, para. 6(e))

12. Technology cooperation

Improve research, scientific and technical cooperation and transfer of appropriate technologies for protected areas, and ensure that scientific knowledge contributes to the establishment and effectiveness of protected areas and protected area systems; (VII/28, annex, goal 3.3 and 4.4; IX/18A, para. 7)

13. Participation

  • Implement specific plans, initiatives and effective processes for the full and effective participation of indigenous and local communities, in full respect of their rights and recognition of their responsibilities, at all levels of protected areas planning, establishment, governance and management, and recognize the role of indigenous and local community conserved areas and conserved areas of other stakeholders in biodiversity conservation, collaborative management and diversification of governance types; (XIII/2, para. 7; XI/24, para. 1(e); X/31B, para. 32(a)-(c); X/31A, para. 1(i); VII/28, annex, goal 2.2; IX/18A, para. 6(d))
  • Strengthen communication, education and public awareness to promote information sharing on, and the understanding of, the importance of protected areas so as to increase support for them among decision‑makers and stakeholders of key sectors at all levels of government, community and non-governmental organizations in terms of the benefits of protected areas to national and subnational economies, sustaining local livelihoods and securing ecosystem services, public health, maintenance of cultural values, sustainable development, reducing risks from natural disasters, and climate‑change adaptation and mitigation; (X/31A, para. 1(f)-(g); VII/28, annex, goal 3.5; IX/18A, para. 22-23; X/31B, para. 29(a)-(b))

Financial support of the Global Environment Facility

Wildlife Conservation for Development

Amazon, Congo, and Critical Forest Biomes

Blue Green Islands

BDFA: Objective One

BDFA: Inclusive Conservation Initiative

IWFA: Objective One

CCFA: Objective 1.4

Potential implementation/project partners

Related references