financial planning for national systems of protected areas: guidelines and preliminary lessons
One of the greatest challenges facing governments and their partner organizations is the need to develop financially sustainable protected area systems and solid organizations able to efficiently manage these natural assets. Although some progress has been achieved over the past decades, to date most protected area systems around the world are still severely under funded. In most cases, protected areas are still dependent upon limited national budget allocations, support from international conservation organizations and short-term international funding though projects.
During the 7th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity in February 2004, 188 national governments adopted the Global Program of Action on Protected Areas to support establishment of comprehensive, ecologically representative, and effectively financed and managed regional and national protected areas. This contributed to the three objectives on the Convention and the 2010 Goal to significantly reduce the rate of biodiversity loss. Although the 2004 Global Program of Action on Protected Areas reinvigorated many government’s commitments to finance protected areas, there has not been a significant increase in funding to protected areas. The budgets of the national systems of protected areas are mostly composed of contributions from central governments, international cooperation, and protected area self-generated revenues. When comparing the existing budgets of the national systems of protected areas with their financing needs, there is evidence of large deficits. For example, recent financial analysis of the national systems of protected areas of Ecuador, Peru, and Costa Rica, estimate annual deficits of US$6, US$9, and US$17 million, respectively. It has been documented by known experts that the aggregated deficit is alarming at global and national levels, and particularly acute in developing nations.
In order to achieve the financial sustainability of national systems of protected areas it is critical to take into account the need to increase the capacity to self- generate additional revenue at national levels, including market value of payments for ecosystems services such as water service, carbon sequestration, and scenic beauty. On the other hand, it is equally important to improve the institutional capacity to adequately manage financial resources and carry out the necessary legal and regulatory reform to enable reliable long-term funding.
With support from The Nature Conservancy and other members of the CFA (Conservation Finance Alliance), I am pleased to present this new publication that includes practical, accessible, and easy to use methods for improving financial planning, and a road map for the implementation of business- oriented financial plans for the national systems of protected areas.
Antonio Brack , Minister of Enviroment of Peru