Session 2: Sustainable Financing for AHPs
Protected areas require a sustainable source of financing to support general administration, maintenance of buildings, vehicles and equipment, law enforcement, species and habitat monitoring, scientific studies, outreach and awareness programmes and tourism management. At the same time they need to attract, retain, and build the capacity of highly motivated and qualified staff; and build effective relationships and partnerships with key stakeholders. However, ensuring adequate and secure long-term financing for conservation and management of protected areas has long been a challenge for park management authorities. While annual budget allocations may be assured in government funds, the amount is never sufficient to match the growing needs of managing protected areas.
In augmenting their regular government budget, the protected area management units often seek other means of generating revenue, such as imposing user charges, licensing fees, environmental taxes, and even privatization of service provision through concessions or leases, among others. Park branding of merchandise, sales of souvenirs, “friends of the park” donation schemes, and crowd-funding have all been tried and tested. Having a knowledge of the opportunities at hand and the innovative approaches in securing financial resources, which have already been successfully utilised by others, can provide guidance to the AHPs in optimising their ability to create more sustainable financing models that fit their context, capacity, and needs.
In the 2021 ACB Webinar Series on Conservation Finance, Dr. David Meyer explained conservation finance in terms of both decreasing the cost of conservation and increasing the capital for conservation. At the same time, encouraging behavioral change to decrease harmful actions and increasing incentives for positive action leads to better delivery with available money and capacity, and achieves outcomes more effectively. Such sentiment sets the tone for this session, especially with the realities of the global pandemic, wherein the importance of protected area conservation has been highlighted for its contributions to preserving habitats and species, while at the same time it is recognised that much work still needs to be done and such work entails resources. The session hopes for the participants/audience to arrive at a common understanding and appreciation of conservation financing as a range of practical and feasible possibilities to securing and sustaining financial resources for protected areas. Presentations will include the different approaches and tools that may be adopted by the parks; an exchange of best practices from protected areas that are already raising significant income using some of these tools, and the use of protected area business planning approaches to identify funding gaps and fund-raising opportunities, and to prioritise key elements that may be applied by each park.
The objective of this session is to arrive at a common understanding and appreciation of sustainable financing of protected areas/AHPs through available and currently practiced approaches and tools that may be adopted or applied by the AHPs.