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Piloting a new conservation finance curriculum in Germany

Protecting marine and coastal environments takes know-how, time and financial resources. So how do we fund marine conservation? There are many possible finance mechanisms, public and private, used to fund conservation efforts. Working with partners in Norway and Germany from the Blue Solutions program, CSF developed a set of training materials to teach environmental practitioners from governments and NGOs how to select and design finance mechanisms to support their conservation objectives.

conservation finance trainingTeaching materials on direct market mechanisms for conservation finance. Photo credit: Niki Gribi.

This conservation finance module was identified by Blue Solutions as a high priority due to the chronic lack of financial resources to ensure protection and management of marine and coastal biodiversity. The idea for the module began when CSF Training Director Kim Bonine attended the World Conservation Congress in Hawai’i last September. While there, she talked with Christian Neumann from Blue Solutions about collaborating on the development of a new curriculum module to complement their existing training portfolio that includes marine spatial planning, climate change adaptation, and integrating ecosystem services into marine and coastal development.

conservation finance trainingParticipants working on an exercise during the pilot workshop. Photo credit: Niki Gribi.

Blue Solutions is a global, multi-organizational project that promotes sustainable management and equitable governance of our marine and coastal resources. They are coordinated by the German Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and implemented in partnership with the Norwegian foundation and UNEP collaborating center GRID-Arendal, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Freshwater and Marine Ecosystems Branch of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Their approach to marine and coastal issues involves capacity building, identifying and promoting solutions, and supporting policy processes.

conservation finance trainingResults of group work during the pilot workshop. Photo credit: Niki Gribi.

During the first half of this year, CSF developed a set of presentations, readings and exercises that showcase some of the opportunities and approaches to capture ecosystem service values for the benefit of conservation and sustainable use. These can be broadly categorized into direct market, indirect market, other market and non-market mechanisms. We placed a strong focus on the enabling factors that are necessary to support the development of conservation finance mechanisms, and the steps required for their establishment. We also developed several case studies showcasing successful examples of finance mechanisms such as water funds and marine eco-tourism.

conservation finance trainingParticipants in the pilot workshop in Frankfurt, Germany. Photo credit: Niki Gribi.

In early October, Kim and Niki, CSF Training and Communications Manager, traveled to Germany to meet with members of the Blue Solutions team and their partners. We led a 2-day workshop in which we presented the new curriculum and piloted the exercises. The goal of the workshop was to provide participants with an understanding of the technical content of the module, guidance for delivering the content in an interesting and interactive way, and recommendations for making the training relevant to different programs and contexts. The workshop also included time for discussions about how the module can be integrated into the current Blue Solutions training portfolio and the existing efforts of partners and attendees. After feedback from the workshop is incorporated into the module, the Blue Solutions team will begin to offer this conservation finance training to partners around the world.

Projects or courses this news item is about: 
Conservation Finance Curriculum Development