New Fund for Protected Areas in the Caucasus

April 2006

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) has pledged $300,000 toward the start up of a Caucasus Protected Areas Fund, launched at a ministerial conference in Berlin in March. The fund will provide much-needed, long-term financial sustainability for priority protected areas in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia in the Caucasus Hotspot.

The region’s protected areas have the greatest biological diversity of any temperate forest region in the world yet they face a critical funding shortage.

Developed in collaboration with the German government, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and Conservation International (CI), the fund will provide up to 50 percent of the basic annual operating costs of protected areas that have been identified as having the highest biodiversity.

Initial commitments of $9.7 million from these partners, including $3 million from the Global Conservation Fund at CI, will provide a strong basis for the Protected Areas Fund to achieve its goal of a core endowment of $50 million.

The fund will help to implement one of CEPF’s strategic directions in the region of supporting civil society efforts to improve protected area systems in select target corridors across the hotspot.

Since 2004, CEPF’s investments in the Caucasus Hotspot have been supporting the creation of new protected areas such as the Arevik Special Protected Area and Zangezur Protected Area in Armenia and the expansion of others such as the Borjomi National Park in Georgia. Leveraged funding from the region’s national governments will further increase effective and sustainable management of growing protected areas systems.

Proposals for protected area financing will be submitted annually to the fund by each of the three countries’ ministries for environment and nature conservation. The Regional Council for Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use in the Caucasus – funded in part by CEPF and composed of NGOs and government representatives from all the Caucasus countries – will review their scientific and technical aspects, providing an important form of national stakeholder participation.

For further information, contact CEPF Grant Director for the Caucasus , or read these new resources: