The entire 4 decades of my career I spent worrying about the financing of the protected areas systems of the world. Until the CBD in 1992, no significant financing mechanisms for protected areas existed, and only with the creation of the GEF a source of an important size came about that was dedicated specifically to the conservation of biodiversity. In that same period, of course, some other major world wide sources arose, due to a booming economy and many small and a few enormous private donations as well as institutional grants from bi-lateral sources all contributed to new financing opportunities for biodiversity conservation in the nineteen nineties.

During the first 3 - 4 years of GEF, there was the possibility to include important financing for the basic needs in support of the operations of the protected areas, but it never surpassed 50% of the projects that I saw. After the first few years, however, I saw the proportions earmarked for protected areas management gradually slide to no more than 20 and very rarely 30% of the total grant value in the projects that I analyzed or participated in. 

With COP7 dealing with protected areas, I believe that this is an opportune moment to seriously address the issue of financing protected areas management by contributing to the operational budgets of the mandated protected areas agencies (PAA). After all, they are the ones that need to carry out the vital tasks such as: 

  • interfacing with local communities,

  • help them social accrue economic benefits from the protected areas,

  • provide environmental education to the schools of local communities,

  • attend to visitors who are the source of economic benefits for local communities and help co-finance the operation of the protected areas through entry fees, and

  • enforce the law ? although in many areas with an adequate field presence this is rarely necessary.

I have written a document in preparation of COP7. There are several reasons to deal urgently with this topic: 

  • In most of the countries of the world, we still don't have areas protected efficiently made up on the basis of a selection of detailed ecosystem maps and therefore it is not very likely that we end up protecting the maximum feasible 80% as estimated by Vreugdenhil et al. 2003 of all species as they now populate the planet.

  • Additionally we go through a period of global warming that will probably change the composition of many ecosystems in such a way that we can lose high percentages of the species that we are now capturing in protected areas, especially so, in the humid tropics.

  • Inadequate field presence - especially park rangers ? almost always results in serious harm to any PA, which is an additional factor that reduces the chance of survival of species.

While we cannot halt climatic change, at least we can try to stop preventable direct human inflictions on protected areas by financing the management operations of the protected areas systems. In attached document, I present a calculation of the operational costs of the protected areas systems of the developing and transition countries and suggest 4 specific recommendations for COP7. These cost calculations are the most specific ones currently existing in the world.

For years there was no platform dealing with this issue, until Adopt A Ranger was created in 2006.

The document is no more than a first draft and any recommendation, expansion or suggestion for changes is welcome. In the second part of this email I include the message in Spanish as it was sent to the Latin American forum currently held in preparation of COP7. You can read more about this issue here .


Daan Vreugdenhil, PhD



En el transcurso de los 40 a?s de mi carrera me preocup?sobre el financiamiento de los sistemas de las ?eas protegidas. Hasta la CBD en en 1992, no hab? mecanismos significativos para el financiamiento de las mismas, y solamente al inicio del GEF se crearon una fuente de tama? importante dedicada a la conservaci? de la biodiversidad. En los primeros 3 - 4 a?s hab? la posibilidad de incluir importantes financiamientos para el financiamiento de las necesidades b?icas para el manejo de las ?eas protegidas, pero nunca llegaba a un 50% de los proyectos que yo vi. Despu? los primeros a?s, observaba como los financiamientos para el manejo basico de las ?eas disminu? cada vez mas, hasta generalmente no llegar a 25% en los documentos de los proyectos que yo revisaba.

Con el COP7 tratando sobre las ?eas protegidas, creo que es oportuno de entamar el tema. Escrib?un documento en preparaci? de la conferencia en Malacia, que por esta raz? est?escrito en Ingles. Hay varias razones para tratar con este tema ahora:  

  • En la mayoría de los países del mundo, todav? no tenemos ?eas protegidas eficientemente compuestos con la base en la selecci? de mapas de ecosistemas detalladas y por ende es muy poco probable que llegamos a proteger a un m?imo factible de 80% de las especies todav? populando la planeta.

  • En cima de eso hay un calentamiento de la tierra, que cambiar?probablemente la composici? de muchas ecosistemas de tal forma que podemos perder un alto porcentaje de las especies que logramos de captar en ?eas protegidas, especialmente en le tr?ico humedo.

  • Inadecuada presencia en el campo con personal de campo - especialmente los guardaparques - casi siempre resulta en da?s graves a las AP, que es un factor que adicionalmente reduce la chance de sobrevivencia de las especies.

Mientras que no podemos influir mucho al cambio clim?ico, por lo menos podemos tratar de parar inflicciones preventibles a trav? del financiamiento de las AAP. Calculo en el documento cuanto se necesita y propongo como cerrar la brecha de la deficiencia actual, dando 4 recomendaciones espec?icas para el COP7.

Personalmente no tengo plataforma oficial para presentar mi preocupaci? y como dediqu?una buena parte de mi carrera a la conservaci? en Am?ica latina, espero que sea posible despertar una concordancia con mi preocupaci? que resulta en un documento con tambi? refleja la preocupaci? de la regi? latina o por lo menos de unos pa?es de la regi? que comparten la m?.

El documento no es final pero tiene el respaldo de varios conservacionistas internacionales. Sin embargo, el documento no pretende ser m? que un primer borrador, y cualquiera recomendaci?, ampliaci? o sugerencia para cambios son bienvenidos.  

Para leer m? sobre el tema se puede hacer clique  aqui

Saludos cordiales,

Daan Vreugdenhil, PhD

This page  is part of our web-book on Biodiversity Conservation. For organized reading go to our on-line Table of Content, or download our book in pdf format.