Within the March 2021 Special Edition of PARKS on “COVID-19 and Protected and Conserved Areas” is a paper on sustainable finance for resilient protected and conserved areas.
There is widespread concern that funding for protected and conserved areas (PCAs) will decline substantially due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic outcomes. This paper makes the case that the impacts of the global crisis do not in themselves introduce novel financial threats to PCAs; rather, they serve to magnify, intensify and exacerbate existing structural and systemic financial constraints and weaknesses. To respond appropriately, it is therefore important to understand the status of PCA finance before COVID-19, and to address the underlying barriers and constraints to PCA financial sustainability.
Based on known PCA finance challenges, and predicted effects from COVID-19, the authors present nine overarching recommendations for building a sustainable finance base for PCAs: diversify the funding base; improve spending effectiveness and efficiency; ensure domestic budgets continue to support PCAs; increase international development finance and philanthropy; strengthen revenue generation from tourism; support PCAs governed by Indigenous peoples, local communities and private actors; include local communities in PCA governance and benefits; engage the finance sector and attract private capital; and raise public support and interest in nature conservation and PCAs. Specific activities and tools are provided to support each of these recommendations, whilst respecting the current global context.
Key words: conservation finance, protected area finance, economic crisis, finance mechanisms, BIOFIN