Commitment to explicit, attainable conservation objectives through long-term Conservation Agreements

Published: May 2019
Last edited: June 2019

Conservation Agreements (CAs) are binding grant contracts created and agreed upon by specific communities and the ECF. CAs set out clear, attainable and realistic conservation objectives and determine the scope of conservation measures to be implemented within communities that demonstrate the have the organization, motivation and commitment to follow 10-year habitat management plans. Conservation objectives are determined by the ECF and the local community using expert and local knowledge. Each agreement is tailored to the identified needs in the target community and the local landscape. These contracts bind communities to protect ecosystems but also assist traditional land users to use the land in a sustainable way. 

 

The communities that sign Conservation Agreements have been selected to do so because they show initiative, community involvement and potential through the FPA process and establishment of a CBO. In order to ensure the sustainability of the projects, the compliance of Conservation Agreements is monitored. Each community must submit annual technical reports. In case they fail to perform the planned activities, the payments under the agreement may be suspended until they meet the requirements, or subsequently terminated if they don’t comply for more than a year.

Classifications

Category
Evaluation, effectiveness measures and learning
Management planning
Sustainable financing
Sustainable livelihoods
Scale of implementation
Local
Subnational
National
Phase of solution
Documentation and dissemination of results
Review phase

Enabling factors

  1. Successful application of the FPA; communities practice using tools, models, financing
  2. Development of a philosophy of support and education, not policing
  3. Careful selection of communities which demonstrate the skills, organization and involvement to commence conservation measures
  4. Providing training and education to make decisions and manage landscapes in cooperation with nature conservation ideals
  5. Clearly defining activities being paid for creates a sense of purpose for CBOs
  6. Assisting communities secure additional funding 

Lessons learned

  • Technical expertise is needed in very few cases for specific questions related to agreeing on habitat management plans.
  • The cost estimates were developed in cooperation with the local community representatives based on their knowledge of local markets. The final result is that a fair full cost reimbursement is set by the conservation agreements that allows the CBOs to implement the Conservation Agreements and secure their economic sustainability over the contracted period.
  • Annual community reports include: a comparison of targeted and actual values for the planned measures; developments in project time frames; general financial report; information on problems and identification of possible solutions.
  • Each year a sample of conservation agreements are selected for independent audit of performance by ECF or a third party. This is an opportunity to examine monitoring and reporting as a method to test performance of the conservation agreement process.
  • Examining connections between conservation objective and resilience/livelihoods of locals helps direct future projects.