In order to ensure that it is getting maximum conservation value for its investments, the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) is modernizing and bringing greater innovation into its investment strategy, i.e. other than investments via competitive grant making. Furthermore, among the revised functions outlined in the PACT Act 2015 is the legal mandate of “setting strategic priorities for the development, mobilization and allocation of financial resources for the NPAS.” In response, PACT has developed and is implementing a Conservation Investment Strategy.
Whereas the long-term approach will be to respond to the needs of the National Protected Areas System, as opposed to individual sites, the desire is for investments to respond to the current critical needs of the NPAS. As determined through a consultative process, these initial critical needs include:
- Investments towards Biodiversity and Ecosystem Protection enabling improved Ecosystem Health
- Financial Sustainability/ Revenue Generation for the NPAS guiding the improved financial sustainability of the system
- Development and/or expansion of socio-economic benefits from the NPAS to support community development and local economy
PACT shall undertake investments in the National Protected Areas System and Sustainable Development of Belize via several categories of investment. These categories: Targeted Investments, Secondary Investments, and Third-Party Investments are described below.
These investments will support PACT’s efforts in meeting the desired priorities for biodiversity and ecosystem protection, revenue generation and financial sustainability, and socio-economic benefits to communities. Funding may also support activities/ initiatives that create enabling conditions, inclusive of staff training and capacity building. These investments shall be guided by PACT’s Prioritization Model developed to assess priorities for investments during the implementation of the 2018-2021 Conservation Investment Strategy.
Sample activities/programmes that may be considered under such investments include, but are not limited to:
- Forest & Ecosystem Management
- Illegal Extraction (poaching & Biodiversity loss)
- Enforcement Capacity
- Biodiversity monitoring & research
- Capital investments
- Recreation/ Tourism Infrastructure
- Marketing & Product Development
- Business Planning & Training
- Community enforcement & monitoring
- Community resource use schemes
- Managed Access Fisheries
- Employment Opportunities
The process will require eligible managers/co-managers to submit an “expression of partnership” to PACT. This expression shall be in a format designed by PACT outlining the scope of the proposed investment, potential sources for leveraging, alignment with PACT CIS priorities as well as alignment to management plans, NPAPSP 2015, GSDS 2016, etc. Expression of partnerships can be submitted from all 22 priority areas over the course of the fiscal year as outlined in the Conservation Investment Strategy. An Environmental, Social and Gender Risk Assessment must also be undertaken by the applicant. This assessment will entail a review of all potential environmental risk that may result from the planned intervention. The assessment must also undertake a review of potential social and gender risks inclusive of positive and negative impacts to direct stakeholder groups, resource users, and indigenous people.
While a ceiling for these investments is not fixed, investments shall be guided by recommended allocations defined by PACT’s Prioritization Model and PACT’s planning process.
Funding will be made available via this window to support general PA management and operations of PAs and programmes outside of priority areas/ecosystems of the 2018-2021 Conservation Investment Strategy. Support may also include management processes and institutional strengthening tools for Protected Area managers inclusive of the development of Management Plans, Strategic Plans, etc. Additionally, funding may also be utilized for the formulation and implementation of partnerships with local or international entities to create enabling conditions for the efficient implementation of the NPAS.
Secondary investments shall primarily support general protected areas management, operations, and creating enabling conditions outside of priority areas identified for Targeted Investments. Secondary investments may further support one-off projects or initiatives that promote conservation, enhancement and protection of Belize’s natural resources. The planning, review and approval process for secondary investments should not exceed 8 weeks for PACT. This however shall be dependent on the diligence and support of applicants in the submission of timely and complete application and review feedback.
Applications from NPAS stakeholders for direct support must be submitted using the standard application form and will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis (as the availability of funds permit). Where PACT wishes to invest via partnerships, direct dialogue shall be the preferred process with a Memorandum of Understanding being the expected output.
As part of the submission package for direct support to NPAS stakeholders, an investment workplan and budget (in a PACT format) must accompany the application form. Interested applicants are expected to complete an Environmental, Social and Gender Checklist. This will assist in identifying any potential risks and appropriate mitigation measures. In the event where an applicant is a government department, a letter of endorsement from the respective Ministry must also be submitted. PACT shall internally aim to coordinate the submission, screening and approval process on a quarterly basis; in line with quarterly Board of Directors meetings.
In cases where secondary investments are being proposed via partnerships, a proposal and MOU detailing the scope of engagement shall be drafted by the CID (in conjunction with the partner) for presentation to the Internal Screening Committee and PACT Board of Directors for consideration and approval.
Existing Third-Party Investments include the Meso-American Reef Fund (MARFund) and the Belize Nature Conservation Foundation (BNCF). In both instances, financing portfolios are managed by PACT utilizing policies and procedures as outlined in their respective operations manuals.
PACT shall continue to engage other regional and international donor agencies to further expand investments via this modality. Where opportunities are available, PACT will publicize accordingly.