Machakhela National Park
Machakhela National Park, Georgia

OUR PURPOSE

NATURE PROTECTION IN THE SOUTH CAUCASUS

CNF provides vital funding support for nature conservation in the stunning wilderness areas of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. These three countries form the core of an ecoregion that is one of the most biologically rich on Earth and are home to an unusually high number of endemic plant and animal species.

OUR STORY

The idea to help the governments of the South Caucasus support their systems of national parks and nature reserves (“protected areas”) with operational costs and capacity building was launched at a Ministerial Conference in Berlin in 2006. Following a “50 percent principle”, a foundation would be created to match but not exceed state budgets – potentially doubling a specific park’s operating funds, and incentivizing governments to increase their own budgets to attract matching funds.

The Conference was attended by the then-environmental ministers of each of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia and hosted by BMZ, the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development. A year later, the Caucasus Nature Fund was founded by KfW (acting on a mandate from BMZ), WWF Germany and Conservation International.

CNF began operations in 2008 with a clear vision but, with its limited starting capital of €7.5 million, a necessarily modest initial program ambition.  In that first year, however, in the aftermath of fires that broke out in the conflict between Russia and Georgia, we were already able to build trust by providing €60,000 in emergency funding for firefighting equipment for Georgia’s largest national park — Borjomi-Kharagauli.  In 2009, we began with grants of regular recurring funding for Borjomi and, in Armenia, for Khosrov Forest State Reserve.  

The effectiveness of our program was quickly recognized and generous additional contributions by BMZ and many other magnanimous donors followed. By the beginning of 2024 — our 17th year of operation — we were financing conservation in 21 PAs covering 680,000 hectares across the two countries, with ambitions for further expansion.

Azat River, Armenia © Wikimedia Commons
Azat River, Armenia © Wikimedia Commons

With this year’s program budget of just under €4 million, CNF is supporting the work and livelihoods of 850 park employees in five PAs in Armenia and 16 in Georgia and providing broad-ranging funding for nature conservation in and around the PAs — through biodiversity monitoring, capacity building, community engagement and awareness-raising.

We currently manage over €85 million in assets that finance our work.  Our remarkable success has made us a valued partner of the governments whose PAs we support and of many other actors in the region working on the conservation of its magnificent nature.

Khor Virap Sanctuary, Armenia

OUR WORK

CNF provides matching grants for operating costs including salary supplements, essential equipment and maintenance of protected areas in the region. In addition, we support the development of management plans, biodiversity monitoring systems and sustainable economic development through ecotourism programs.

WHERE WE WORK

LATEST NEWS

We are thrilled to announce the launch of a Scholarship for the “Biodiversity Research and Conservation” joint Master's Program of the International Scientific Educational Center of NAS RA…
Birds Monitoring in Protected Areas of Armenia will be carried out for 2024 with the financing of the Caucasus Nature Fund, with the possibility of extension thereafter if…
In a bid to bolster conservation efforts and ensure effective management of natural habitats, the Caucasus Nature Fund (CNF) program team has intensified its monitoring activities across Protected…
CNF received a €10,000 grant from GLS Investments for its “Khor Virap” sanctuary ponds restoration project as part of a competition last autumn. As was agreed, CNF doubled…

OUR PARTNERS

CNF is a conservation trust fund created to safeguard the Caucasus ecoregion—one of the most biologically rich and diverse areas on Earth. While we are a multi-stakeholder organization today, three of our initial partners continue to play an outsized role: BMZ as our core funder; its implementing agency and our co-founder KfW; and WWF as co-founder and initiator of CNF as an idea.

implemented by

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You can read more about our many other funders and partners here.

Caucasus Nature Fund - Supporting People, Conserving Nature, In the Caucasus
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