Our Approach

Lake Arpi NP © WWF Germany/A.Heidelberg

Lake Arpi NP © WWF Germany/A.Heidelberg

 Our Approach

A “50% principle”
ensures long-term commitment
from both sides.

As in many countries, particularly in the developing world, governments in the South Caucasus fall short of providing the funds needed to manage a growing number of protected areas. Inadequate funding for staff, equipment and other basic operating costs has led to progressive degradation of the rich natural habitat and wildlife that these areas were established to protect. With funding from other donors largely directed to one-off projects, ongoing day-to-day expenses in the parks remain critically underfunded.

An enduring solution

CNF aims to close this gap by providing a stable, enduring funding source to help meet core needs for the protected areas in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. With initial funding from the German Government, Conservation International and WWF, CNF began operating in 2008 as a conservation trust fund combining investment income from its endowment with other available capital and annual donations to generate grant-making resources. Our model—emphasizing long-term commitment, transparency and accountability—makes it possible to work with the protected areas to develop effective management, best practices and comprehensive planning. Because income from CNF’s endowment covers its own administrative costs, 100 percent of any donations we receive go directly to the field.

Public-private partnerships ensure local buy-in

CNF works through public-private partnerships with the three governments, each side committing to long-term support for the protected areas. Following a “50 percent principle”, CNF matches but does not exceed State budgets—potentially doubling a specific park’s operating funds. To ensure sustainable development in the protected areas, CNF stresses the importance of long-term planning processes that meet international standards, including local community involvement.

Direct, tangible support

CNF grants address the everyday needs of the protected areas, providing:

  • essential equipment for park rangers such as, binoculars, uniforms, cameras and phones
  • maintenance and repairs
  • small infrastructure projects such as trails, tourist facilities and ranger shelters
  • capital purchases like jeeps and fire trucks
  • adequate salaries for rangers and staff
  • support for training and operational and management planning

Technical and financial accountability

CNF contracts annual financial and technical audits for every grant it makes. Technical audits review progress against a specific park’s work plan and offer recommendations for improvement. While financial audits report not only on money provided by CNF, but on the entire park budget. This allows us to monitor that CNF’s funds are used appropriately and that our grants are augmenting—not replacing—government investment in the parks. Other stakeholders, in turn, often increase their support, reassured that basic operations are funded and sound management is in place.

Learn more on conservation finance and environmental trust funds →

Our Approach - Caucasus Nature Fund