Since the MAVA Foundation announced it would close its doors in 2022, its stakeholders have reacted with shock, disbelief, tears, indignation, worry, interest and -- more rarely -- congratulations. Even rarer still is an understanding of the unexpected benefits of closing, of which there are many.
It is over thirty years since Michael Soulé proposed his model of conservation biology as a “synthetic, multi-disciplinary science”. Since everything humanity needs and does is ultimately derived from nature, it is imperative the sciences, social sciences, policy, practice, human rights, international development, legal and financial systems, culture and the arts come together to address one of the most pressing existential crises of our time. The Collaborative Fund is designed to support such collaboration between nine biodiversity conservation organisations and the University of Cambridge.
Unsustainable development, consumerism, the unequal role of women in society – all have negative impacts on our natural environment. Can environmental philanthropy successfully address the most pressing challenges if we do not acknowledge their interconnected nature? We believe that collaboration with funders from different fields – health, development, social justice – will mean a better-targeted and relevant response to environmental problems, and ultimately more impact. Collaboration across sectors is the future of environmental funding.
The big opportunity of the decade is Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) – maritime areas, clearly delineated, and protected in one way or another from atop the foaming wave to Davy Jones’s locker. But for them to make a meaningful difference, they need meaningful management, effective compliance and enforcement, and routine and widespread monitoring of benefits. That’s hard work. Arduous toil costs cash. Trusts and foundations have an important role.
EFN’s Forest Funders Group has developed a methodology for mapping forest-related grants. The aim is to profile the flow of forest grants around specific issues, geographies and theories of change, and in doing so help funders to gain a better sense of forest philanthropy in the round, and reflect on the place of their portfolios within it. This trial analysis of a subset of grants offers some tantalising points for reflection.
We are at a key moment in history. If business as usual continues, we have just five years left before we reach the critical global temperature rise of 1.5C. Despite some of the world’s largest economies recently ratifying the Paris Agreement, there seems little real commitment to tackle the big transition required to change course from this trajectory. Civil society is mobilising in response, but finds itself under pressure from state and non-state actors alike. At Global Greengrants Fund we are discussing what our priorities should be over the next five years within this context. Three fundamental questions underlie our thinking.
Seldom are ‘environmental’ issues ‘merely’ environmental issues; often they are part of larger, connected and complex resource, social and health concerns. Responding effectively to these connected challenges requires integrated solutions, but two problems are faced in doing so. Firstly, few conservationists take the multi-dimensionality of the issues into account when designing programmes. Secondly, few funding partners realise that existing funding policies often prevent one of the most suitable approaches to many conservation issues being implemented in the first place.
I believe rewilding can aid philanthropy by delivering a joined up approach. Want to fund wildlife? Worried about flooding, feel the need to mitigate climate change? Looking to educate and inspire about the wonder of nature? Keen to help endangered species, restore ecological processes, create habitat, regulate animals naturally through predation? I believe we have an answer.
Earlier this week, in collaboration with and munificently hosted by Synchronicity Earth, EFN held the first of what we hope will be a series of salons focused on increasing support to environmental causes. Launching the series was Dr. Lisbet Rausing.