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.
Keyword “funding overseas”
Women around the globe are at the forefront of addressing the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation; designing, implementing, and scaling up their own solutions. Yet, as a new mapping report by Global Greengrants Fund and Prospera International Network of Women’s Funds reveals, only 0.2 percent of all foundation funding focuses explicitly on women and the environment. This means that there is a great opportunity for funders committed to protecting our planet to improve their interventions by supporting compelling women-led solutions.
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.
In a recent EFN survey of 92 chief executives of environmental organisations, nearly half of the respondents indicated that their organisations' funding, strategy or other activities are being constrained by the so-called ‘closing space’ for civil society, here in the UK and in countries spanning the globe. The solutions will likely require groups to work across issue areas. How can funders help?
We believe our current food system is broken, causing not just environmental damage, but epidemics in obesity and diabetes, poverty amongst food and farm workers, and the mistreatment of animals. Last year the Food Ethics Council was commissioned by a group of funders to conduct a census of CSOs in order to develop a picture of the voluntary sector on food, farming and fishing in the UK. The census indicates that the challenges faced by the food system are getting worse. And despite the best efforts of CSOs, the sector’s response is not commensurate with the scale and urgency of the challenges.
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.
Over the last year and a half or so, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) has been working to understand how leaders of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the South experience, and engage with, disruptive change that has impacts on their organisations. Now a new report looks at the implications of disruptive change in Southern CSOs for funders.
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.
The recent assassinations of internationally renowned Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres and her colleague Nelson García have shone a tragic spotlight on the dangers facing those defending their land and traditional ways of life from powerful government and corporate interests. What can funders do to support environmental campaigners under threat? How can we keep our partners safe and ensure that their vital fight for their basic needs, and some of the world’s most endangered habitats, can continue?