Led by the American Bird Conservancy, National Audubon Society, BirdLife International and the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Environmental Funds (RedLAC), Conserva Aves is an innovative and bold initiative for effective nature conservation, climate resilience and sustainable development.
Chingaza Paramo, Cundinamarca, Colombia.
By catalyzing and expediting the creation and sustainable management of at least two million hectares of new subnational protected areas in nine Latin American and Caribbean countries, this initiative seeks to fill critical gaps in the protection of globally and nationally threatened bird species, as well as hemispheric migratory birds, now in decline. The sites to be protected contain prime habitats not only for birds, but also for biodiversity in general. Conserve Birds is a concrete step to help countries fulfill their commitment to the 30×30 conservation target recently adopted at COP15 in Montreal, Canada.
After 18 months of meticulous planning, Fondo Acción, a member of RedLAC and implementing partner of Conserva Aves in Colombia, published the first call for proposals for the initiative in October 2022. Thirty-five concept notes were received and reviewed by a team of experts from Fondo Acción, Audubon, BirdLife and Asociación Calidris, BirdLife’s partner organization in the country. Fifteen of them met all the criteria, and applicants have been invited to submit full proposals. Most of the concept notes were submitted by NGOs, but three applications are community-led initiatives.
Together, these projects propose the creation of ten private reserves or reserve networks, two public protected areas, and six long-term conservation initiatives on communal or indigenous lands, also referred to by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as “other effective area-based conservation measures” (OECMs). These projects, covering 55,000 ha and 12 of Colombia’s 32 departments, will protect at least 37 globally threatened species, including two Critically Endangered and seven Endangered species, and more than two dozen declining North American migratory species.
Short-listed applicants have until January 29, 2023 to submit their full proposals. Fondo Acción and Asociación Calidris will provide guidance and, where necessary, training for the development of the proposals. Final decisions on which proposals will receive Conserva Aves support will be made by March 10, 2023.
While some concept notes looked promising, they did not advance to the full round of analysis, and 11 others missed the deadline. To give these applicants a second chance and for new applicants, Fondo Acción will issue a second call in Colombia during the first quarter of 2023. Similarly, calls in Peru and Bolivia are scheduled for the first quarter of 2023 and in Ecuador for the second quarter of 2023.
The Conserva Aves initiative was structured with the support of the Wyss Foundation, Ben Olewine, Chuck Bragg, Charles Dunn and an anonymous donor. Implementation in Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador is possible thanks to the generous support received from the Bezos Earth Fund, as well as a funding commitment from the Andes Amazon Fund.