Everyone agrees that protected areas are valuable, but can they make money?  Can they achieve full financial stability, and even provide a return on private investment?  A new IUCN initiative aims to find out.

The aim of the Incubator for Nature Conservation led by The IUCN Environmental Law Centre working with the Global Protected Areas Programme and the Business and Biodiversity Programme is to support on-the-ground solutions for financing protected and conserved areas around the world. Earlier this year, IUCN sent out a call for potential partner sites willing to test innovative ideas for financing conservation.  Last month, the INC Working Group met to consider the proposals received.

Ten sites from different parts of the world, different ecosystem types and different governance models were selected including 3 Marine Protected Areas (Astola Island in Pakistan, Espíritu Santo Marine Protected Area in Mexico), Guanahacabibes National park and Banco de San Antonio Prominent Natural Element in Cuba).

All selected sites have great financing potential, though most lack financial security for long term management.  INC will work with them to develop and implement solutions, ranging from carbon financing to ecotourism to sale of products from the area.  Over the coming months, INC will work with sites to understand the most pressing needs, the clearest opportunities, and how best to build a strong and sustainable financial future.

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