Sustainable Financing of Protected Area Systems in the Congo Basin

Lead country


Participating countries

Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Dem. Rep. of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon

Project status

Under implementation

Implementing period

From October 13, 2015 to October 13, 2021

SDGs addressed by this project

SDG targets

  1. 15.a Mobilize resources for biodiversity conservation, sustainable use
  2. 15.1 Conserve, restore, sustainably use terrestrial, freshwater ecosystems
  3. 15.9 Integrate ecosystem values into national planning

Project ID: 3447

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Technical team

  • Ecosystems and Biodiversity Programme

Technical area(s)

  • Ecosystem management and restoration
  • Strengthening conservation areas


  • Biodiversity financing


  • FreshWaters
  • Conserved areas


  • Rivers and river basins
  • Key biodiversity areas (KBAs)

Transformed sector(s)

  • Forestry and other land use

UNDP role(s)

  • Optimising financing
  • Policy advice
  • Convening / Partnerships / Knowledge Sharing


  • Finance economy
  • Governance
  • Management operation


  • Ecosystem and ecosystem services conservation/restoration
  • Institutional framework
  • Nature finance
  • Participatory governance models

Social inclusion


Gender equality


Gender result effectiveness scale

  • Gender targeted


  • People pathway
  • Systems pathway

Risk reduction target(s)

  • Hazard control/mitigation
  • Reduce exposure

SDG target(s)

  • 15.a Mobilize resources for biodiversity conservation, sustainable use
  • 15.1 Conserve, restore, sustainably use terrestrial, freshwater ecosystems
  • 15.9 Integrate ecosystem values into national planning

Conventions and protocols

  • National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs)
  • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

Private sector(s)


Hot topic


About this project


The economic value of the ecosystem services generated by the natural resources of the Congo River Basin is immense, and the economic costs and losses incurred through ecosystem degradation and loss are therefore substantial. Such costs have far reaching implications both for national efforts at sustainable economic development and poverty alleviation and for economic processes in other parts of the world. Such high values strongly imply a high economic and development value to protected area (PA) conservation in the region. In many cases, this value far exceeds those arising from alternative—and less sustainable—land and resource use options. Increasing global recognition of the value of ecosystem services, together with the development of mechanisms such as REDD+ aimed at their monetisation, are creating new opportunities for capturing and conserving the Congo Basin's natural values. Marginal benefits from investing in capital improvements and on-going management of protected areas—particularly beginning from current low levels of investment—are therefore likely to be very high. However, current spending levels are low, management effectiveness of existing spending is low and countries are lacking models and tools to take advantage of new opportunities to improve the situation. All 21 elements of PA financial sustainability measured in each country in the region were found to be operating at a sub-optimal level, i.e., they presented some kind of barrier to sustainable PA financing. The project design calls for utilising GEF funding to address barriers to PA financial sustainability within six Congo Basin countries. According to this demonstration approach, approaches to removal of individual barriers would be demonstrated in one or more countries and at pilot PAs, with the resulting lessons captured and shared at national and regional levels and made available for replication. This approach will be further strengthened through a strong reliance on partnerships with donors and other stakeholders across the region that are active in support to PAs and/or PA finance, as a means of covering more ground and stimulating replication. In this way, the project offers a comprehensive yet realistic approach to the challenge of sustainable PA financing across the region and thus provides tangible support to the regional Plan de Convergence.The present project proposal offers an approach and a methodology for addressing the PA financing challenge at local, national and regional levels. Its objective is to have in place capacities, institutional frameworks and model mechanisms for the long term financial sustainability of PA systems and associated ecosystems within six Congo Basin countries. It aims to achieve this objective through three interconnected and complementary outcomes: Legal, policy and institutional frameworks to support sustainable conservation financing strengthened at regional and national levels; Enhanced / innovative revenue generation, management and disbursement mechanisms piloted; Business planning and cost effective management tools applied at PAs and associated landscapes.


To have in place capacities, institutional frameworks and model mechanisms for the long-term financial sustainability of PA systems and associated ecosystems within the Congo Basin.

USD $8,521,818

Grant amount

USD $26,764,900

Leveraged amount (co-financing)


Source(s) of fund

Sources of fund


  • Global Environment Facility – Trust Fund ($8,521,818)

Implementing partner(s)

  • Central African Forestry Commission

Project metrics

Related resources

Geospatial information

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Project reports and documentation


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