Forest Landscape Sustainability Accelerator
An investment boost for the future of forest conservation
Sustaining tropical forest is vital for the planet. It’s a top global priority, not only for the unique and diverse wildlife and human communities that live in and around them, but for protecting the future of our planet from climate change and biodiversity loss.
National environmental organisations have a critical role in sustaining forest. They have the proven ability to manage and conserve entire tropical forest landscapes, and the potential to ensure long-term impact. However, most conservation initiatives are reliant on a model of unsustainable funding – usually NGOs work project-by-project with piece-by-piece planning – that means they often struggle to effectively strategise and innovate for longer-term impact.
It’s a ‘sustainability challenge’ that must be solved. NGOs need funding to continue and ramp up conservation impact and success. Acheiving sustainability requires diversified funding sources not just today or tomorrow, but ongoing and reliable in the face of an ever-changing world.
This is where the BirdLife Forest Landscape Sustainability Accelerator comes in. From Paraguay to Indonesia, we're investing in the teams behind bold forest landscape programmes that are ensuring the conservation of world’s tropical forests. We're helping them access the knowledge and space to create new, sustainable funding models.
It's a game-changer for forest conservation. Modelled on the innovation that powers start-up businesses such as in the tech sector, an 'Accelerator' is:
a fixed-term, cohort-based programme bringing together seed investment, connections, mentorship, training workshops, and promotional events to accelerate growth.
We apply this innovative approach to forest conservation programmes. Multi-faceted support helps teams explore and develop diverse and integrated solutions focused on the future of conservation in their landscapes. Our teams are working on the ground on forest-friendly supply chains, payments for ecosystem services, private financing, and more.
The first cohort of BirdLife Partners in the Accelerator are advancing sustainable financing strategies at a landscape-scale in Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Sierra Leone, Madagascar, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia. In Gola, Sierra Leone, we’ve scaling up our new rainforest-friendly chocolate, with profits invested back into the programme.
Our goal is a network of self-sustaining programmes with a ‘bring it all together’ landscape-approach to strategy and funding that continue to protect forests, wildlife and livelihoods into the future.
All the sites featured in Accelerator projects are a major global priority for conservation, and classified as Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs). These tropical forest landscapes are crucial for the survival of unique and threatened species, for the livelihoods of local people, and for international commitments to combat climate change. They must be protected and restored.
In 2019 we brought together BirdLife Partners with big ideas. They showed us what is possible with the Accelerator effect. In one year, we're already seeing shifting regional business practices, potential changes to laws, and forest-friendly products being shipped around the world.
The Accelerator has four complementary components:
- Training – we offer an intensive support programme to explore new ideas, share knowledge and experience, and progress concrete outputs tailored to a landscape.
- Technical collaborations – To maintain momentum, the Accelerator participants form a cohort and have regular webinars and calls to share progress and cover more in-depth technical topics. Additionally, BirdLife staff and others provide direct technical support.
- Profile raising – Potential funders, investors and collaborators will be identified with each landscape team, and connections will be proactively built.
- Seed funding – Participating Partners are eligible to apply for seed funding of 10-20k GPB to support the time and work needed to take the plans and ideas to the next stage.
The Accelerator's cohort and team are actively seeking new collaborations with those who can enable us to accelerate sustainability strategies. There are a number of different opportunities to get involved—across each of the landscapes and at the portfolio-level; from technical collaboration, advisory, grant-making, impact investing and more.
Please contact the team at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Accelerator programme for 2020
In these uncertain times, we welcome the challenge of taking the Accelerator programme online. By connecting into online training opportunities, events and platforms, like edX, Global Landscapes Forum digital summit and WWF Landscape Finance Lab, we will continue to support partners to accelerate their innovative ideas.
In 2020, the cohort is growing to include front-running organisations from Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Sao Tome & Principe, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Across 1.8 million hectares, their initiatives are conserving a significant amount of forest through protection, sustainable management and restoration, and supporting local people with new development opportunities. We would appreciate as much support as possible to get to the heart of landscape solutions.
Our Flagship Accelerator Cohort
Ten forest landscapes. Thousands of hectares of potential.
The first cohort from the first Accelerator workshop in April 2019, with the BirdLife team at the David Attenborough Building, Cambridge, UK. © BirdLife
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