Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, Global Environment Facility to empower young conservationists


ABU DHABI, 1st July, 2024 (WAM) — The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund (MBZ Fund) announced the launch of the Global Field Grants as part of the Fonseca Leadership Programme, supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

With a $1.5 million commitment over three years, this partnership aims to empower young conservationists worldwide, providing essential financial support for both current and future researchers and practitioners in the field.

The GEF is a multilateral family of funds dedicated to confronting biodiversity loss, climate change, and pollution and supporting land and ocean health. Its financing enables developing countries to address complex challenges and work towards international environmental goals.

In 2023, GEF initiated the Gustavo Fonseca Youth Leadership Programme to commemorate the late GEF Director of Programmes, Gustavo Fonseca.

The Fonseca Leadership Programme aims to cultivate a pipeline of young professionals in GEF countries by offering conservation fellowships, grants for biodiversity fieldwork, awards for participation in international conservation events, and a recurring global conservation symposium that unites young environmental leaders.

As part of this programme, the Global Field Grants partnership with the MBZ Fund will channel $500,000 annually through the Fund’s online application and review system to support young conservationists in developing nations. The MBZ Fund will focus on enabling field conservation projects globally, ensuring impactful support for emerging conservationists.

The MBZ Fund, operational in over 170 countries and with a track record of supporting more than 2,800 conservation projects globally since its inception, is an ideal partner for this initiative.

“Recognising that people drive these conservation efforts, our commitment goes beyond funding. We focus on supporting early-career or budding conservationists at the start of their journey. Over the past 15 years, we have supported 63% first-time recipients, representing the next generation of conservationists,” said Nicolas Heard, Acting Director-General of the MBZ Fund.

“This partnership aims to empower young people from developing countries, amplifying their voices and enhancing their participation in environmental research and policy. The GEF is dedicated to investing in the next generation, who will play pivotal roles in environmental governance and stewardship”, said Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, CEO and Chairperson of the GEF.


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