Draft of 23 June 2000
Parts II - IV
[Return to Strategic Plan Contents]
One of ICRAN's main strengths lies in the integration of its three components and supporting activities. Each of these components answers to specific needs that will be addressed to achieve sustainable management of coral reef resources for the benefit of coastal communities worldwide. The Management Board and Steering Committee will ensure that the three components are working in harmony and making optimum use of the available resources. The timing and sequence of all activities will be carefully planned to maximize the results. Sharing information and lessons learnt between regions and within regions through formal exchanges between different activities will be achieved through careful planning and close interaction between the implementing partners. The work of the Steering Committee will be especially important in this regard. UNEP meetings for the Regional Seas Coordinators and the ICRI CPC Meetings will also offer valuable opportunities for exchange between project partners and coordination with other organizations at the global level. Regional meetings and newsletters will offer opportunities for increased coordination at the regional level together with the already established networks of the Regional Seas Coordinating Units. The RCUs will offer also assistance in the coordination of assessment and information components at the regional level.
Outputs will be delivered throughout the project, focusing on delivery of products on a region-by-region basis.
There will never be sufficient financial resources available to address all coral reef conservation concerns. The collective effort of this international network to reverse the decline of coral reefs and sustain their management and conservation is a critical step forward in streamlining conservation dollars. The attractiveness of such a consolidated effort to major foundations, corporations and individuals is significant. But how can such an effort be effectively structured?
ICRAN's formal establishment in June 1999 has already presented a formidable challenge for resource mobilization. As a general rule, raising funds takes about three years. In this sense ICRAN is at a timing disadvantage as it moves from Start-up into its Action Phase. However, ICRAN is operating during a time of economic prosperity. North America, particularly the United States, is currently experiencing unprecedented economic growth. The generation following World War II has just entered into peak spending years, and as this wave of consumer demand crests over the next decade, stocks and investments will continue to produce profits, especially in areas of new technology such as information. Mobilizing a campaign for philanthropic donations within this area is a logical first step.
The costs of the ICRAN four-year project can likely be addressed in phases of funding support, through a range of potential options. Like a diversified investment portfolio, adopting an array of instruments offers the best chance for a sustainable network. Based on ICRAN's overall implementation strategy, the following sections outline the various tools that will be used and steps being taken toward ICRAN's funding goals. It also explores the potential for sustaining key programs over time. However, successful funding for ICRAN will require both coordinated support by the coral reef conservation community, and greater public awareness in order to motivate contributions and sustainable support.
Under current projections - and for the purposes of discussion in this section of the ICRAN Strategy - the total costs of the four-year Action Phase are estimated at approximately US$45 million. This estimate covers a medium-range level of effort by each of the ICRAN founding partners, and support for the RSPs, including establishment of a limited number of demonstration sites and MPAs.
ICRAN is seeking a commitment from the United Nations Foundation (UNF) of at least 20 percent of this funding goal over the life of the Action Phase. This is reflected in the costing currently identified for each of ICRAN's components. Identification of co-financing for the remaining funds is essential for the network to succeed.
Under ICRAN's Start-up Phase, resources have been programmed to host donor meetings where key potential supporters will be invited to discuss ICRAN's goals and objectives, and explore ways in which ICRAN can be co-financed. A meeting for potential donors will present ICRAN's strategy, conduct due diligence, explore ways in which funding support might be matched or leveraged, and examine how existing programs may be complementary.
Background research and information collected on environmental funding has been initiated as part of ICRAN's Start-up Phase. A database of contacts is being developed and used for tracking funding support. Efforts are also underway to identify a comprehensive list of projects and activities for coral reef ecosystems worldwide, and will be part of the information base in considering potential donors. This database will then be used to systematically contact prospective donors, track progress through communications and develop new contacts in seeking support. Presentation materials are also under development as part of the research so that they can be made available to ICRAN partners for use in soliciting additional funding.
During ICRAN's early stages, foundations and philanthropic organizations may offer the most promise of providing significant co-financing. Targets for immediate ICRAN assistance include: the Packard Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trust, and the Ford Foundation. International foundations and trust funds outside of the US will also be included as part of the research and incorporated into planning as appropriate. As an ongoing exercise during the Start-up Phase, foundations are being approached systematically to establish dialogue and explore opportunities. Indications of foundation support for ICRAN should be clear following the first donor meeting.
As part of its commitment to biodiversity, UNF has expressed a keen interest in the role of the private sector in supporting conservation efforts. Until recently, this sector was largely unexplored as a source of conservation gifting. This is a potentially significant area for ICRAN program support; however, aside from exploiting random opportunities based on personal networking, effective targeting of this sector will take considerable time and preparation. The following activities have been planned and are in the early stages of implementation.
- Inventory of Potential Private Donors. As part of the information collection process, research has begun during the Start-up Phase in inventorying private companies and individuals within the US who can be approached for support of coral reef conservation. Various information bases and research vehicles are being used to build the inventory and construct profiles of prioritized candidates. Individual leads are also being used in augmenting the database. Once this database is refined, private donors will be ranked and then contacted to request a meeting and presentation. This list will also be used in targeting invitees for future donor meetings.
- Private Enterprise with Economic Interests within Each Region. Many corporations, companies and private individuals with business interests within each coral reef region are potential ICRAN supporters, provided they can be convinced that their contributions will help to sustain their business. This information is also part of the research and data gathering effort currently underway, but targeting appropriate enterprises is contingent upon the priorities of ICRAN's RSPs and the sites chosen for demonstration and management. Nevertheless, businesses such as the tourist industry (airlines and cruise lines), are being inventoried and profiled.
Within each RSP, UNEP has established Trust Fund Accounts that can receive funds specifically earmarked for conservation activities. These Trust Funds ensure that contributing governments can earmark their contributions and target specific activities. This is a potentially attractive way to support ICRAN activities within the Regional Seas for governments and governmental institutions. As an ICRAN partner, the ICRI Secretariat / ICRI-CPC will be relied upon to use its diplomatic leverage to encourage member countries to contribute to these Regional Seas Trust Fund Accounts for ICRAN's benefit. These efforts would commence once specific sites within a given region have been determined and activities defined.
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is involved in natural resource damage assessment and litigation of environmental violations. Polluters of the marine environment have received large fines and been prosecuted for damages for violation of federal environmental law. ICRAN is exploring the potential to harness some of the restitution funds for use at demonstration sites within the region where the violation occurred. For example, recent fines imposed by DOJ against Carnival Cruise Lines might qualify for use within the Caribbean region.
The ultimate goal of establishing a network of demonstration sites is to sustain such programs at the local level with as much locally controlled funding as possible. As ICRAN's Action Phase progresses, emphasis will be placed on generating funds from national and local governments, especially in support of ICM and MPA activities. Once the demonstration sites and MPAs for each region are set, then financing mechanisms within and between sites can be more fully explored. Conservation Trust Funds already exist or are planned within a number of ICRI member countries, either at national or local levels. Part of the ICRAN strategy will involve identifying such trusts funds within a country where a demonstration site or MPA is selected, and determining whether ICRAN demonstration sites qualify for local support, or new revenue can be earmarked for future contributions.
Establishing user fees is an excellent instrument for local support, provided that the fees accrue to the intended sites, and are not subsumed within a government or agency's general budget. Upon ICRAN site selection, standard operating procedure should include examination of the legal and administrative capacity and the feasibility of establishing user fees in each case.
The World Bank and other regional development banks provide relatively low interest loans to governments for development assistance. Efforts to conserve a nation's natural capital have become common components of lending practices. While these institutions are not sources of direct support for ICRAN, projects coming into the lending pipeline can be customized to incorporate financial components to meet common objectives. Identification of demonstration sites or MPAs is a common goal for ICRAN and these institutions. Consequently, the strategy should include communication and liaison with several development banks to explore ways in which innovative financial mechanisms can be incorporated into project design to support ICRAN. As part of the ICRI-CPC, the World Bank has agreed to begin a dialogue with other development banks in exploring additional funding options.
Similarly, international development agencies, such as AUSAID, CIDA, DFID, and USAID, are active in supporting programs within their focal areas. ICRAN has communicated with AID representatives to explore how their programs might be matched or leveraged to help achieve ICRAN objectives. Given ICRAN's fiscal timing during the Start-up Phase, coordinating with various AID fiscal years has been premature. Nevertheless, coordination with such agencies will remain a priority in finding ways to leverage resources for demonstration sites.
A main outcome of ICRAN's design is to develop counterpart funding through the establishment of an International Coral Reef Fund. The purpose of this fund is to provide incentives for other donors to leverage their resources through some matching vehicle initially supported by the UNF. The concept of a centralized, international fund specifically for coral reefs is very attractive, provided that its governance and administration can be efficient and effective in quickly mobilizing resources for field activities. At this stage, the Coral Reef Fund's immediate versus long term objectives are under development, and will be detailed over the course of the four-year Action Phase.
- Resource Mobilization and Public Information. Raising funds for ICRAN is tied to increasing awareness about coral reefs. ICRAN's Public Information Campaign will assist in targeting potential donors. As a first step in generating interest and support, an ICRAN information message is under development for use in presenting ICRAN's purpose, goals and objectives. This message will be in the form of a non-broadcast video production disseminated to potential donors.
- ICRAN Spokespersons. Also as part of the ICRAN Public Information Campaign, ICRAN partners will collaborate in identifying and soliciting prospective spokespersons on behalf of ICRAN to assist in funding support. A list of potential candidates is currently under development.
As ICRAN proceeds from the design to full implementation phase, the need for a sound management structure is imperative. In all international, multi-country and multi-institutional efforts, partners and stakeholders must have a sense of ownership of the project, and must be confident that they have the opportunity to review and influence project implementation. In technical projects, the provision of scientific and technical advice is also essential.
The structure proposed below is intended to provide a formal process with a minimum of bureaucratic structure for the sound management and assessment of performance of the project so that activities can be prioritized, tracked, evaluated and adapted. In addition, the scope and level of funding sought for the project means that a formal governance structure is both appropriate and necessary.
The institutional structure for the governance
of the project is shown in Figure 3.
The following governance structure is proposed to provide strong oversight of project content, implementation and performance evaluation, consisting of a formal Management Board, a Steering Committee, a Technical Advisory Group, and a Project Secretariat.
The Management Board will provide the overall strategic direction of the project, and will review performance of the implementing agencies. The Management Board will be responsible for the allocation of funds between the implementing agencies and disbursal of money from the Coral Reef Fund. The Management Board is also expected to oversee and guide fund raising, and serve as ambassadors for the project. The responsibilities of the Board include: to approve workplans and budgets and to advice UNEP on the appointment of the Project Director.
The Management Board will have a mixed membership of project partners, donors and independent outsiders. The membership of project partners will be limited to UNEP and the ICRI Secretariat, to keep the Board an effective size and to minimize the risk of conflict with the major implementing agencies. Initially, the UN Foundation and UNFIP will represent the donor community, but as co-financing arrangements develop additional major donors may become represented on the Board. To build confidence the project will seek to involve Governments and other independent outsiders of the project. The Director of the DEIA&EW will be the ex officio Chair of the Management Board. Members will be selected in consultation with project partners and with UNF/UNFIP.
The Steering Committee will ensure coherence of the project as a whole, facilitate integration of the various activities and assist in the coordination among the project partners. The Steering Committee will be comprised largely of the implementing partners. The following institutions will be represented: UNEP, ICLARM, the ICRI Secretariat, GCRMN, WCMC, WRI and CORAL. If additional major implementing agencies become involved in ICRAN, they will be added to the Steering Committee.
The Project Director will serve as the Ex Officio Chair of the Steering Committee, and the Chair of the Technical Advisory Group will be an ex officio member.
The Technical Advisory Group (TAG) will have the responsibility to provide scientific and technical advice on the programme strategy, action plan and activities of the project to the Management Board, Steering Committee and the Project Director.
The TAG will review and evaluate project performance and progress on the basis of half-yearly progress reports by the secretariat and provide guidance and direction for improvements and revisions to the Project Director as necessary and appropriate. The TAG will make recommendations to the Steering Committee on necessary technical and scientific aspects and priorities.
It is proposed that the TAG initially meet annually and consist of five experts to be selected by the Steering Committee based on their technical capacity with consideration given to geographical balance in the context of project implementation. Depending on the issues arising, additional experts could be called in as required. The Chair of the TAG could be appointed directly to, or be elected by the members of the TAG. In order to ensure a direct line of communication between the TAG and the Steering Committee it is recommended that the Chair have an ex officio role in the latter.
A Project Secretariat - consisting of a Project Director and support staff, will be engaged through UNEP and hosted within an appropriate institution. The Project Director and Secretariat will be responsible for the implementation and day-to-day management of the project and servicing of the Management Board, Steering Committee and Technical Advisory Group. The host institution should have the necessary stature and scientific and technical working environment to provide strong support to the project.
Overall coordination and oversight of the project, within the framework of the decisions made by the Management Board and Steering Committee, will be the responsibility of the UNEP Division of Environmental Information, Assessment and Early Warning (DEIA&EW).
DEIA&EW will appoint a senior staff member as the project advisor and focal point. This person would be an ex officio member of the TAG. UNEP would be free to draw on the TAG for advice.
The Regional Offices of UNEP Assessment staff and the Coordinators of Regional Seas Convention and Action Plan Secretariats will provide implementation and institutional backstopping support.
The Project Director will be responsible for project implementation on a day-to-day basis, in accordance with the project document and the decisions of the Management Board and Steering Committee, with support from the UNEP/DEIA&EW as appropriate.
The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) and the ICRI Framework for Action provide the contextual framework for the project. The Secretariat of ICRI has an important role in providing guidance on intergovernmental dialogue on coral reefs and related fund raising. The ICRI Secretariat is well placed to increase awareness about coral reefs among government officials and other decision-makers. The project is designed to establish ICRAN as an operational component within the context of the ICRI framework. It is envisaged that as a member of the Management Board and the Steering Committee, the ICRI Secretariat will provide support to the project through contacts with Government representatives, other partners and donors, as well as technical and political advice as appropriate. ICRI should also seriously consider the sustainability of activities launched by ICRAN after the end of the UNF/UNFIP project.
The Meetings of the ICRI Coordination and Planning Committee (CPC) will offer a forum for reporting on the progress of the ICRAN project in order to provide for closer coordination with other ICRI networks like the GCRMN and ICRIN. The ICRI CPC could provide guidance and advice on the implementation of the project.