The St Vincent and the Grenadines Conservative Fund (SVGCF) distributed the first set of grants to three local conservation entities, during a virtual handover ceremony on May 18.
A total of EC$310, 996.78 was distributed as follows: EC$88,322.75 to Sustainable Grenadines Inc. for their project ‘Building a zero waste ecosystem for ‘enhanced biodiversity for birds and people at Belmont Salt Pond’; EC$91,314.03 to Serenity Dive Inc. for ‘a reef replanting and school dive programme’, and EC$131,360 to the Tobago Cays Marine Park towards ‘enhancing that organisation’s resource management capacity’.
Chief Executive Officer of the SVGCF Vanbury Harry recalled that the first call for proposals was issued in December 2019.
The calls focused on the qualifying goals of protecting and enhancing ecosystems, and to educate, raise awareness and empower citizens of SVG to support conservation efforts, he explained.
Interested parties were required to submit concept notes. Successful applicants were then required to submit full proposals.
According to Harry, fifteen concept notes were received from a range of entities – NGO’s, government agencies inclusive – from which six were recommended for advance to the full proposal stage.
Upon receipt of the full project proposals, a Meeting of the Board of the SVGCF held in March, reduced the lists of considerations to three.
A meeting in April approved all three finalists for funding.
A Milestone and Funding
That stage of agreeing on the disbursements of funds was, in the estimation of Board Chairman Michael John, a milestone.
It was, according to him, the result of a thorough and in depth process of examination by a number of professionals.
“I am pleased that we are at this stage; this is the stage that we all on the Board were working towards over the past years,” John said.
And he especially commended the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF), saying that that was the organization that gave the SVGCF its footing some five years ago.
Andrew Wilson, Secretary/Treasurer of the SVGCF, used the occasion to register how critical donor funding is to organizations like the SVGCF.
He singled out as major benefactors to the SVGCF the German Government, the German Development Bank, the Nature Conservancy, who have all contributed to the endowment fund which has allowed for grant funding to be made available to local conservation entities.
Karen McDonald-Gayle, Conservation Finance Program Manager with the CBF, explained that the organization is a regional environmental fund designed with two main instruments: a sinking fund which works with climate change and ecosystem based adaptation projects, and the CBF Conservation Finance Programme whose main instrument is an endowment fund that now has accounts for 12 countries across the region.
It is with the assistance from these accounts that national conservation trust funds are birthed, she said.
And as for the occasion of the ward of grants, she remarked: “So for St Vincent and the Grenadines to now be awarding their first grants under the trust funds is an amazing achievement.”(The Vincentian)