Call for SGF project proposals for the 2006 cycle
The Ramsar Small Grants Fund was established by Ramsar COP4 in 1990 as a mechanism to assist developing countries and those with economies in transition in implementing the Convention and to enable the conservation and wise use of wetland resources - since that time, it has provided funding and co-funding, up to 40,000 Swiss francs (about US$ 34,000) per project, for something like 180 projects totaling about 7.5 million francs. Funds are made available by voluntary contributions by Contracting Parties, notably Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom, the United States, and especially Sweden, as well as by WWF and other nongovernmental sources.
Suitable project proposals are those which contribute to the implementation of the Convention's Strategic Plan 2003-2008 for the conservation and wise use of wetlands; provide emergency assistance for Ramsar sites; or provide 'preparatory assistance' to allow non-Contracting Parties to progress toward accession. Eligibility is restricted to countries on the List of Aid Recipients established by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), effectively meaning developing countries and countries with economies in transition. Projects may be proposed and implemented by any agency, NGO, or individual, but proposals MUST be endorsed and monitored by the Administrative Authority (the Ramsar implementing agency) in the Party's government, and seldom is more than one proposal approved from the same Party in any year. Successful proposals receive 80% of the allocated funds upon signature of the contract and the remainder upon submission of an adequate final report, but countries from which adequate final project reports have not been received may be denied further consideration for funding until those outstanding project dossiers have been closed.
The call for proposals is now being made for the 2006 cycle, with a deadline of 30 June 2006 for application and with a decision by the Standing Committee around November. The current edition of the "SGF Operational Guidelines", which includes complete information and the required forms, is now available on the Ramsar Web site in Word and PDF formats, as well as directly from the Secretariat. The Secretariat's regional teams also offer an advisory service to help with the preparation of suitable proposals, for which drafts should be submitted to the Senior Regional Advisors by 15 April 2006.
Readers can also find lists of the successful project proposals for each year since 1992 and news reports of successfully completed projects, which may provide useful tips as to the kinds of projects and approaches most often selected for assistance, on the Ramsar Web site at http://ramsar.org/caxref:2187.
Please pass this information on to anyone who might be interested in applying for SGF assistance.