Total Awarded: $83m
Total Grants: 221
Duration: 2011 - 2016
Geographic Focus: Andes, Greater Mekong, Great Lakes of East and Central Africa
Because overexploitation of species and loss of habitat are reducing the productivity and resilience of natural ecosystems upon which hundreds of millions of people depend for food, fuel, water, and livelihoods, the MacArthur Foundation’s Conservation and Sustainable Development (CSD) program launched a 10-year grant program in 2011 to protect nature in the places people depend upon it most for their well-being
The initial emphasis of which was on high biodiversity landscapes in the Mekong, Tropical Andes, Great Lakes of East/Central Africa and included what we called two global drivers of ecosystem decline – understanding and influencing China’s natural resource use and consumption patterns and the expansion of industrial scale agriculture. In 2013, the Conservation and Sustainable Development program began a complementary Coastal Marine initiative. In 2015, one year earlier than planned, Conservation and Sustainable Development program initiated an evaluation.
With a goal of sustaining the ecosystem services that underpin human well-being in high biodiversity land and seascapes by reducing current rates of biodiversity and natural habitat loss, our strategy emphasized making the value of healthy ecosystems more visible to economies and societies and expanding incentives to conserve them. We focused on convincing individuals, communities, companies, and governments that it is in their best interest to conserve nature because of the benefits it provides them and showing how it can be done as a path to broader and more effective implementation of direct conservation action in the highest priority sites, landscapes and seascapes.
The purpose of this evaluation was to understand: 1) the efficacy of the program’s approach and its outcomes and impact to date; 2) the relevance of the program and its priorities with respect to the problem of global biodiversity loss and the potential for philanthropy to catalyze effective solutions; and 3) the contribution of the program to climate change mitigation and ways to increase its impact.
The evaluation concluded that the Foundation’s investment in biodiversity conservation since 2011 has produced numerous achievements, with new and anticipated grants promising further progress. More specifically, it concluded that most of the regional portfolios and global grants were convincing and aligned with the strategy. In a few cases, individual grantee achievements were characterized as remarkable. This work included:
In addition, the evaluation produced the following lessons:
Download the complete evaluation ›
View program team reflections on the evaluation ›
Evaluation of grantmaking in the Lower Mekong ›
Independent Evaluation of Conservation and Sustainable Development Grants (2000-2009) ›
View MacArthur's evaluation philosophy ›