Total Awarded: $6.88 Million
Total Grants: 23
Duration: 2011 - Ongoing
Geographic Focus: Lower Mekong region of Southeast Asia
The Greater Mekong region contains parts of two of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, holding remarkable levels of unique biodiversity under severe threat. In 2011, the MacArthur Foundation’s Conservation & Sustainable Development (CSD) program launched a grantmaking initiative focusing on the Greater Mekong region that has retained MacArthur’s historic focus on biodiversity and ecosystem conservation, but has given greater emphasis to the value that these ecosystems have had for the people and economies that depend on them. Grantmaking in the Lower Mekong has been implemented through a regional collaboration between MacArthur and three other donors – the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, and the McKnight Foundation – that identified 11 thematic grantmaking priorities in the CEPF Ecosystem Profile for the Indo-Burma hotspot. MacArthur chose five thematic priorities to drive its investments: 1) strengthening protected area management effectiveness; 2) empowering communities to conserve priority sites; 3) Mainstream biodiversity in development planning; 4) minimizing the impacts of plantations and dams; and 5) evaluating conservation impacts via systematic monitoring
MacArthur started this grantmaking initiative in 2012 through a three-year investment in the Lower Mekong region, which was intended to complement the Upper Mekong and Mekong region-wide portfolios. The CSD portfolio in the Lower Mekong now consists of 23 grants totaling $6.88 million.
The Foundation commissioned an interim evaluation of its Lower Mekong portfolio to inform the next round of grantmaking in 2015. The primary objectives of the evaluation were to understand how conservation prospects have changed since 2011, identify opportunities that may have closed and other new opportunities that may have opened, determine whether the focus on policy, science, and site conservation remained appropriate, and evaluate whether the theory of change and underlying assumptions remained credible and relevant.
Download the full evaluation report ›
Independent Evaluation of Conservation and Sustainable Development Grants (2000-2009) ›
A Midterm Evaluation of the Conservation & Sustainable Development Program ›
View MacArthur's evaluation philosophy ›