In practice

Conservation funds in Mexico and Belize

TagsFund, Marine protected area

ThemesBiodiversity, Finance

CountriesBelize, Mexico

Last updated04 June 2020

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Policy in practice

Several marine protected areas (MPAs) have established trust funds to help ensure a more long-term sustainable, source of finance. Three types of trust funds exist: endowment funds, which maintain a capital base while paying only interest; sinking funds, which use both capital and interest and are thus eventually extinguished; and revolving funds, which are designed to be continuously replenished.

  • In Mexico, a remnant worth USD 16.5 million from a USD 25 million GEF grant was used to capitalise a Protected Areas Endowment Fund in 1997. This grew to USD 42 million in 2003 following several donations. Interest from the fund, along with federal allocations, entrance fees and an EU grant, was channelled annually to various protected areas, including four marine parks.

  • In Belize, a Protected Area Conservation Trust (PACT) was established in 1996, funded principally via a conservation fee on visitors to Belize upon departure and a 20% commission from cruise ship passengers. To date, PACT has invested over BZ$ 33 million dollars in protected areas management in Belize through the awarding of grants. Additional sources of revenues for the Trust include 20% on concession arrangements within the protected areas, 20% of all recreation-related licence fees and permit fees collected in conjunction with protected areas and donations.

Key policy message

Establishing trust funds can help ensure marine protected areas have access to more long-term, sustainable sources of finance.