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Planning and partnership building

Conservation is the result of an intense planning process which requires coordination, prioritization and communication among national, regional and international stakeholders. A thorough planning process in collaboration with interested parties is essential in order for a conservation project to become successful.

This module provides guidance on planning partnerships or collaborations in order to ensure the effective coordination and implementation of the CWR in situ conservation planning process.


A partnership is relationship in which people or organizations combine resources to carry out a specific set of activities. Partners work together for a common purpose and for shared benefit. Partnerships should offer effective coordination, minimize duplication and make the best use of available resources. They tend to be based upon informal, collaborative agreements or formal contracts such as Memoranda of Understanding (MOU). Planning and implementation of partnerships should involve wide consultation, effective communication and, ideally, control of local decision-making on activities and resources.

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Context for planning – what is required?

Most CWR in situ conservation projects have been supported by grants from agencies such as the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and with governmental approval and some degree of financial or in-kind support. These projects fall within the traditional project implementation cycle and usually have both a limited time-frame and specific geographic focus. Grants must follow the objectives, goals and requirements of the sponsoring (or donor) agency. FAO and the EU have also funded CWR in situ conservation projects and GEF programs gather additional support from UNEP, UNDP and the World Bank.

Projects of this nature require an international steering committee to provide guidance and oversight. Collaborating with international partners provides a much needed opportunity to attract technical expertise and co-financing, a compulsory requirement for GEF projects.

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National planning

A lead agency or organization needs to be identified with a mandate and capacity to plan and coordinate CWR conservation activities. A national focal point will also need to be determined within this agency. The national focal point will be responsible for articulating the goals, objectives and resources of the project and communicating with relevant stakeholders.

It is necessary to establish a National Steering Committee with the overall responsibility for national planning and decision-making. The committee should include members from relevant stakeholder groups and establish a detailed terms of reference. Formal agreements may be required depending on the national context. The Committee will be well-placed to balance the priorities and concerns of all stakeholders, who are likely to put pressure on the national focal point to meet their specific demands.

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