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Rapid Response Facility (RRF)

Protecting natural World Heritage sites in times of crisis

Natural World Heritage sites face many challenges that threaten their existence. They represent a global heritage recognized as being of outstanding universal value, unique and irreplaceable.

As the rate of global development accelerates, these outstanding sites become ever more valuable to society, providing refuges for highly endangered species and safeguarding the world’s most precious natural treasures.

Since 2006, the Rapid Response Facility (RRF) has been providing emergency support to natural World Heritage sites in developing countries at times of crisis. With the target of deciding on application in eight days only, the RRF ensures that resources get to where they are needed in time to avert the most devastating damages to these unique sites.

Fund this project
Budget Proposed
US$ 180,000

Duration
3 years

Beneficiary
Global

Category
Conservation ● Emergency response

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Context

The Rapid Response Facility (RRF) provides emergency support to natural World Heritage sites – sites of ‘Outstanding Universal Value’ – in developing countries. Launched in 2006, the RRF is a partnership between Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, with past and present donor support provided by the United Nations Foundation and the Fondation Franz Weber.

Natural World Heritage sites face many challenges that threaten their existence. These include:

  • Natural disasters including earthquakes and wildfires causing sudden and unpredictable damage to ecosystems and rural livelihoods;
  • Man-made crises having knock-on effects on wildlife including armed conflicts and oil spills;
  • Dramatic increases in the over-exploitation of wildlife such as poaching events decimating wildlife populations;
  • Uncontrolled and unregulated fast-paced development projects such as illegal road construction and dam prospecting within outstanding natural habitats.

The most acute challenges are often extremely time sensitive and require an immediate response. To meet such situations, the RRF is a grant-making facility offering rapid support where there is a clear argument for immediate action to avoid or mitigate significant negative impact to high conservation value sites facing an acute threat to their biodiversity. The RRF provides individual grants of up to US$30,000 and makes funding decisions within a target of 8 days, making it the world’s fastest conservation funding body.

Objectives

The RRF provides support for a range of emergency activities to enable:

  • Rapid threat assessment; elimination and/or impact mitigation;
  • Support to vulnerable sites deemed essential to avoid a return to emergency status;
  • Response to time sensitive opportunities that will significantly strengthen the biodiversity status of a threatened natural World Heritage property.

The RRF aims to be responsive and reactive to maximize the impact of the small grants of up to US$30,000 whose approval is subject to the receipt of an application, which:

  • Clearly demonstrates the severity and time sensitive nature of the emergency;
  • Proposes an appropriate response to the emergency;
  • Is submitted by a reputable organization, with the appropriate capacity to deliver against the project objectives.

Outcomes
& Beneficiaries

Targeted support for a lasting legacy.

By focusing on World Heritage sites, the RRF prioritizes support for natural heritage sites of outstanding universal value that are the planet’s lasting legacy for future generations.

Record of achievements

Over its 12 years of existence, the RRF has provided over US$1,000,000 of emergency support to 34 World Heritage properties and 8 sites inscribed on Tentative Lists in 26 States Parties, contributing to the protection of over 25 million hectares of the world’s most valuable natural heritage. Irreplaceable populations of at least 141 flagship species at these sites, including some of the world’s most threatened and iconic species (e.g. tiger, African elephant, mountain gorilla, giant panda, hammerhead shark, whale shark) have benefitted, along with the thousands of other species that make up these precious ecosystems.

The Fondation Franz Weber is currently funding RRF. An estimated overall extra-budgetary funding of USD 180 000 for 3 years is needed to strengthen the mechanism.

These funds will cover 2 to 3 grants allocations per year, monitoring RRF conservation impact (including travel costs at one beneficiary site every 2 years), communication (design and printing of the appropriate information material), production of an annual report, translation of RRF requests (as they can be submitted in English, French or Spanish) as well as running costs.

Timeline

If funds are available, the mechanism of the RRF works as follow when a request for grant is received:

A Project Coordination Group (PCG) formed by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, FFI and Fondation Franz Weber draw on the strengths and technical capacities of each organization to provide rapid funding decisions to sites in need. FFI has the lead in managing applications, liaising with applicants, arranging small grant contracts and fund transfers for approved grants and communicating news about the RRF.

Relevance

The RRF provides an ideal mechanism to commit to saving some of the best-known and iconic sites worldwide by an immediate and cost-effective.

To achieve maximum results with minimum overheads, the RRF provides:

  • Granting decisions in just 8 days – getting funds on the ground when they are needed;
  • Administration and technical knowledge – with access to a global network of experts the RRF operates an effective review process for grant selection and contract allocation;
  • Monitoring and evaluation – ensuring timely reporting on both activities and conservation impact, to ensure that investors can see the conservation return for their inputs.

Strong partnership to guide an effective grant-giving model.

To make the best possible funding decisions that can have the largest possible impact and make efficient use of resources, it is essential to make use of the best information available. The World Heritage Centre, with its global reach of 193 States Parties, has the global network needed to provide insight to the social, political and environmental context of unfolding emergencies. Its technical knowledge and communications networks are invaluable. Fauna & Flora International’s innovative and ‘on-the-ground’ approach to conservation provides practical knowledge and experience of the challenges and means of bringing about effective solutions. Through this collaboration, the RRF operates a rigorous review and monitoring process that ensures the highest possible impact of investment. Since 2013, the Fondation Franz Weber has been the third core partner of the RRF. As well as providing vital financial resources, the Fondation Franz Weber has contributed valuable insights and experiences to the grant decision-making process and the strategic direction of the fund

Budget

The Fondation Franz Weber is currently funding RRF. An estimated overall extra-budgetary funding of US$ 180,000 for 3 years is needed to strengthen the mechanism.

These funds will cover 2 to 3 grants allocations per year, monitoring RRF conservation impact (including travel costs at one beneficiary site every 2 years), communication (design and printing of the appropriate information material), production of an annual report, translation of RRF requests (as they can be submitted in English, French or Spanish) as well as running costs.

Visibility

A communication & visibility plan will be developed in consultation with the donor(s) and will include (but not limited to) the options below:

Visibility material

Placement / Event

Outreach

Audience

Article on the Homepage

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WHC website:
whc.unesco.org

Public Statistics for 2016: 13.340.000 visits

9.735.000
unique visitors

41.650.000 pageviews

Article on the RRF Website

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RRF website:
http://www.rapid-response.org/

Public and General medias

 

Article on the World Heritage Review

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“World Heritage Review” Magazine and “World Heritage Information”

Public

Approx. 20.000 targeted subscribers

Contact

Leila Maziz
Project Officer
World Heritage Centre
Africa Unit
l.maziz@unesco.org

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