21 August 2019

Requests for Proposals: Amazon Conservation Capacity

This news is redirected by SCIENCE from National Geographic.

The Amazon is home to tremendous biodiversity as well as Indigenous communities that depend on the wide variety of ecosystem services it provides. In addition, the Amazon plays a major role in regulating regional and global climate, and functions as the lungs of the planet, producing 20 percent of the world’s oxygen. Some models suggest that if the Amazon experiences 20-25 percent deforestation, some forested areas would convert to tropical savanna, impacting global climatic stability. Deforestation is currently at 17 percent, making the Amazon’s protection and management critical for both the people who call it home and for the rest of the planet. 

Long-term protection of the Amazon requires active participation and leadership from the communities that live within and near it. These communities are often deeply reliant on forest resources, and also often have an intricate understanding of local ecological relationships that can influence the success of conservation efforts. Numerous studies have also found that lower levels of deforestation are associated with Indigenous territories versus other protected areas. Sustainable forest conservation requires empowering and supporting these communities, enabling them to maximize the effectiveness of their conservation efforts while also improving their own lives and futures. With the understanding that traditional forest management practices among Indigenous Amazonian communities produce sustainable benefits for people and ecosystems, the Amazon Conservation Capacity RFP will support Indigenous and other local communities in enhancing their cultural and environmental practices to strengthen global forest protection. As forest-based communities in the Amazon make choices about their futures, it is critical to identify, support, and amplify local and Indigenous leaders who are forging paths that will benefit the forest, their communities and the entire planet. 

The Amazon Conservation Capacity RFP will support projects that build the capacity and effectiveness of community-based organizations and Indigenous Peoples groups that are engaged in efforts to enhance forest conservation and sustainable forest management. All projects must be supportive of local community goals; respectful and inclusive of traditional knowledge; compatible with local cultural perspectives, values, and organizational structures; and either led by local leaders, or focused on enabling and empowering local leaders. Projects that support two-way learning and co-creation of solutions are particularly encouraged.

More specifically, this RFP will support projects that do one or more of the following:  

Capacity Building: 

  • Building core organizational capacities and knowledge of community-based organizations and Indigenous Peoples groups that are engaged in forest conservation and sustainable management. 
  • Core capacities may encompass skills such as grants and proposal writing; partnership development; organizational leadership and management; designing, managing, and monitoring projects; evaluating and reporting on projects; engaging the media; assessing land tenure and other legal issues; and leveraging data and technology (for instance, to better understand local drivers of deforestation and better monitor forest resources); as well as introducing scientific and technical knowledge that will complement traditional knowledge.  
  • Projects may focus in-depth on one group or on multiple groups. 
  • Must be compatible with local cultural values and should address local needs, ideally determined through inclusive processes that broadly engage a diversity of individuals within the focal communities. Competitive applicants will have a proven track record of mentoring, supporting, and collaborating with community-based and Indigenous Peoples groups.  

Empowerment Through Networks: 

  • Building or strengthening networks of local leaders, enabling them to share knowledge and best practices directed at improving sustainable forest management. 
  • Leveraging networks to elevate the voices of local communities in multistakeholder dialogues with government, the private sector, and other key parties. 
  • Competitive applications will present a strong case for how the project will fill a specific need or create unique values, and should articulate specific, tangible outcomes that will be achieved.  

Support to Community-Led Conservation: 

  • Increasing the impact of existing forest conservation projects that have the potential to increase carbon storage and/or community and forest resilience to the impacts of climate change. This encompasses efforts to reduce pressure on forests through livelihood diversification, such as harvesting of sustainable non-timber forest products and ecotourism; introduction or scaling of climate-smart forest management practices, and other approaches to increase forest protection. 
  • Projects should be led by local and Indigenous leaders, and consistent with community goals and values.  
  • The most competitive projects will be those for which current barriers to expansion are not just funding. For instance, community-led conservation projects with the potential to magnify their on-the-ground impact by adding new partners, integrating new uses of tools or technologies, or by accessing specific technical, legal, or other knowledge or capacities.  

We are particularly interested in proposals that generate one or more of the following:

  • Individuals with improved capacity to develop and implement conservation plans and programs
  • Community-based organizations or Indigenous Peoples groups with improved capacity to develop and implement conservation plans and programs
  • Hectares of forest under improved management
  • Improved or newly created forest management plans
  • Improved or newly created community sustainable development plans
  • Strengthened networks and partnerships focused on achieving conservation objectives




Applicants may request up to $150,000. Budgets of successful proposals will include reasonable, well justified costs directly required to complete the project. Please see the Preparing Your Proposal page for budgetary guidance. Successful applicants may use awarded funds over the course of up to two years.

Applicants focused on conducting targeted capacity building activities should provide a clear rationale for why they have selected the local organization(s) and/or communities they will work with, and should describe the extent and nature of their relationship with the community, as well as the level of community support for the project. Additionally, applicants should provide sufficient background to demonstrate that they have a successful track record of implementing similar capacity development activities. If projects are not led by a local community leader, they should include team members with clearly defined roles from community or communities with which the project will work. All projects must obtain Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples before enacting any projects on their lands, in accordance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Please see here for further background and guidance related to FPIC.

All applications should explicitly state the plan for evaluating the impact of the proposed work, and, if awarded, will be expected to work with the National Geographic Society’s Metrics, Evaluation, and Research team to develop and/or refine plans for any pre/post assessment for participants. Funded organizations may also be asked to complete an Organizational Capacity Assessment.

When applying for this RFP, please select “Changing Planet” in the Lens dropdown menu and “Conservation” in the Primary Focus dropdown menu on the Project Description tab of the application.

For More Information

For more information about this RFP, please review our Frequently Asked Questions document and join us for an informational webinar, during which we will answer your questions about this funding opportunity. Webinars will be held at the following times:

  • In English:  Wednesday, September 4, 2019 at 11:00a.m. EDT (8:00 UTC).  
  • In Spanish: Thursday, September 5, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. EDT (8:00 UTC)
  • In Portuguese: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. EDT (8:00 UTC).

If you would like to attend a webinar, please fill out this form. By signing up to attend one of our webinars, you can also submit questions about the RFP or your specific project. We will address these questions during the webinar or reply to you directly, as appropriate. Recordings of the webinars will not be made publicly available.

Ready to Apply?

Learn more about what you will need to prepare your grant proposal and begin your application here.