In 2005 IUCN’s Regional Office for Mesoamerica and the Caribbean began to implement an advocacy fund for the NGO sector to contribute to environmental management in the region.
One lesson learned from this fund is that in order to influence the decision-making process, making demands alone is not enough. Studies, proposals and awareness-raising among different sectors of the community are all necessary but these processes must be participatory and democratic for the communities concerned.
Over five years, 185 projects have been financed, implemented by 116 organizations aiming to support civil society in the development and enforcement of local, national and regional environmental policies and regulations relating to sustainable development.
Among the results seen:
• The fund enabled the strengthening of civil society organizations from all the countries within the region and enabled them to lead advocacy and research efforts.
• This support enabled many organizations to be recognized as relevant political and technical stakeholders in their respective countries.
• The fund generated capacity and experience within the organizations, strengthened human capital and established the bases for future development.
• Advocacy, by itself, was positioned as a working tool in grassroots organizations
• Work began to seek significant changes to nature resource conservation and management.