Protected Areas

Fair Finance for Effective Conservation

The IUCN Green List business plan includes a ‘Fair Finance’ initiative that will secure, by 2020, revenues to support all Green List operations and to bring new and additional resources to support participating conservation areas. An initial strategy map has identified a range of costs that need to be met, but also services that the IUCN Green List Community can potentially market to secure revenues and investment.

Finance Stream

As part of its ‘Fair Finance’ strategy, The IUCN Green List programme is developing an ambitious collaboration with the Swiss-based PORINI Foundation to link the IUCN Green List Standard to new technologies for transparency, accountability and investment.

The world is becoming aware of ‘crypto-governance’ through increased media attention on Bitcoin, Ether and related cryptocurrencies.

What is less understood is the revolutionary technology that underpins is new world of decentralised financing: blockchain.

Blockchain is a computer-based system for independently verifying decisions and transactions through public, independent and transparent review and confirmation. This means that any deal or decision can be recorded sequentially, in perpetuity; clear and irrefutable, hence the term ‘blockchain’.

Reef restoration, Cousin Island, Seychelles

In the sustainability world, the uptake of the new technology is slow but optimistic. For example, the UN World Food Programme recently trialled a verification system to ensure remote upland farmers actually received food supplies and cash through blockchain-registered transactions with suppliers.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has invested in a blockchain start-up in South Africa which is using blockchain-based application to help support children’s early development education needs.

For the IUCN Green List, this technology could help guarantee that protected and conserved areas achieve the IUCN Green List Standard on merit and through a secured process.

For example, the expert evaluators can prove that they visited a ‘Green List’ candidate site and met with all the important stakeholders, verified through a mobile phone code-match, and recorded on the blockchain. The assurance that all evidence was presented and discussed by evaluators and document signatures may be recorded on the blockchain.

Also, the final evaluation and ‘Green List’ decision can also be verified that it was made in a transparent and accountable process through a blockchain record.

Bears in Alaska, July 2007However, such assurance comes with a cost. So here is the innovation: create a ‘Green List Standard Token’ (GLS Token) as a crypto-currency linked to the blockchain, in the same way that Bitcoin and Ether are generated and traded using blockchain platforms.

IUCN and PORINI Foundation’s partners, including Accreditation Services International (ASI), Nature Seychelles, WWF Colombia, and Cryptovalley experts from Switzerland, are developing a trial programme that will introduce the GLS Token to an initial suite of new investors and traditional IUCN supporters.

The GLS Tokens will be used to secure Green List services, such as evaluation, accreditation and review. Purchase of GLS Tokens will allow IUCN to develop the mapping of the Green List process onto a blockchain system.

It will also allow investors to purchase or allocate GLS Tokens to countries and protected areas of their choice to help them achieve ‘Green List’ status, as well as trade GLS on the Ethereum market. IUCN can also allocate GLS Tokens to support protected area projects in more challenging economies and circumstances, enabling full participation in the Programme with minimal transaction costs and friction. 

These GLS Tokens can then be transferred to new sites, traded or cashed, or used to secure other IUCN Green List services, or for later review and renewal of Green List status.

The IUCN GLS Token will be the first sustainability application for blockchain that links assurance and environmental governance to a cryptocurrency.

Pangolin conservation areas could benefit from a Fair Finance GLS Token investment

IUCN intends to trial the GLS Token in up to ten countries through to 2020.  This programme initiative has the potential for a major breakthrough in the search for new finances for fair and effective conservation measures.

For more information, contact the IUCN Green List Operations Team. 



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