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UNDP Global

Pathfinder Award


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and its World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) as well as WildArk- A Movement for the Wild present the inaugural Pathfinder Award.  

The Pathfinder Award recognises outstanding and innovative solutions for protected and conserved areas, developed and implemented by individuals, organisations or groups.

Insufficient investment of finance and other resources in protected areas are persistent challenges that impede and weaken conservation efforts and effective management of protected areas around the world. 

Available research indicates that the funding gap for protected areas globally is estimated at US $30 - 35 billion dollars per year. Yet, protected areas provide an economic return of as much as 50 to 1, in addition to providing multiple other non-economic benefits. 

There is a clear need to find solutions that can increase the level of funding and resourcing for protected and conserved areas, many examples of which may already exist and are not widely known. 

This year’s award focuses on identifying and celebrating solutions from around the world that have addressed this problem. Solutions should demonstrate:

  • Success in sustainable financing or resources: adopting new types of sustainable financing or resourcing for one or more protected/conserved areas;
  • New and additional sources of revenues or means to address priorities sustainably;
  • Significant finance or resourcing breakthrough: dramatically increasing protected area revenues or access to resources without compromising integrity;
  • Successful partnerships for financing/resourcing: new partnerships developed with private sector or civil society that achieve new financing or resourcing; 
  • New technologies: new approaches or methods to mobilise, collect, administer or disburse financial and other resources for protected areas; 
  • Management for investment: new management approaches to attract and enable investment or achieve new efficiencies.

The 2018 awards are made up of a cash grant as well as several other areas of recognition, taking into account submissions across all thematic areas listed above. 

  1. Overall winner (individual or organization): US$ 10,000
  2. Runner-Up (individual or organization): US$ 2,000
  3. Special commendation (to be awarded to up to three individuals or organizations): US$ 1,000 each

The winners will also receive a plaque and certificate of achievement, promotion and visibility, and an invitation to the awards ceremony. The inaugural award will be presented at the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 14), which will be held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, between 17 and 29 November 2018.

This year’s award is organised in co-operation with the UNDP-Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) and the PANORAMA – Solutions for a Healthy Planet initiative.  

Submit your nomination now (self-nominations are accepted)! 

1.      Completing the online nomination form:

2.      Submitting a description of the solution/innovation that is being nominated as a “Full Solution” on the PANORAMA web platform:

The deadline for nominations is August 31, 2018.


For more information about the submission process, please see our brochure in English, French, or Spanish, or email: