Fauna & Flora International (FFI) has a long-standing relationship with Arcadia – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin – that began in 1998 when FFI’s Chief Executive Mark Rose met with Dr Rausing to discuss their mutual interest in scaling up conservation efforts to protect entire ecosystems.
From that meeting, Halcyon Land & Sea was born – a shared vision between Arcadia and FFI (later joined by Hugh Sloane) that has enabled us to influence the conservation of some 55.8 million hectares of critical habitat in the almost 20 years since its establishment, including many areas that were in imminent danger of destruction.
One aspect of this initiative that has been crucial to its success is the recognition that long-term conservation is best managed locally. FFI supports local partners in the countries in which we operate to help manage key sites for conservation in perpetuity, and we work with those partners to ensure that they have the support they need to be effective.
In 2011, recognising that the world’s seas and oceans were in real trouble, Arcadia provided FFI with five years of substantial funding to help build its ambitious new marine conservation programme.
In April 2015, Arcadia announced that it would be commissioning an external review of the work it had funded through FFI to better understand the impact and effectiveness of its investments. What followed was an intensive and thorough review of FFI’s Arcadia-funded projects by a team of independent evaluators, with the findings condensed into a 75-page report.
Happily, this provided positive conclusions about FFI as an institution, about our achievements and, specifically, about our use of Arcadia funding and the success of the projects it had supported.
The evaluators commented that we appeared to combine some of the best characteristics of being a big organisation with those of being small, and reported that, “Compared to what others are attempting and achieving in this field, and considering the opportunities and constraints faced, FFI has performed very well indeed.”
They also highlighted the important role that Arcadia has played in helping FFI evolve into the organisation it is today by providing long-term and flexible funding for a substantial and effective body of work.
They noted that Arcadia’s trust “has been rewarded by the considerable care FFI has taken in using the funds and the impressive results obtained by both Halcyon Land & Sea and the marine programme.”
The partnership between FFI and Arcadia spans two decades, and throughout this time we have benefited not only from its generous support but also from its pioneering vision and insights.
Conservation takes time to realise results – sometimes in the region of 10-20 years compared with typical donor cycles of 3-5 years.
This long-term relationship has enabled us to persevere with projects and sites, however tricky, until they reach their full potential as well as investing in, and empowering, local organisations to manage these sites into the future.
In addition, the flexibility built into Arcadia funding has allowed us to adapt, experiment, learn and take risks – freedom that has, in turn, driven innovation.
There is no doubt that Arcadia’s long-term support has been instrumental in our successes over the last 20 years. We were therefore delighted when, at the end of 2017, Arcadia announced that it would continue to build on this important partnership with a substantial grant that will help us continue to grow and flourish as an organisation.
To learn more about Arcadia, visit: www.arcadiafund.org.uk