Strategic and Conservation Planning for Nature Conservation

Project location: ARMENIA
Project start date: October 2008 - Project end date: July 2009
Project number: 2008-14
Beneficiary: Armenian Society for the Protection of Birds

The Armenian Society for the Protection of Birds (ASPB) is a non-governmental conservation organization which strives to conserve birds, their habitats and biodiversity. Funded in 2002, ASPB (www.aspbirds.org) has already carried out an impressive list of successful projects (included one on Black Vulture also supported by the Nando Peretti Foundation through BirdLife International). ASPB is a young organization but staffed with dedicated professionals of various biological disciplines. It holds a wide expertise in ornithological field research and conservation efforts speaking to its international ‘audience'. It has good skills in recruiting volunteers for conservation and research work. It is the only organization in Armenia that manages a national program for studying movements of vultures via satellite (PTTs). This large initiative is carried out in cooperation with BirdLife partner organizations and several UK-based conservation charity foundations. In 2007 ASPB has been officially appointed as the Birdlife Affiliate for Armenia to contribute to the development of the BirdLife programme in Europe. ASPB has identified 18 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Armenia which are sites selected as priority sites for conservation of wild birds according to internationally agreed standard criteria. ASPB is currently working (trough a 3-year project funded by CEPF (www.cepf.net) to establish a network of local ‘IBA caretakers' to carry out local conservation activities and raise awareness about the importance of the sites. ASPB was involved in a EU Twinning project for the conservation of the Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni) with the Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux (LPO, BirdLife in France).
ASPB has also established collaborative links with the government, both with the relevant ministries and their regional departments across country and was commissioned by the ministries to carry out national Avian Influenza surveillance in Armenia and consulted by leading donor organizations (WB, UNDP) on this issue.

ASPB is now at the crossroad. It is doing well with research and conservation activities, but in order to ensure sustainability and growth it has to focus also on developmental aspects and to broaden the scope of its activities into several directions, such as design and implementation of educational program in local communities, creation of public support, organisation of public awareness campaigns at local and national level and enhancement of the organisational profile using local mass media. However, ASPB does not have yet a strategy to identify development and conservation targets and how to achieve them; and needs a fundraising strategy to create the sustainability needed to be effective.



All staff and board members of ASPB are now fully aware of the need to develop a strategy to make sure that a proper analysis of the treats affecting biodiversity is carried out and a that all future conservation activities address them appropriately. So far the lack of human resources and know-how has not allowed ASPB to plan and implement the process of developing a organisational strategy to define its conservation goals and activities as well as its development path.
The project will allow the allocation of a full staff to drive the process and to hold a strategic planning workshop and to formulate the outcomes in a number of separate documents: a strategy, a conservation plan and a fund-raising plan. The implementation of the fund-raising plan will be carried out in the last 4 months by visiting a large number of potential donors belonging to different categories: business corporate, private foundations, bilateral (Embassies) and multilateral (EU, USAID, UNDP, etc) organizations and to develop and submit proposals to implement the conservation plan. ASPB strategy and the conservation priorities will be summarized in a brochure that will raise the profile of the organization. The same information will be also available in the ASPB website.
ASPB has asked Rubicon Foundation to join in this effort as its staff has a vast experience of the region, in strategic planning and fundraising. Rubicon Foundation has agreed to provide guidance along the entire strategic planning process, facilitation to the strategic workshop and support for the fundraising programme for a total of 10 working days of which 50% will be the direct contribution of Rubicon to the project.

The Nando Peretti Foundation has approved this project, with the following goals in mind:
Design a long-term development strategy of ASPB for 2009-2012. Objectives:
Identify main directions and set priorities for the development of ASPB and estimate the appropriate capacities and opportunities
Identify and set targets for further international and national PR activities. Prepare a brochure about ASPB: its priorities and activities, targets and plans.
Organize workshop involving ASPB board, staff, key stakeholders (friends of ASPB) and representatives of other BirdLife partners to agree and verify priorities and targets for the development of ASPB
Prepare Strategic development and Conservation plans for the years 2009-2012
Prepare and start the implementation of the Fundraising plan 2009-2012.

Activities:
Analyze the historical development and achievements of ASPB since its foundation
SWOT and stakeholder analysis
Draw conclusions on further priorities for development
Analyze and identify target groups to approach for the enhancement of ASPB's capacity
Set targets for raising PR of ASPB and for creation of public support involving grassroots
Prepare and compile materials (both: in Armenian and English) for the brochure about ASPB
Prepare draft documents for the discussions during workshop
Organize and facilitate the workshop
Draw conclusions of the workshop discussions
Analyze and put into structure and summarize all the documents prepared during the project
Finalize and produce the strategic development plan of ASPB for the years 2009-2012
Prepare strategically substantiated Conservation plan of ASPB for the years 2009-2012
Prepare ASPB's Fundraising plan for the years 2009-2012
Promote ASPB to potential donors and submit proposals.

think global, act local
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