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Scaling Up Pride for Watershed Protection

Photo Credits: M. Tovar

Picture Caption: The Marvelous Spatuletail flagship species "Cucho" leads a Pride Campaign Parade in Tilacancha, Peru as part of the community mobilization strategy towards the adoption of sustainable watershed management practices.

On March 22nd 2013 as part of World Water Day, Rare Conservation is launching 10 new Pride Campaigns for watershed protection and biodiversity in Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and Mexico working closely with local partners.

This represents a substantive scaling up effort to replicate the proven model of Watershed Reciprocal Agreements also known as -ARA-, which was piloted through the GEF project "Communities of Conservation: Safeguarding the World's Most Threatened Species" in the Andean region. This pilot project, with financial support from GEF, and in partnership with UNEP, engaged in 12 microwatersheds to build community support for cloud forest and alpine grassland protection, critical to sustaining regional fresh water sources and important habitats for endangered species.

Building on impacts, lessons learned and the interest of local partners 10 new micro watersheds around Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Mexico  will benefit from the implementation of the –ARA- model., tThe model is simple: downstream water consumers contribute to a local conservation fund that through individually negotiated agreements provides incentives to upland land owners willingly taking concrete measures for conservation or restoration to keep their forests or paramo areas healthy.

To achieve these objectives each Pride Campaign will be making effective use of social marketing tools and community mobilization opportunities such as festivals, billboards, radio shows, workshops, etc. to promote local pride for the care of their water resources and encourage people to be participants of the ARA scheme.   The campaigns underscore the benefits obtained in terms of water supply and biodiversity protection, and how the participation of local stakeholders will make their community unique and special.

Together with RARE, environmental authorities, municipalities, NGOs and Water Companies are partnering in this effort to replicate and expand the piloted methodology supported by the GEF,  to scale up the creation of enabling policies and payment for ecosystem services  programs at national levels.


About the Global Environment Facility

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) unites 182 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. Today the GEF is the largest public funder of projects to improve the global environment. An independently operating financial organization, the GEF provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants.

Since 1991, GEF has achieved a strong track record with developing countries and countries with economies in transition, providing $10.5 billion in grants and leveraging $51 billion in co-financing for over 2,700 projects in over 168 countries. Through its Small Grants Programme (SGP), the GEF has also made more than 14,000 small grants directly to civil society and community based organizations, totaling $634 million. For more information, visit

UNEP’s Mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. For more information, please contact: Nick Nuttall, Director, UNEP Division of Communications and Public Information, Tel. +254 733 632 755,

"Rare is a US based  environmental conservation NGO  focused  on protecting imperiled species and ecosystems with a high biodiversity value through the implementation of Pride Campaigns, which are based on advanced social marketing techniques to inspire and mobilize communities to adopt human practices that represent long term solutions for the sustainable use of natural resources and ecosystems conservation. What further differentiates Rare is that results are always achieved by building the leadership capacity and effectiveness of local organizations."


For more information, please contact:

Itala Yepez

ARA Cohort Director



To learn more about Rare work and the ARA initiative visit