NCTF Spotlight – Fondo MARENA (Dominican Republic)
In the year 2000, the government of the Dominican Republic approved the General Law of the Environment and the Natural Resources (Law 64-00). Within this law, the National Fund for the Environment and Natural Resources (Fondo Nacional para el Medio Ambiente y REcursos NAturales - Fondo MARENA) - was created and is considered as one of the instruments for the country’s environmental management.
The Fund was designed as a mechanism to promote both public and private investment in conservation projects. Although it is part of the government structure (as a public fund), MARENA has a separate legal personality, with totally decentralized management and independent assets.
Fondo MARENA became operational in 2009, after the government created the internal regulations for the Fund. Between 2010 and 2014, MARENA managed some projects as a result of a call for proposals, and also created an endowment fund for the National Protected Areas System, which needs to be further capitalized. In its institutional development process, MARENA was also identified by the Government and started negotiations with the CBF as a key partner to enhance its funding levels.
Fondo MARENA became the first National Conservation Trust Fund (NCTF) to sign the Partnership Agreement with the CBF. This happened in December 2016 and in September 2017 it was the first CBF Fund Partner to receive an endowment disbursement from the CBF, for a total amount of USD 320,450 (for now MARENA received 50% of this total as a first tranche). These resources will be used by Fondo MARENA to support coastal and marine Protected Areas in the country, in alignment with the Ministry of Environment priorities and commitments. It is a great opportunity for the Fund to manage new projects and to leverage additional resources.
In its new Strategic Plan, MARENA included a market study to identify new partnerships with the private sector and the international cooperation community. A new communication strategy is also planned to help Fondo MARENA to position itself as an active funder of conservation projects in the country. With the partnership with CBF and its new strategic plan, 2018 is planned to be the start of a new phase in Fondo MARENA history, increasing environmentally sustainable development activities in the Dominican Republic.