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Director’s Cut - Friday, 6 March 2009
Keeping the Resources Flowing
By Kimo Goree, Director of IISD Reporting Services (IISD RS) -
Kimo Goree
Director of
In the early years of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, from 1992 through about 1995, one of our biggest challenges was finding the funding to attend and report from meetings. Although IISD had “acquired” us in 1993, their early attempts to secure a “timely and predictable flow of resources” were not particularly successful. So, in July 1993, I left my job as the Director of a small Brazilian NGO in the Western Amazon and moved to Winnipeg, Canada, where IISD is headquartered, to take up the newly created position of Managing Director for the Earth Negotiations Bulletin,with the responsibility of fundraising for our fledgling publication.

Our early funding, for coverage of individual meetings, came from several US-based foundations, including the Pew Charitable Trusts and the McArthur Foundation, and from several governments. However, the funding model that we were using, going to individual donors for individual meetings, had high transactional costs and the pipeline for delivery of funds was so slow that we were always waiting until the last minute to confirm our participation at events. As a result, during those first years, it was IISD that invested considerable resources in the growing Bulletin as we ran deficits but continued to publish. Without a doubt, we would not have survived our first five years without the financial assistance of IISD and the personal attention of then IISD President, Art Hanson.

By 1996, as we expanded our coverage to include the early mega-conferences in Cairo, Copenhagen, Beijing and Istanbul, as well as the Commission on Sustainable Development, the Convention to Combat Desertification, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, we changed our funding model completely. We began to circulate to governments an annual proposal that included our work program for the entire year. Rather than getting funding for individual meetings, we asked our donors, now strictly governments, to commit to support our entire program of work, as well as the cost of gathering the additional content on our new website. This “program proposal” rather than “project proposal” approach helped us avoid the problem we were facing where funding from certain government ministry funding was linked only to one meeting or one multilateral environmental agreement (MEA), leaving some processes like Desertification or the Commission on Sustainable Development without funding for our reporting services. We chose to focus exclusively on fundraising from governments, since they were most interested in promoting transparency and greater awareness of the MEAs we follow and we were not competing with NGOs for limited private foundation money.

This model has proven very effective, as our budgets have grown each year, as has our pool of donors. We established two categories of donors: our Sustaining Donors who agree to support our work at the highest level (now €100K or more per year) on a continuing basis, and our General Supporters who provide resources at a lower level (at least €35K per year.) Our donor list for the Earth Negotiations Bulletinnow includes:

ENB funding in 2008
ENB Funding in 2008


Government Ministries and Agencies
The Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Sustaining Donor
Canada’s International Development Agency (CIDA) – Sustaining Donor
The United States Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs and the United States Agency for International Development – Sustaining Donor
The United Kingdom’s Department for International Development – Sustaining Donor
The European Community (DG-ENV) – Sustaining Donor
Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Sustaining Donor
Germany’s Ministry for Development Cooperation (BMZ) and the German Ministry of Nature Management, Forests and Nuclear Safety (BMU) – Sustaining Donor
Italian Ministry for the Environment and Territory General Directorate for Nature Protection – Sustaining Donor
Switzerland’s Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape
Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Environment
Austria’s Ministry of Environment
The Government of Australia
Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Finland’s Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Japan’s Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES) and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (through the Global Industrial and Social Progress Research Institute – GISPRI)
The Government of New Zealand
Conservation Division, Forestry Bureau, Council of Agriculture, Taiwan (through S.W.A.N. International)
International Organization of the Francophone (for publishing in French)
Spain’s Ministry of Environment (for publishing in Spanish)

Intergovernmental Organizations and Specialized Agencies of the United Nations
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

ENB Funding in 2008
ENB Funding in 2008
Green – OECD Donors to ENB
Red – OECD Non-Donors to ENB

IISD Reporting Services is currently in the middle of our fundraising drive for 2009. Due to the increased number of weeks for climate change negotiations this year, we are attempting to raise additional funds during an economic downturn when trends in government funding for these issues is heading the other direction. We are hoping to bring in some new donors, such as the Republic of Korea, Portugal and Belgium, and to try to restore funding from France in order to make up the shortfall. More information on fundraising for the Earth Negotiations Bulletincan be found here, and our complete 2009 funding proposal is located here.
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