Conservation Leadership Programme


Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP) is a partnership of three of the world’s leading biodiversity conservation organisations: BirdLife International, Fauna & Flora, and Wildlife Conservation Society.

Drawing upon the expertise of conservation professionals from across the globe, the CLP directs project funding and training to early career conservationists from low- to middle- income countries who are tackling priority conservation challenges.

The CLP supports high-priority biodiversity conservation in places where capacity and access to resources is limited, including tropical and sub-tropical ecosystems around the world. Funding is awarded on an annual basis to teams of early-career conservationists to conduct scientific research, encourage and promote pro-conservation attitudes and deliver tangible results to better conserve and manage the natural world. 

In addition to awarding project funding, CLP invites one member of each award-winning team to its annual international training course where they learn about a range of conservation management and leadership topics as well as build a network with other early-career conservationists. The CLP training course helps awardees deliver their projects and has also been credited for furthering participants’ career progression. 

Financing Instrument: Grants, capacity-building

Project scale: 

There are three grant levels to allow teams to scale up their initial projects:
1.    Future Conservationist Award:  up to $15,000
2.    Follow-up Award: up to $25,000
3.    Leadership Award: up to $50,000

The Kate Stokes Memorial Award is an additional grant set up in the memory of Kate Stokes. This award ($5,000) is offered annually to an exceptional team of CLP alumni. Funds from other donors can be included in the project budget; however, the total amount of funds requested from CLP must cover at least 50% of the project budget.

Recipient countries regions/country groups:  Projects in low- and middle-income countries and in some high-income islands in the Caribbean and Pacific.

Eligibility Criteria: 

Future Conservationist Awards are granted to teams of early-career conservationists (i.e., team members have less than five years of paid conservation experience) who are conducting high-priority projects focused on protecting species listed as Data Deficient, Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Projects must take place in an eligible country, be led (or co-led) by a national of one of these countries, involve at least three people and last between three to 12 months.

Conservation Follow-Up Awards are available to teams addressing a conservation issue raised by recommendations in a project previously supported by CLP. Projects should be focused on direct conservation outputs, for example lobbying, awareness raising, education, training and monitoring. As with the Future Conservationist Award, results and data from Conservation Follow-Up projects should inform national action plans and international priority setting.

The Conservation Leadership Awards are awarded to teams leading complex conservation projects that connect previous work and typically focus on creating enduring systems to ensure conservation outcomes in the long-term (for example, forming a new, self-supporting NGO). Award-winners should be high potential, early- to mid-career conservationists, who through training and experience are now able to build the capacity of others. Projects should be sustainable and effective, increasing the viability of threatened populations and influencing national policy.

Team Awards guidelines: 

The Team Awards operate on an annual cycle and should be submitted via the online platform.  CLP Alumni Reviewers have volunteered their time to support applicants. Future Conservationist Award applicants are encouraged to contact CLP Alumni Reviewers for application review at least two weeks before the application deadline. 

The review process is made up of the following stages: an initial cut of applications that do not meet the basic award eligibility criteria; a second round of selection based on the comments of our expert reviewers; and a final stage, with award-winners decided by a panel of judges who make up the final selection for the Team Awards. After each stage, the CLP team will provide all unsuccessful applicants with external feedback in order to encourage them to strengthen their application.

Contact information: or Olivia Couchman, Executive Manager of CLP, 

Publication Date
Tuesday, 31 October 2023
Biodiversity conservation
Financing opportunities