IUCN Save Our Species


Organizational profile:
IUCN is the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network. UCN Save Our Species (SOS) is both IUCN’s change agent and its action arm. Being part of the IUCN Global Species Programme, SOS transforms IUCN’s science into concrete actions on the ground.

SOS funds frontline conservation organizations across the world that have unique knowledge of their region and the local biodiversity. To save threatened species with sustainable, long-term results, SOS knows that they need to tackle key threats that are driving the decline of the species populations. These include the lack of incentives for landowners and managers to retain natural habitats, illegal wildlife trade, abusive practices in agriculture, fisheries and forestry, human-wildlife conflict and invasive alien species. Local communities do not always understand why and how they should protect wildlife, as many rely on it and their shared habitat to generate income. It is thus essential for any project to understand the local economy. By supporting the development of alternative livelihoods, SOS engages local communities in supporting the conservation work. All of SOS’ conservation projects have a three-legged approach:

  1. Species: SOS monitors populations and creates conditions for species to increase and recolonize.
  2. Habitat: SOS builds capacity for better-protected areas and habitat management.
  3. People: SOS works with local communities to reduce unsustainable dependency on natural resources through the provision of alternatives. 

SOS works with Civil Society Organizations and government agencies, and offers three types of grants:

  • Threatened Species Grants are awarded under each of SOS’ initiatives through periodic Calls for Proposals. These are awarded to projects that have a programmatic approach to addressing existing conservation threats.
  • Rapid Action Grants are awarded through an open-ended Call for Proposals available to projects responding to emergency situations. They are awarded to shorter projects (maximum 12 months) and are designed to enable immediate responses to new and emerging threats. Note: Rapid Action Grants are currently only available under SOS African Wildlife initiative.
  • Research Support Grants are awarded to young and early scientists in their research to improve the knowledge of threatened species and their ecosystems. Note: Research Support Grants are currently only available under the Fondation Segré Conservation Fund. See the Fondation Segré Conservation Fund profile in the database of UNFF Clearing House for more details.


Financing Instrument: Grants


Project scale:

  • Threatened Species Grants: Grant size varies from a minimum of EUR 25,000 and a maximum of EUR 300,000.
  • Rapid Action Grants: maximum grant size is EUR 100,000.


Recipient countries regions/country groups: Different calls launched by SOS will specify different geography eligibilities.


Recipient categories:
Different calls launched by SOS will specify different eligible recipients. In general, (1) a public entity such as national, regional and local governments and independent bodies partially or wholly owned by the government; or (2) a civil society entity, local or international non-governmental organisation can be eligible.


Eligibility Criteria:
Different calls launched by SOS will specify different eligibility criteria. For example, Threatened Species Grants could have requirements on the specific species to protect, and Rapid Action Grants could have specifications on the activities eligible for the grants. When calls for proposals are open, refer to the guidelines for details.


Application guidelines:
SOS regularly opens calls for proposals to civil society and government organisations involved in conservation activities. Please check the website of SOS for any updates or contact saveourspecies@iucn.org for more information.

Publication Date
Wednesday, 24 August 2022
Applicable location
Forest conservation and management
Forest landscape restoration
Biodiversity conservation
Financing opportunities