Rapid Response Facility
Rapid Response Facility (RRF) is a partnership between the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and Fauna & Flora International (FFI). These global organisations, with their vast ‘on the ground’ experience and in-depth political knowledge, give the RRF compelling credibility and rigour. Founded in 2006, the RRF Secretariat is hosted by Fauna & Flora International, based in Cambridge, UK. Valued input and guidance are provided by RRF’s partners Fondation Franz Weber, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fondation Iris and Arcadia.
RRF focuses its support on UNESCO natural World Heritage sites. Natural World Heritage sites are the most important sites in the world for the conservation of nature. Designated according to strict criteria, they represent a global heritage recognised as being of outstanding universal value, unique and irreplaceable.
The plains of the Serengeti National Park, the spectacular Amazon rainforest, the gorillas of Virunga and the unique creatures of the Galapagos Islands are all part of this unmatched heritage. Like anywhere else, these irreplaceable sites can be hit by unpredictable natural or man-made disasters such as earthquakes, oil spills or civil unrest. Responding rapidly to such disasters can make the difference between irreparable destruction and lesser, reversible damage. The RRF has funded a diverse range of projects in the past, including Forest Fires On Mount Kenya, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park during COVID-19, Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Forest Fires in the Bale Mountains National Park, etc.
Financing Instrument: Grants
Project scale: Up to $40,000 available
Recipient countries regions/country groups: Global (ODA Countries)
The RRF can make grants to any organization that has permission to work at the proposed site. The RRF does not make grants to individuals. The types of organisations RRF funds include (but are not limited to):
- Government bodies responsible for site management (for example national wildlife agencies, park managers, government ministries etc.)
- Registered local, national or international non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
- Private sector organisations (including local and multinational corporations)
1. The site must be located in an eligible country: RRF grants are restricted to countries that are eligible for ‘official development assistance’ according to the OECD. Overseas territories of developed countries may occasionally be considered, please contact the Secretariat for advice.
2. The site must be a listed UNESCO natural World Heritage site (or an internationally recognised site of high biodiversity value): RRF grants are available for UNESCO natural World Heritage sites. Please note UNESCO cultural World Heritage sites are not eligible for RRF funding.
In rare cases, RRF may also consider other high-priority protected areas including;
1). Sites on the tentative World Heritage list: RRF occasionally accepts applications from sites on ‘tentative’ lists, which can be found here. RRF only considers sites included under natural or mixed categories.
2). Other eligible sites: In exceptional circumstances, the Rapid Response Facility may provide grants for places other than World Heritage sites. These would need to be one of the following:
- a site that directly impacts the ‘outstanding universal values’ (OUV) of a natural World Heritage site. This includes sites that are in close proximity to a natural World Heritage site, where the threat would impact the biodiversity within the World Heritage site.
- sites with other international designations.
UNESCO Man & Biosphere Reserves
Applications for actions outside the World Heritage site network must clearly demonstrate the global significance of the site’s biodiversity in order to qualify for funding.
3. Applications must address a sudden emergency situation:
The RRF only funds actions at a site facing an ‘emergency’ threat to its biodiversity. The RRF does not fund ongoing issues even if they require urgent action.
The RRF’s definition of an emergency is based on the following criteria, all of which will be considered during the decision process:
1) Suddenness: How recently has the threat emerged or worsened? RRF only consider a situation an emergency if it has arisen in the last few months or weeks, or if the intensity of an existing threat has got suddenly worse. RRF advise applicants to provide evidence of any recent increases in the threat profile where possible.
2) Predictability: Based on past experience, how predictable was the situation? The RRF prioritises funding for situations where the threat was unpredictable and thus difficult to prepare for in advance.
3) Time sensitivity: Will there be a measurable conservation benefit if work starts immediately (within days / 1-2 weeks), rather than in months or years? The RRF prioritises projects that require immediate assistance.
4) Duration and reversibility of impact: Does the threat have the potential to cause a long-lasting negative impact on the biodiversity value of the site? The RRF prioritises actions that avert irreversible damage or reduce long-term negative impacts.
Applications must meet most or all of these criteria in order to qualify for funding. Those that do not meet the criteria are likely to be rejected by the Secretariat.
4. Applicant organisations must be able to accept funds into an organisational bank account, directly from the UK in US Dollars (USD).
If applicants are uncertain whether they are eligible to apply or whether their proposal meets the RRF criteria, please contact the Secretariat (firstname.lastname@example.org) for advice.
Application to the RRF doesn’t involve the lengthy processes required in traditional funding streams and RRF's quick decision-making process allow resources to be mobilised rapidly on the ground. RRF makes informed decisions within eight working days of receiving an application.
- Requests for funding are only accepted through submission of the official RRF application form to the RRF email address (email@example.com). RRF application form can be found under the tab “Apply” on the RRF website.
- All applicants must include the contact details of two independent referees.
- Applications from NGOs or private sector organisations must include a letter of support from the relevant site management authority as part of their application.
- Applications are accepted year-round, there are no deadlines.