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The Terra Viva Grants Directory develops and manages information about grants for agriculture, energy, environment, and natural resources in the world's developing countries.

United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization

Grants and awards for protection and management of biosphere reserves and world heritage sites

Principal Office: International

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) implements a broad and cross-cutting agenda, as implied by its name.

Its mission is to help address poverty reduction, educational and scientific advances, cultural heritage, and sustainable development.

Grant Programs for Agriculture, Energy, Environment, Natural Resources

1 — Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB). UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB) seeks to promote conservation that is compatible with sustainable development. Launched in the early 1970s, MAB’s network of biosphere reserves has grown to 701 sites in over 124 countries.

The MAB offers several awards and prizes.

  • Young Scientists Awards — These are annual small grants for research on ecosystems, natural resources, and biodiversity in the biosphere reserves of developing countries. Grants are to individuals not older than age 40 at the time of application. MAB Young Scientists Awards are up to US$5 thousand for one year.
  • Michel Batisse Award for Biosphere Management — This award is made bi-annually to individuals for outstanding completed work in biosphere reserve management. The Michel Batisse Award is US$12 thousand; one award is made every two years.
  • Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Preservation — This is a bi-annual prize to recognize outstanding environmental research, education and training, awareness creation, and field management of biosphere reserves and natural world heritage sites. Eligibility for the Prize extends to individuals, groups of individuals, institutes, and organizations. The Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Preservation is US$70 thousand awarded every two years.

APPLICATION: The MAB Young Scientists, Michel Batisse Award, and Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Preservation operate through competitive calls for proposals. Guidance, application forms, and calendar deadlines are posted in English and French.

About awards and prizes at MAB, and how to apply

2 — World Heritage Sites. UNESCO provides the Secretariat of the World Heritage Center. The World Heritage List comprises over 1,100 cultural, natural, and mixed sites in more than 160 countries. UNESCO encourages countries to establish management plans and reporting systems; to provide professional training and technical assistance; to provide emergency assistance for sites at risk; and to raise awareness and international cooperation under the World Heritage Convention.

The International Assistance Program makes grants to the State Parties of the World Heritage Convention for preparatory assistance, conservation and management, and emergency assistance. Eligibility is restricted to parties who officially represent UNESCO at the national level, and to appropriate government ministries and departments.

Grant amounts vary by the type of assistance (i.e., preparatory assistance; conservation & management; emergency assistance).

APPLICATION: The World Heritage website provides guidance and a form to submit requests for funding.

About grants for World Heritage sites, and how to apply

Geographical Distribution of Grant Activities in Developing Countries

UNESCO’s member states include the following developing countries, applying the regional structure of the Terra Viva Grants Directory.

Southeast Asia and Pacific Islands: Brunei, Fiji, Indonesia, Kiribati, Laos, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Myanmar, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Vanuatu, Vietnam

East Asia: China, Mongolia, North Korea

South Asia: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka

Eurasia and Central Asia: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan

Eastern Europe and Russia: Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Moldova, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine

Middle East and North Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen

Sub-Saharan Africa: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Latin America and Caribbean: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela

UNESCO’s website is available in English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, and Chinese.

UNESCO collaborates with Fauna & Flora International and the United Nations Foundation to jointly support the Rapid Response Facility (RRF). The RFF aims to protect natural World Heritage sites in times of crisis (see the separate profile of the Rapid Response Facility).

UNESCO offers fellowships and other education and training opportunities in addition to the leads included in this profile.

The MAB Program identifies national committees and contacts. UNESCO posts a directory of field offices worldwide.