A team of conservationists in Brazil funded by the Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP), of which WCS is a partner, has assisted in the creation and recent publication of a new government-executed management plan to conserve threatened coral reefs in Brazil’s largest federal coastal marine conservation unit, the Costa dos Corais.

Located on the northeast coast of Brazil, the Costa dos Corais Marine Protected Area (MPA) covers an area of 1,550 square miles (5,000 square kilometres), including over 75 miles (120 kilometers) of beaches and mangroves. It was created by Federal Decree in 1997 (the International Year of the Reef) and was the first MPA in Brazil to protect coastal reefs.

Conservationists at Brazilian NGO, Reef Conservation Project, received their first CLP Award in 2017 (worth $15,000) to help them establish zoning areas among the threatened coral reef complex of the Costa dos Corais (i.e., no-take areas, visiting areas for tourists, and fishing areas).

This year, the same team has been granted a CLP Follow-Up Award (worth $25,000) to evaluate the effectiveness of these zoning areas in protecting the reefs, which will be facilitated by the recently published management plan (21 July, 2021) for the Costa dos Corais.

With CLP support, the team contributed key information to the management plan, such as field work data detailing the zoning creation process. The publication of the management plan was executed by the federal body of Brazil’s government, the Federal Protected Areas Agency (ICMBio – Chico Mendes Institute) with the aim of achieving ecological benefits for the MPA as well as social outputs for local stakeholders.

The Brazilian government has made several such commitments to safeguarding its marine biodiversity. This includes the establishment of four vast MPAs in 2018, which increased the country’s MPA coverage to almost 25% of its waters, exceeding the international target of protecting at least 10 per cent of marine areas by 2020. Other government-led marine conservation schemes include the Brazilian Blue Initiative, a coordination strategy framework to ensure the sustainability of the country’s marine resources and improve the conservation of its mangroves.

CLP is continuing to support high-priority conservation projects through its 2022 Team Awards. The programme is currently inviting applications from teams undertaking research, practical actions and community outreach to promote solutions for threatened fauna and flora.

“As the world seeks to protect 30% of our oceans by 2030, it is essential we scale investment in local conservation leaders like those who work with the Reef Conservation Project to improve management and help safeguard Brazil’s first coral reef MPA,” said Dr. Caleb McClennen, CLP Executive Committee member and WCS Vice President, Global Conservation. “Through the CLP Team Awards, internships, training, and alumni network support, WCS is proud to work with our partners Fauna & Flora International and Birdlife International as we support emerging local conservation leaders to innovate and achieve tangible, effective and long-lasting solutions for life on earth.”

Applications to the CLP 2022 Team Awards must be submitted using the online platform by 11:59pm GMT on 10 October, 2021.

Award-winning teams will benefit from a project grant, as well as opportunities to build connections with peers and access expert mentorship through the CLP Alumni Network (comprising approximately 2,900 past recipients around the world) and the three CLP partnership organisations. Individuals from winning teams are also invited to participate in international, regional and online training courses to develop their conservation knowledge and skills.

Eligible applicants can apply for one of three types of award:

  1. Future Conservationist Awards (up to $15,000 per project)
  2. Conservation Follow-Up Awards (up to $25,000 per project; available only to previous recipients of a Future Conservationist Award)
  3. Conservation Leadership Award (up to $50,000 per project; available only to previous recipients of a Follow-Up Award).

Applicants must propose projects that support the conservation of species listed as Data Deficient, Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered on the global IUCN Red List. Projects must take place in an eligible country, be led (or co-led) by a national of one of these countries, and involve at least three team members. More details about the eligibility criteria and guidelines on the application process can be found on the CLP website.

Many past recipients of CLP Team Awards have gone on to lead successful careers in the conservation sector, including establishing their own NGOs, influencing conservation policy, discovering new species, driving forward scientific knowledge, and bringing species back from the brink of extinction.

The winners of the 2022 CLP Team Awards are expected to be announced in April 2022.

This call for applications has been made possible thanks to support from Arcadia – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin (arcadiafund.org.uk)


BirdLife International is a global family of over 115 national Partners covering all continents, landscapes and seascapes. BirdLife is driven by its belief that local people, working for nature in their own places but connected nationally and internationally through the global Partnership, are the key to sustaining all life on this planet. This unique local-to-global approach delivers high impact and long-term conservation for the benefit of nature and people. Visit: birdlife.org

Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is the world’s longest established international wildlife conservation organisation. Founded in 1903, FFI acts to conserve threatened species and ecosystems worldwide. Renowned for an approach underpinned by robust science, FFI has pioneered collaborative, partnership-based, community-led conservation that tackles problems holistically, providing sustainable solutions that simultaneously benefit wildlife, support local livelihoods and safeguard the natural landscapes and seascapes on which we all ultimately depend. Visit: fauna-flora.org


Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP)

The Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP) is a partnership between BirdLife International, Fauna & Flora International and WCS. For 35 years, CLP has been committed to supporting early-career conservationists across the world undertaking important research, practical actions and community outreach to conserve globally threatened species. Visit: www.conservationleadershipprogramme.org Follow: @CLPawards. For more information, contact: kate.tointon@fauna-flora.org +44 (0) 7769 691862