Article 8(j) - Traditional Knowledge, Innovations and Practices

Voluntary Fund

The Conference of the Parties decided in decision VII/16 G, paragraph 10, on Participatory mechanism for indigenous and local communities , “ to establish a voluntary funding mechanism under the Convention to facilitate the participation of indigenous and local communities, giving special priority to those from developing countries and countries with economies in transition and small island developing States in meetings under the Convention, including meetings of the indigenous and local community liaison group and relevant meetings of ad hoc technical expert groups”. This Fund remains the only United Nations fund specifically for indigenous peoples and local community participation in meetings related to the Convention.

For the pre-selection of the beneficiaries the COP established a Selection Committee consisting of seven representatives of indigenous peoples and local communities, nominated by the Indigenous community, from the seven socio-cultural regions recognized by the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, along with the Bureau of the Conference of the Parties.

The selection criteria for beneficiaries of the fund are found in decision VIII/5 D Annex (in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian).

The numbers of beneficiaries depends on the amount of financial resources available in the Voluntary Fund. The beneficiaries could receive full or partial support. This support includes a round-trip air ticket on the most economical route and Daily Subsistence Allowance (DSA) for the duration of the meetings.

Requirements to apply for the Voluntary Fund

Based on decision VIII/5 D Annex (Decision VIII/5 D Annex in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian the requirements to apply for the Voluntary Fund are:
  • be an indigenous peoples or local community organization accredited under the Secretariat of the CBD to attend CBD meetings. Indigenous and local community individuals from non-governmental organizations may also be considered where necessary and appropriate. The Secretariat will also consider indigenous and local community individuals who have the authority to speak on behalf of their communities as political representatives;
  • The Secretariat will only consider applications, which provide a letter of recommendation signed by an executive of their organization or by indigenous and local community representative. The Secretariat will not take into account a letter of recommendation signed by the applicant herself/himself;
  • The Secretariat only considers a maximum of two (2) applicants per organization or community, and organizations are requested to consider gender balance (where possible, by submitting both one male and one female applicant);
  • Applicants must submit application forms and recommendation letters in one of the six official languages of the United Nations (English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese or Arabic). Applications in other languages will not be considered by the Secretariat;
  • Applicants must indicate their role and/or responsibilities in their organization or community;
  • The Secretariat's selection of an applicant to attend a specific meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity does not exclude another recommendation to attend other relevant meetings and vice versa.

How to apply for the Voluntary Fund

  • Check the CBD website for notifications with the announcements of up-coming meetings where indigenous peoples and local communities are invited to apply for funding
  • Complete and sign an application form that are available at English , French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian on our web site in all 6 UN languages.
  • Send an official nomination letter from the indigenous peoples or local community that is requesting that you represent them at the meeting. This nomination letter must include:
    • A specific and clear request for the organization to be represented as an observer to the particular CBD meeting (name of meeting should be clearly stated);
    • The names, titles and contact details of the organization's nominated representatives, including the person's role in the organization, telephone number and email address.
    • The nomination letter should be on their official organization's letterhead, signed by the chief executive or president.
  • Submit your request at least three months before the official meeting (see the list of meetings here). Your request should also include:
    • Completed and signed the application form;
    • Curriculum vitae;
    • Nomination letter from your organization.
    • Send your application and additional documents to the Secretariat of the CBD via email:

Incomplete nominations will not be considered.

The Secretariat will contact only those delegates selected to receive financial support.

Organization participating for first time-Additional Information

If the organization would like to attend a CBD Meeting for the first time, the organization must undergo an accreditation process, therefore additional information should be included with the letter of interest including:
  1. A statement demonstrating the organization's qualifications in fields relating to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity;
  2. A website address;
  3. The organization's statutes/by-laws or terms of reference demonstrating the organization's legitimacy as a bona fide organization constituted in its home country;
  4. Any other relevant information.

Bodies and agencies should notify the Secretariat of any relevant change in the information provided previously to the Secretariat that may affect the organization’s admission as an observer.

Please note that individuals without an institutional affiliation cannot be admitted as observers to CBD meetings.