In the year 2000, the Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza joined with a group of governmental and civic organizations to set up the Fondo Monarca, an innovative mechanism for funding conservation work in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. The FMCN now manages the Fund’s 7.5 million dollar endowment received from the Packard Foundation, Mexico’s Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources, and the governments of the states of Mexico and Michoacán. From the first year, the interest on this pool of money has been earmarked for the ejidos or communal lands, indigenous communities and private landowners living in the region.
The monarch is, in the words of the jury, “one of the planet’s landmark invertebrate species, known for its extraordinary migratory journey of over 5,000 kilometers between Canada and Mexico, a unique phenomenon that is also intensely vulnerable to climate change.” The monarch butterfly, a symbol of the dazzling richness of the natural world, is exposed to numerous pressures and dangers throughout its extensive dispersal and complex life cycle. But it is its wintering grounds in central Mexico that hold the key to the species’ survival.
The FMCN operates in this high-value geographical area, not only conserving the monarch butterfly’s ecosystem but also mobilizing the support and involvement of the local population through a system of payment for environmental services. This last element is described by the jury as “an innovative financing mechanism that contributes decisively to ecosystem preservation, the result of effective, coordinated working with local communities, government agencies and national and international conservationist organizations.”