The OSME Conservation Fund

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OSME’s small grants programme is now known as the Conservation Fund and has been funding projects since the early 1980s. In recent years OSME Council has been working hard to grow the fund and to provide support for more projects, and also to increase the financial value of each award. The awarding of small grants is overseen by the Conservation Fund Committee which is independent of OSME Council and makes recommendations for funding which have to be approved by Council. Dr Maxim Koshkin oversees the committee with the support of Richard Porter, Mick Green, Nabegh Ghazal Asswad and Sharif Jbour. All the committee members have a range of expertise and experience of bird conservation across the OSME region.

In the last three years we have seen record breaking amounts of money being awarded to conservation projects across the OSME region. In 2015 a record £10,450 was awarded to 8 projects. A whole range of projects ranging from those focusing on conservation of raptors at the migratory bottleneck in Batumi (Georgia), assisting with the reinforcement of Roller populations in Cyprus and White-headed Duck research and conservation in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, received financial support with grants ranging from £650 to £2,000.

Since 2016 we’ve been keen to expand the amount of funds we provide for education and awareness raising projects. Education of the next generation of conservationists and birdwatchers is key to tackling some of the long-term problems birds face across the OSME region. We were delighted to support youth projects in Armenia and Azerbaijan, including our largest ever grant of £5000 to FPWC for their SunChild Eco Club project – see here for more details. Indeed, 2016 was another record breaking year with £14,000 awarded to seven excellent projects.

We’ve received feedback on most of the projects that we have funded in 2015 and 2016 and a summary report can be found here.

Due to the continued generosity of OSME members and supporters we’ve been able to continue growing the Conservation Fund. A generous donor and new funding from the Tides Foundation has provided a further boost to the amount of money we are able to provide to projects, and allowed the continued expansion of the Conservation Fund alongside other significant initiatives such as the Arabic translation of the field guide to Birds of the Middle East.

As we take stock of the last 12 months we can announce that during 2017 we have funded a further 8 projects to the value of £15,792, yet another record breaking year for the OSME Conservation Fund. These projects are in their very early stages and reports won’t be available until later next year, but they are listed here for information:

  • White-headed Duck Conservation, Turkey (£1500)
  • Great Bustard Breeding Grounds, Kazakhstan (£1500)
  • Bar-tailed Godwit surveys, Kazakhstan (£2250)
  • Monitoring Sociable Lapwing migration through Kumo-Manych depression, SW Russia (£1000).
  • Bird Camp Besh Barmag Initiative, Azerbaijan (£2000).
  • Bar-headed Goose in the Pamirs, Tadjikistan (£1542).
  • Steppe Eagle Conservation Network in Turkey (£1000).
  • The SunChild Eco Club project follow up, Armenia (£5000)

Applications for funding through the OSME Conservation Fund are always welcome, the next application deadline is the 31st January 2018. For further details and an application form please visit the OSME website here. Specific enquiries can be made to crf@osme.org All applications from across the OSME region are welcome but we are especially keen to receive applications from Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.

Maxim Koshkin & Rob Sheldon