IUCN SOS – Save Our Species is an IUCN grant-making mechanism set up to ensure the long-term survival of threatened species, their habitats and the people who depend on them.
IUCN SOS channels funds from donors to existing frontline conservation actors working to protect from extinction some of the world's most threatened species of plants and animals, as informed by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.
SOS is administered by a Secretariat based in IUCN Headquarters in Switzerland in close coordination with IUCN Regional Offices. SOS harnesses the power of the largest network of species experts in the world - the IUCN Species Survival Commission - to evaluate project applications and provide technical advice to grantees throughout the course of a project’s implementation. Working with this network gives SOS a unique capability to identify and select high quality projects according to a clear set of conservation criteria.
IUCN SOS aims to:
- Develop initiatives that provide funding for Threatened Species Grants to achieve targeted and impactful conservation goals;
- Provide Rapid Action Grants to address emerging conservation issues where an immediate response is required;
- Monitor project implementation to assess conservation success and the impact of investments;
- Provide best-in-class project management. IUCN SOS grants are managed by monitoring the grantees’ technical and financial performance, tracking progress and completion of deliverables, reviewing payment requests, discussing grant issues with the grantees and local partners, conducting site visits when needed, and ensuring adequate follow-up to any issues that arise. The IUCN Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS) provides a systematic procedure to check projects for potential adverse environmental and social impacts to assure that negative impacts are avoided or minimised to the extent possible while positive impacts are stimulated;
- Raise awareness about biodiversity. Through operational and strategic communications, IUCN SOS engages with existing and new audiences about the multiple and long-lasting benefits of species conservation;
- Mobilise innovative financing, in particular through private sector engagement. IUCN SOS aims to increase the total amount of funding allocated to species conservation annually. IUCN SOS represents a credible, secure, coordinated, and effective vehicle for the private sector and other donors to channel their investments to on-the-ground projects where conservation works.
IUCN SOS contributes to meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals on biodiversity such as Life on Earth (SDG 15) and Life under Water (SDG 14), as well as many of the CBD Aichi targets.
To date SOS has disbursed US $35 million in species conservation grants and funded more than 140 projects, protecting more than 300 threatened species and supporting more than 80 NGOs operating in 70 countries worldwide.