Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund
Conserving and restoring nature is fundamental to mitigating and adapting to climate change.
The climate and nature crises are inextricably linked. Climate change is altering the water cycle, resulting in flooding, droughts, and wildfires. It is one of the key drivers of biodiversity loss, which is proceeding at an unprecedented rate with up to one million species currently at risk of extinction.
Canada is committed to nature-based solutions to build resilience and help Canada meet its 2030 and 2050 climate change objectives.
Nature-based solutions are actions to conserve, sustainably manage, and restore ecosystems. These actions will help to:
- store and capture carbon
- mitigate the impacts of climate change
- build resilience and improve water quality, and
- provide critical habitat for Canada’s wildlife
Embracing the power of nature to support healthier families and more resilient communities is one of the five pillars of Canada’s Strengthened Climate Plan.
Natural Climate Solutions Fund
To address climate change and biodiversity loss, the Government of Canada is establishing the Natural Climate Solutions Fund which will invest $4 billion over the next ten years:
- 2 Billion Trees Program led by Natural Resources Canada ($3.19 billion)
- Nature Smart Climate Solutions led by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) ($631 million)
- Agricultural Climate Solutions led by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada ($185 million)
Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund
The ECCC administered Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund (NSCSF) is a $631 million, ten-year fund meant to reduce 2-4 megatons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually. The fund will achieve this by supporting projects that conserve, restore and enhance wetlands, peatlands, and grasslands to store and capture carbon. Projects will focus on conserving, restoring and enhancing the management of important habitat for migratory birds, species at risk and other species of cultural and/or socio-economic importance to local communities.
The fall 2021 application process will have three project streams:
- the Place-based actions stream
- the Sector-based policy stream; and
- the Reverse auction pilot stream
Any organization meeting the eligibility criteria with relevant projects are encouraged to apply.
Note: Projects that are required by law, regulation or policy (e.g., mitigation requirement of a development/project approval) are not eligible for funding under the NSCSF Initiative.
The NSCSF has now opened a Request for Proposals (RFP) for Place-based action stream, and a Request for Letters of Intent (LOI) for the Sector-based policy and the Reverse auction pilot streams.
The primary objective of the NSCSF initiative is to reduce Canada’s net GHG emissions using natural climate solutions, while providing benefits for biodiversity and human well-being.
The objective of the Place-based actions and Reverse auction streams is to achieve tangible changes on the ground, such as increasing carbon sequestration by restoring degraded grasslands. The objective of the Sector-based policy stream is to address the systemic issues related to implementing nature-based climate solutions by supporting the development of new or updated policies, programs, and tools that will result in GHG emission reductions by changing land use and management practices in grasslands, wetlands and forests. Funds will also support data collection needed to quantify the GHG emission outcomes for each project.
NSCSF activities during 2021-22 to 2030-31 will seek to reduce 2-4 megatons of GHGs per year from 2030 to 2050 and onwards. Ecosystems will continue to sequester carbon for many years after the initial investment ends.
In addition, the program is tracking the following results.
- Annual greenhouse gas emission reductions (Mt CO2e)
- Projected long-term (2050) greenhouse gas emission reductions (Mt CO2e)
- Total area (hectares) restored
- Total area (hectares) conserved
- Number of direct jobs
- Number of methodological improvements for the land sector implemented in each annual edition of Canada’s National Inventory Report
- Total area stewarded for greenhouse gas mitigation
- Total area secured for greenhouse gas mitigation
- Number of indigenous-led projects supported
- Net change in policies driving ecosystem conversion relative to the land-base
Proposals will be evaluated based on their anticipated contribution to these results.
Eligible funding recipients are:
- domestic or international not-for-profit organizations, such as:
- charitable and volunteer organizations
- professional associations, and
- non-governmental organizations
- domestic or international Indigenous organizations, governments, individuals, boards, commissions, communities, associations and authorities, including
- Indigenous not-for-profit organizations
- district councils, Chiefs councils and Tribal councils
- Indigenous research, academic and educational institutions
- Indigenous for-profit organizations
- domestic or international research, academic and educational institutions
- Canadian individuals
- domestic or international for-profit organizations, such as:
- small businesses with less than 500 employees, companies, corporations, and industry associations
- local organizations such as:
- community associations and groups
- seniors’ and youth groups, and
- service clubs
- provinces and territories
- municipal and local governments and their agencies
In cases where recipients further distribute funds, the ultimate recipients must be included in the list of eligible funding recipients.
Note: Reverse auction proposals will need to be submitted by an organization, or a partnership of organizations with one administrative lead. This means that Canadian individuals will not meet the requirements to run a reverse auction, but may participate in one.
Projects must occur in Canada.
Proposals received by the deadline must satisfy all Fund Use Requirements in order to be eligible for funding. You can find the full Fund Use Requirements for each stream on their Overview page. Funding will be made available under the following three streams of work:
This stream will support restoration of grasslands and wetlands and enhanced land management activities. These activities will increase carbon sequestration and storage and improve habitat. In addition, projects that prevent GHG emissions from the degradation or loss of carbon-rich habitats will also be supported. Projects should occur in areas that provide important habitat for migratory birds, species at risk and other species of cultural and/or socio-economical importance to local communities.
This stream will engage those interested in advancing policies, programs and tools designed to address the systemic issues related to implementing nature-based climate solutions. If implemented, these would decrease the rate of activities that cause GHG emissions (e.g. reduce the rate of wetland conversion), or increase the rate of activities that increase sequestration (e.g. increase the rate of grassland restoration activities). Industry regulators and representatives from the forestry, agriculture, urban development, mining, and oil and gas sectors are encouraged to participate.
Reverse auction pilot
This stream seeks proposals that will pilot the use of a reverse auction method for agriculture landscapes in order to reduce GHG emissions or increase carbon sequestration. Proposals are expected to describe how a reverse auction method can successfully secure ecosystems in agricultural landscapes that currently store carbon and are at imminent threat of loss, and/or restore annual cropland to grassland, wetland or riparian habitats. Projects should occur in areas that provide important habitat for migratory birds, species at risk and other species of cultural and/or socio-economical importance to local communities. Partnership proposals with one lead administrative organization are encouraged.
The NSCSF initiative will support Indigenous organizations and communities to undertake Indigenous-led, on-the-ground projects for ecological restoration. These projects will also focus on improved management and conservation of wetlands, grasslands, and forests that result in reduced and captured GHG emissions. ECCC will make funding available to Indigenous partners to deliver projects to build capacity and advance Indigenous efforts on natural climate solutions through a distinctions-based approach with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis.
For questions related to the implementation of the Indigenous component of the NSCSF, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
On-line application system
Applications are now available via the Grants and Contributions Enterprise Management System (GCEMS). Accessing GCEMS requires applicants to create a GCKey and access the Single Window Information Manager (SWIM). Accessing the on-line application the first time may require three business days for a password to be provided. Make sure you sign up for a password through the SWIM portal as early as possible.
Review the various funding opportunities, and confirm you are applying to the correct stream. Review the Program Overview for the stream or streams you wish to apply to and ensure your project’s activities satisfy the fund use requirements.
For further details on each stream, including the Fund Use Requirements, and how to apply, please consult the Overviews:
For questions or clarification, please contact the NSCSF office at email@example.com.
The application period for all three streams will be open from until January 25, 2022 at 3 pm PST. Your application must be submitted in GCEMS portal before the deadline.
In accordance with ECCC’s Grants and Contributions Service Standards, applicants will receive an acknowledgment that their application was submitted successfully within five (5) working days of submitting an application. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have submitted an application but have not received this acknowledgment.
For further details on the NSCSF program, attend the online information session:
- in English at 1 pm EST on Tuesday, December 7, 2021
- in French at 1 pm EST on Wednesday, December 8, 2021
- in English at 2 pm EST on Tuesday, December 14, 2021 *new
Information to access the sessions can be found in the Applicant Guide in GCEMS. For questions please contact the NSCSF office at email@example.com.
For this open call, the program will prioritize funding activities for all streams:
- taking place in the following places
- Habitat Joint Venture Priority Areas,
- Federal-Provincial-Territorial Priority Places and Community Nominated Priority Places;
- Critical habitat for SARA or COSEWIC-listed threatened and endangered species;
- Designated important habitat in a SARA management plan,
- Important habitat for SARA or migratory birds based on other sources of evidence, e.g., conservation data centre records, provincial or territorial data, published information; or
- Areas that meet the Ecological Gift Program Eco-Sensitivity criteria, such as if they are in a Key Biodiversity Area
- that engage priority sectors, agriculture, forestry and urban development. Reverse auction stream should focus only on the agriculture sector.
Other funding considerations
To be eligible for Place-based actions and Reverse auction funding, applicants will be required to:
- indicate their understanding that emission reductions achieved via the proposed project cannot be sold as offsets at this time
- commit to tracking key results and providing the project data required to quantify emission reductions and integrate the project information into the National Inventory Report. This may require field activities such as collecting soil samples to measure soil organic carbon (SOC), or determining the type of wetland and its flood frequency
- commit that, if funded through the current process, directly affected Indigenous communities will be engaged prior to implementing place-based actions on the ground
For Sector-based policy projects, applicants will be required to:
- commit to providing the project data required to quantify emission reductions and integrate the project information into the National Inventory Report where applicable
- help ECCC develop projections for what would have occurred with and without the implementation of the policy, program or tool
- commit that, if funded through the current process, directly affected Indigenous communities will be engaged early in the process of any activities
Range of funding
The minimum funding request for the Place-based actions stream is $250,000 per project.
The minimum funding request for the Sector-based policy stream is $100,000 per project.
The minimum funding request for the Reverse auction pilot stream is $1,000,000 per project. Partnership proposals with one lead administrative organization are encouraged.
Organizations may not receive more than $25 million per fiscal year for any individual or combination of applications across all NSCSF funding streams.
Projects will be selected based on the following criteria:
- the project is eligible for funding
- the project addresses the NSCSF’s objectives related to GHG emissions reductions (or increased carbon sequestration) and the provision of co-benefits for biodiversity
- the proposal describes realistic and eligible activities; and
- the proposal has been submitted by an eligible NSCSF applicant
Each application undergoes an administrative assessment to confirm it meets the selection criteria, and a technical review to evaluate its scientific and technical merit.
If you have any further questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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