Academic Year 2020/2021

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Local and Global Development (cod. 9200)

    Also valid for Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Sciences and Management of Nature (cod. 9257)

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, the student will have the theoretical and practical knowledge of the funding tools that can be used to support projects for the protection of nature and the environment, as well as their methods of application. In particular, the student will:

- understand the main financing instruments and be familiar with successful examples of their application in the field of nature conservation;

-be able to identify the most suitable financial instrument for the specific environmental problem to be treated;

- know how to develop funding applications for nature conservation initiatives in response to public and private opportunities through the most successful methodologies;

- understand best approach for funding proposals to public and private bodies involved in the management of nature (parks, municipalities, associations, etc.);

- be able to participate in calls for tenders or funding initiatives to support pilot nature conservation projects.

Course contents

Module 1. What are the financial instruments for nature conservation? Overview of the different financing methods and opportunities. Examples.

Module 2. European funding. European funding for projects in the environment and nature sector, with focus on LIFE programme. Results of European projects for the protection of nature and the environment in Europe and in Italy, the main rules of the funds, the lifecycle of a project financed by the EU. Case studies and exercises.

Module 3. Payments for Ecosystem Services. Operating modes, critical issues and examples.

Module 4. Fiscal and financial measures to encourage the conservation of nature and other forms of public-private support.

Module 5. Private financing and sponsorships.

Module 6. Procedures for the design of nature conservation initiatives to be financed with external funds through the logical framework approach, the technical-scientific and the economic aspects. Exercises.


The pdf of the lessons held are released to the students during the course of the course as an aid for the preparation of the exam. They contain numerous in-depth suggestions (scientific articles) divided by subject. The following texts are also suggested:

Picchi S., 2018. “Panoramica sugli strumenti di finanziamento per la conservazione della natura”, in RETICULA n. 17/2018, ISPRA.

Disselhoff, T., 2015. Alternative Ways to Support Private Land Conservation. Report to the European Commission. Ref. No: E.3-PO/07.020300/2015/ENV. Berlin/Germany.

Huwyler F., Käppeli J., Tobin J., 2016. Conservation Finance. From Niche to Mainstream: The Building of an Institutional Asset Class. Credit Suisse, Mc Kinsey Center for Business and Environment | Zurigo, Svizzera.

Parker, C., Cranford, M., Oakes, N., and Leggett, M., 2012. The little biodiversity finance book. Global Canopy Programme.

UNDP United Nations Development Programme, 2016. Financing Solutions for Sustainable Development.

Whelpton, L., Ferri, A., 2017. Private capital for working lands conservation: A market development framework. Conservation Finance Network.

Ministero dell'Ambiente e della tutela del territorio, Roma. Formez, 2002. Project Cycle Management. Manuale per la formazione, Strumenti Formez, Roma.

Teaching methods

Lectures, presentation and discussion of case studies, student project work, analysis of projects financed by donors.

Assessment methods

Written exam. Evaluation of the project work.

Teaching tools

Power point presentations, documents coming from projects financed in the nature conservation sector, calls for proposals, case studies.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Stefano Picchi


Decent work and economic growth Sustainable cities Life on land Partnerships for the goals

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.