The Fund was created in 2012 by WWF, as part of a project financed by UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) and the European Commission; it is one of the “assets” that helped the area of Mara-Cosău-Rooster’s Peak gain its official recognition as a national ecotourism destination.
The Fund collects fixed annual donations from:
→ tour-operators that organise trips to this area
→ the proceeds from the selling of the Maramureș Heritage Trail souvenir-map
→ individual donations from tourists who want to have a more substantial contribution
The Fund covers the needs of natural protected areas that cannot be covered by their custodians’ budgets, such as maintaining or marking visiting trails or creating new thematic trails; the Fund also covers needs regarding the sustainable development of the area, such as improving tourism services and the local tourism infrastructure, developing key capabilities of the local public administration or improving local development policies to integrate sustainability principles.
The Fund is managed by the Centre for Ecology and Tourism Maramureș – a local NGO that is part of the Local Partnership –, with technical support from WWF on conservation and AER on ecotourism. The principles of transparency and non-discrimination, together with a set of clear procedures ensure a correct management of funds.