Lesson Learned

Ivana Lamas, Manager, Atlantic Forest Coordination Unit

Coordination Units, comprising locally based civil society groups, lead implementation of the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund’s (CEPF) investment strategy in each of the hotspots. They are tasked with ensuring that CEPF funding is delivering the outcomes identified in the CEPF ecosystem profiles.

What was the most important lesson you learned?

The relationship and exchange among projects and organizations are key to the consolidation of biodiversity corridors and to the conservation objectives that we aspire toward.

Describe how you learned this and whether/how you have adapted your approach of specific project elements as a result.

CEPF focuses in two biodiversity corridors in the Atlantic Forest Hotspot: the Central and the Serra do Mar corridors. All CEPF supported projects cover distinct themes and regions, but it is clear they are complementary and support a greater conservation objective. The efforts of individual organizations are clearer now that a network of partners has been established to share information and facilitate exchanges with one another.

Our support has gone beyond helping partners manage their CEPF projects – we’ve become involved in discussing technical issues related to projects, participating at events, and divulging and promoting the work of our partners to other key institutions. To meet this demand, we have invested in promoting the integration of partner organizations and individual projects through different means.

An annual workshop has been held in each corridor and has become one of the strongest aspects of this integration. These events include all CEPF partners and create an opportunity to equally present their work and to strengthen the links between different partner organizations.

The workshops have confirmed the notion that the opportunities for coming together and sharing lessons learned and information are very unique and extremely enriching for participants. Most partners recognize the need for strengthening their own links with other organizations, and use these opportunities to create new partnerships and develop joint projects.

The Coordination Unit has also worked to facilitate exchange visits among project representatives and has created an interactive Web site about corridors to strengthen information sharing among partners.

In addition, the valorization of all projects, large or small, has contributed to the consolidation of networks involving a variety of actors including nongovernmental organizations, researchers, protected areas staff, government partners, private sector representatives, and private land owners.

We believe that these networks and the resulting partnerships that come out of them further serve to increase our chances of success in accomplishing our conservation objectives in the Atlantic Forest.

- August 2006