Strategic Framework, FY 2008-2012

I. Introduction

Earth’s biologically richest ecosystems are also the most threatened. Together, these biodiversity hotspots harbor half the diversity of life yet they have already lost 86 percent of their original habitat. The convergence of critical areas for conservation with millions of people who are impoverished and highly dependent on healthy ecosystems for their survival is also more evident in the hotspots than anywhere else.

Conservation International (CI), the Global Environment Facility, and the World Bank launched the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) in 2000 as an urgently needed new approach to enable nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), community groups, and other sectors of civil society to participate in conserving the hotspots. The program’s unique focus on hotspots and civil society attracted the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as a partner in 2001 and the Government of Japan in 2002. L’Agence Française de Développement, the French Development Agency (AFD), also joined the partnership in 2007.

The hotspots approach to the conservation of ecosystems is a highly targeted strategy for tackling the challenge of biodiversity loss at the global level. As many hotspots cross national borders, the approach transcends political boundaries and fosters coordination and joint efforts across large landscapes for the benefit of the global environment.

During its first phase, CEPF had established active grant programs in 15 regions within 14 originally defined hotspots (Annex I). More than 600 civil society groups in 33 countries received grants and many of these groups also awarded funds to others, bringing the total number of groups supported by CEPF to more than 1,000.

Grant recipients ranged from small farming cooperatives and community associations to local and international NGOs. Every grant helped implement region-specific investment strategies developed with diverse stakeholders and approved by a council of high-level representatives from each CEPF donor partner institution.

CEPF investments have enabled hundreds of civil society groups to achieve significant, positive outcomes. Their efforts have influenced major governmental policies in dozens of countries and helped protect nearly 10 million hectares of globally important land since the program’s creation in 2000.

An independent evaluation of the global program identified the following areas where CEPF grants appear to have been particularly effective or to show particular promise:

This 5-year Strategic Framework sets out the vision for FY 2008-2012, for which CEPF aims to secure at least $100 million in new commitments from donor partners. The start of implementation has been made possible by new $25 million commitments from both AFD and CI, which administers the global program. Ultimately, CEPF hopes to secure $150 million to further increase the resources available for implementation.

The independent evaluation concluded overwhelmingly positive and recommended that the CEPF donor partners continue supporting the program and seeking further expansion opportunities. The evaluators found projects at the ecosystem level to be strategic and well selected to form integrated portfolios, with small grants complemented by targeted larger grants and a focus on influencing changes within institutions and governments. The evaluation report also included recommendations for strengthening the program that have been incorporated into this Framework.

CEPF will build on a rich repository of experience and lessons learned during the program’s first years of operation, as well as recommendations from the evaluation that will expand the program’s potential to act as a mechanism for the conservation community as a whole to align conservation investments for greater impact. The overarching goal will be to strengthen the involvement and effectiveness of NGOs and other sectors of civil society in contributing to conservation and management of globally significant biodiversity.

This will be achieved by providing strategic assistance to NGOs, community groups, and other civil society partners, including the private sector, to support:
  1. strengthened protection and management of biodiversity within selected hotspots and critical ecosystems;
  2. increased local and national capacity to integrate biodiversity conservation into development and landscape planning; and
  3. expanded and improved monitoring and learning to demonstrate biodiversity impact and enable adaptive management and replication.

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