December 14, 2000
CEPF has been designed to build on the World Bank's commitment to biodiversity conservation and sustainable management, primarily implemented through the GEF and channeled to governments. CEPF will complement the efforts of the World Bank and the GEF to conserve biodiversity conservation by providing a streamlined funding mechanism to a broad range of civil society partners, including NGOs, community groups and private sector partners.
CEPF will further the overall goals of the Bank at the country level by offering an opportunity to engage local communities and other stakeholders in biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management. CEPF will also provide an important learning experience through an innovative online grant system at www.cepf.net and by focusing on on-the-ground results and experience. The site is designed to serve as a central node, disseminating lessons learned and facilitating cross-regional information exchange on conservation successes. It will also promote replication of successful projects by providing access to a wide range of resources designed to aid project implementers in the biodiversity hotspots.
CEPF will strive to use lessons from other programs, particularly the GEF's medium grants procedure, to ensure that funds are provided expeditiously and with appropriate, cost-effective levels of accountability. CEPF will also use the GEF national focal points to ensure client country endorsement of the strategic direction of the CEPF. CEPF is intended to complement, rather than duplicate or overlap with, regular GEF activities.
CEPF will support strategic working alliances among community groups, NGOs, government, academia and the private sector, combining unique capacities and eliminating duplication of efforts for a more comprehensive approach to conservation challenges. CEPF is unique among other funding mechanisms in that it focuses specifically on biological areas rather than political boundaries and will look at conservation threats on a corridor-wide basis for maximum return on investment. In the case of West Africa, the majority of previous funding has been country-specific, making CEPF one of the early transboundary mechanisms used in the region. The strategic directions of the CEPF program are based on a priority-setting process that has taken place in the region, and target funding gaps in the larger regional strategy. Building on the collaborative processes already underway in the region will allow cooperation in an area rich in biological value yet straddling several national borders. Clearly, a regional approach will be more effective than a national one. In addition, CEPF has taken steps to assess current levels of funding in the region and aims to disburse funds to civil society in a more agile manner, complementing current funding available to government agencies.
Funds will be used to provide small grants to conservation projects managed by private, NGO, and civil society groups working in the critical ecosystems. Funding from CEPF at the project level will leverage additional financial and in-kind contributions. By funding conservation efforts in production landscapes, such as agricultural areas, CEPF has the potential to build broader-than-usual support for conservation measures, thereby increasing the chances for sustainability.
In summary, CEPF offers an opportunity to promote the conservation of some of the most important ecosystems in the world - places of high biodiversity and great beauty. In addition, the importance of meeting conservation goals is enhanced by the growing recognition of the values provided by healthy, diverse ecosystems in areas such as agriculture, forestry, water supply and fisheries. These issues are critical to the Bank's efforts to alleviate poverty. CEPF will deliver assistance in an agile manner and it will allow the engagement of a wide range of local community groups, civil society organizations, NGOs and private companies in addressing conservation needs.
Background: The Guinean Forest Hotspot
The resulting CPW outputs, including map, report, and CD-ROM with databases (the latter two to be released by early 2001), offer an investment guide to biodiversity conservation in the region, and suggest paths to conservation success in forest and coastal zones of the Upper Guinea region. The CPW was organized and coordinated by Conservation International, with support from the GEF. The results, however, are based on contributions from participants, and will be distributed to, and used by, multiple parties. The outputs have great potential to enrich ongoing national processes, such as National Biodiversity Conservation Strategies and National Environmental Action Plans, as well as evaluations of conservation effectiveness throughout the region. The CEPF ecosystem profile is largely based on recommendations from the CPW.
With the backdrop of a consensus-driven baseline of priorities, the ecosystem profile for the Upper Guinean Forest Ecosystem focuses on a review of known threats to biodiversity conservation and the current level of "investment" that has been mobilized by donors, government agencies and NGOs to combat such threats. The results of this analysis highlight the complementary niche that the CEPF seeks to fill in the Upper Guinean Forest Ecosystem. This niche is supported by an investment strategy that seeks to achieve five main funding outputs:
The purpose of the investment strategy is to facilitate the effective participation by nongovernmental and other private-sector organizations in the conservation of biodiversity in the Upper Guinean Forest Ecosystem.
To be eligible for funding under this ecosystem profile, a project must not only contribute to one or more of the strategic funding outputs, but must also meet the following general criteria:
Biological Importance of the Guinean Forest Hotspot
The Guinean Forest hotspot was originally covered in large part by tropical rainforest formations and extended an estimated 1,265,000 square kilometers. However, it has been dramatically reduced to a series of forest fragments separated by agricultural communities and degraded lands. Overall, the region retains approximately 141,000 square kilometers of closed canopy forest cover, or roughly 15% of its original vegetation, and only a little more than 20,000 square kilometers of the land area is found in national parks, nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries that meet international standards for protection. It is important to note that, compared to the rest of this ecoregion, the Gulf of Guinea islands have higher percentages of their original forest cover intact, due largely to the inaccessibility of steep volcanic slopes that dominate these islands.
In terms of original extent, the Guinean Forest hotspot ranks fifth among the 25 hotspots identified by Conservation International (the top four are the Mediterranean Basin, Indo-Burma, the Brazilian Cerrado and Sundaland). Its ranking rises to fourth on the world list when only the area still intact is measured. In that category, it trails the Brazilian Cerrado, the Tropical Andes, and Mesoamerica. When one considers the land area currently under official protection, however, the Guinean Forests fall to 12th among the hotspots, suggesting that a great deal of work lies ahead to safeguard this region's biodiversity.
The Coastal Connection
Levels of Species Diversity, Endemism and Flagship Species for Conservation
Hotspot rankings aside, another global analysis conducted on centers of plant diversity and endemism has identified 14 centers of plant endemism within the Guinean Forest Hotspot: Taï National Park in Côte d'Ivoire, Southeast Forest Remnants in Côte d'Ivoire, Southeast Ghana, Mount Nimba on the Liberia-Guinea-Côte d'Ivoire border, the Cestos-Senkwen River Area in Liberia, Lofa-Mano in Liberia, Sapo National Park in Liberia, the Gola Forests in Sierra Leone, Loma in Sierra Leone, the Cross River National Park in Nigeria, Korup National Park in Cameroon, Mount Cameroon, Príncipe, and São Tomé. These should be considered in the assessment of focal areas for biodiversity conservation within the hotspot.
Levels of faunal diversity and endemism in the Guinean Forests are also impressive. Mammalian diversity, with 551 species, ranks first among the world's 25 hotspots and represents almost half of the 1,150 mammals that are native to continental Africa. Of the Guinean Forests' 551 mammals, 45 (8%) are endemic, a global ranking of 13th in terms of number and a relatively low percentage. At 4.3 mammal species per square kilometer of intact natural vegetation, the Guinean Forest Hotspot ranks an impressive seventh on the world list. However, as suggested by the figures for endemism, the ratio of endemic mammals to remaining intact natural vegetation is also on the lower end of the global scale at 0.3 per square kilometer.
Based on the Guinean Forest's rank as the world's foremost hotspot for mammalian diversity, combined with the relatively high number of species per unit area of intact natural vegetation and the large area of such vegetation that remains unprotected, it is clear that the single highest global priority for mammal conservation must be an increase in the size and number of protected areas within this region. The forest elephant (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) and bongo (Boocerus euryceros) have emerged as important flagship species for conservation in the Guinean region and beyond, as have Guinean endemics such as the pygmy hippopotamus (Hexaprotodon liberiensis), several species of forest duikers (Cephalophus jentinki, C. maxwelli, C. niger, C. zebra) and a host of highly endangered primate species and subspecies.
The status of the Guinean Forest primates, in fact, ranks it with the Indo-Burma Hotspot among the two highest-priority regions for primate conservation. According to the 2000 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, five primates are critically endangered: the white-collared mangabey (Cercocebus atys lunulatus), Roloway monkey (Cercopithecus diana roloway), Stampfl's putty-nosed guenon (Cercopithecus nictitans stampflii), Miss Waldron's red colobus (Procolobus badius waldroni), and the Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli). Another 21 primates are considered endangered. All but the last two of these threatened primates, or 92%, are endemic to the Guinean Forests Hotspot, and at least one, Miss Waldron's red colobus, has not been sighted in over a quarter of a century and is suspected to be extinct. By far the most important centers for primate diversity, endemism and threat are the island of Bioko, the Nigeria-Cameroon border, and the forests of southwestern Ghana-southeastern Côte d'Ivoire.
Birds also exhibit significant levels of diversity and endemism in the Guinean Forest Hotspot, with 514 species (14th among the hotspots) and 90 (18%) endemics (10th among the hotspots in number and a significant percentage). The figures for bird diversity (4.1 species per square kilometer) and endemism (0.7 endemic species per square kilometer) per unit area of intact vegetation, while not singularly impressive, still help to establish this region among the global priorities for avian conservation. BirdLife International recognizes six Endemic Bird Areas partly or entirely within the Guinean Forest Hotspot: the Upper Guinean Forests, with 15 restricted-range and 11 threatened species; the Cameroon Mountains (which extend into Nigeria and also include the island of Bioko) with 29 restricted-range and 12 threatened species; the Cameroon and Gabon Lowlands with six restricted-range and two threatened species; the island of São Tomé with 21 restricted-range and eight threatened species; the island of Príncipe with 11 restricted-range and two threatened species; and the island Annobón (also Pagalu) with three restricted-range and two threatened species. Clearly, the Upper Guinean Forests, Cameroon Mountains and Gulf of Guinea islands emerge as high global priorities for avian priorities within this region.
Among the birds, important flagship species for tropical forest conservation in the Upper Guinean Forests include the white-breasted guinea fowl (Agelastes meleagrides), white-necked rockfowl (Picathartes gymnocephalus), rufous fishing owl (Scotopelia ussheri), Liberian greenbul (Phyllastrephus leucolepis), Nimba flycatcher (Malaenornis annamarulae) and the Gola malimbe (Malimbus ballmanni). On the island of São Tomé, three endemic and critically endangered species can be added to the list of conservation flagships: the dwarf olive ibis (Bostrychia bocagei), the São Tomé fiscal (Lanius newtonii) and São Tomé grosbeak (Neospiza concolor).
Of the region's terrestrial vertebrates, we know least about reptile and amphibian diversity. Minimum species estimates for each class are 139 and 116, respectively, but these should be regarded as preliminary. Levels of endemism within the known herpetological faunas are relatively high, however, with 46 species of reptile (33%) and 89 species of amphibian (77%) found only with the Guinean Forest Hotspot. While none of these figures place the Guinean Forests among the highest priority hotspots for reptile and amphibian conservation, the fact that we know relatively little about the levels of diversity and endemism for these vertebrate classes in this region establishes more extensive zoological research as a clear priority.
In terms of non-fish vertebrate diversity, West Africa's Guinean forests rank an impressive eighth among the world's hotspots, with 1,320 species, very similar to the level observed in Brazil's Atlantic Forest region. In terms of non-fish vertebrate endemism, the Guinean Forests rank 12th among the hotspots, with 270 endemic species or about 20% endemism. Given the relatively large area of intact natural vegetation, ratios of vertebrate diversity and endemism to area are relatively low compared to other hotspots, but this again points to the need to expand the total area of natural habitat under formal protection in order to safeguard this regions biodiversity.
Levels of Protection for Biodiversity
|Country||Protected Area||Area (km2)|
|Guinea||Massif du Ziama Strict Nature Reserve||1,123|
|Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve||130|
|Sierra Leone||Tiwai Island Game Reserve *||12|
|Outamba-Kilimi National Park||808|
|Gola Forest Nature Reserves *||176|
|Liberia||Sapo National Park *||1,307|
|Côte d'Ivoire||Azagny National Park||190|
|Banco National Park||340|
|Iles Ehotile National Park||105|
|Marahoue National Park *||1,010|
|Mount Peko National Park||340|
|Mount Sangbe National Park||950|
|Tai National Park *||3,500|
|Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve||50|
|Ghana||Bia National Park *||78|
|Digya National Park||3,478|
|Kakum National Park||207|
|Nini-Suhien National Park *||160|
|Kogyae Strict Nature Reserve||386|
|Bomfobiri Wildlife Sanctuary||53|
|Owabi Wildlife Sanctuary||13|
|Nigeria||Cross River National Park *||4,000|
|Cameroon||Korup National Park *||1,259|
|Equatorial Guinea||Pico Basile National Park||350|
|Southern Highlands National Park *||600|
|Côte d'Ivoire:||Ministry of Construction & Environment
Direction de la Protection de la Nature
Protected Area Management Program
Société de Développement des Forêts
|Ghana:||Ministry of Lands and Forestry
Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology
Environmental Protection Agency
Water Resources Commission
|Guinea:||Administration et Coordination des Grands Projets
Direction Nationale de l'Environnement
Direction Nationale des Eaux et Forêts
Direction Nationale des Mines
|Liberia:||Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs
Forestry Development Authority
National Environmental Commission of Liberia
|Sierra Leone:||Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and the Environment
|Togo:||Ministère de l'Environnement
Direction de la Faune et de la Chasse
|Ghana:||University of Ghana - Legon
University of Cape Coast
University of Science and Technology (Kumasi)
|Côte d'Ivoire:||Université de Cocody (Abidjan)
|Guinea:||Université de Conakry|
|Liberia:||University of Liberia|
|Sierra Leone:||University of Sierra Leone (Freetown)|
|Ghana:||Center for African Wetlands (regional), Legon
Center for Development Studies, Cape Coast
Remote Sensing Applications Unit, Legon
|Côte d'Ivoire:||Bureau National d'Etudes Techniques et de Développement
Centre de Recherche en Ecologie, Abidjan
Centre de Recherche Océanologique
Centre Suisse de Recherche Scientifique
|Guinea:||Centre de Recherche Scientifique de Conakry Rogbane
Centre National des Sciences Helieutiques de Boussoura