Ecosystem Profile: Indochina

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) is designed to safeguard the world's biologically richest and threatened regions known as biodiversity hotspots. It is a joint initiative of Conservation International (CI), l'Agence Française de Développement, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Government of Japan, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the World Bank. Conservation International administers the global program through a CEPF Secretariat. The Indo-Burma Hotspot, with its unique assemblages of plant and animal communities and threatened and endemic species, and high levels of threat, is a global priority for conservation.

A fundamental purpose of CEPF is to engage civil society, such as community groups, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), academic institutions and private enterprises, in biodiversity conservation in the hotspots. To guarantee their success, these efforts must complement existing strategies and programs of national governments and multilateral and bilateral donors. CEPF promotes working alliances among diverse groups, combining unique capacities and reducing duplication of efforts for a comprehensive, coordinated approach to conservation. CEPF focuses on biological areas rather than political boundaries and examines conservation threats on a hotspot-level basis. CEPF targets trans-boundary cooperation, in areas of high importance for biodiversity conservation that straddle national borders, or in areas where a regional approach will be more effective than a national approach. CEPF aims to provide civil society with an agile and flexible funding mechanism complementing funding available to government institutions.

The Indo-Burma Hotspot ranks in the top 10 hotspots for irreplaceability and in the top five for threat, with only 5 percent of its natural habitat remaining and holding more people than any other hotspot.

This document represents the ecosystem profile for the Indochina region of the hotspot. The region covers a total land area of 1,496,000 km2, and comprises all non-marine parts of Cambodia, Lao P.D.R., Thailand and Vietnam, as well as those parts of southern China in Biounits 6 and 10 (i.e. Hainan Island and southern parts of Yunnan, Guangxi, and Guangdong provinces) (Figure 1).

Although stakeholders in Myanmar were consulted during the CEPF preparation phase for Indochina, the country is not covered by this ecosystem profile. However, as Myanmar supports some of the most intact natural habitats and species communities remaining in Indochina and represents a major funding gap, the results of the CEPF preparation process in Myanmar have been synthesized by BirdLife International into a separate document that presents investment opportunities in biodiversity conservation by civil society in the country. Investment priorities presented in the Myanmar document are not eligible for CEPF funding at this time, however it is hoped that the document will be used to leverage funding from other sources parallel to CEPF investments elsewhere in the region. In addition, it is hoped that the document will catalyze the preparation of a biodiversity action plan for Myanmar, a commitment under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

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