Ecosystem Profile: Polynesia-Micronesia

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) is designed to safeguard the world's threatened biodiversity hotspots in developing countries. 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.

CEPF supports projects in biodiversity hotspots, the biologically richest and most endangered areas on Earth. Conservation International administers the global program through a CEPF Secretariat.A fundamental purpose of CEPF is to ensure that civil society is engaged in efforts to conserve biodiversity in the hotspots. An additional purpose is to ensure that those efforts complement existing strategies and frameworks established by local, regional, and national governments.

CEPF promotes working alliances among community groups, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), government, academic institutions, and the private sector, combining unique capacities and eliminating duplication of efforts for a comprehensive approach to conservation. CEPF is unique among funding mechanisms in that it focuses on biological areas rather than political boundaries and examines conservation threats on a corridor-wide basis to identify and support a regional, rather than a national, approach to achieving conservation outcomes. Corridors are determined through a process of identifying important species, site and corridor-level conservation outcomes for the hotspot. CEPF targets transboundary cooperation when areas rich in biological value straddle national borders, or in areas where a regional approach will be more effective than a national approach. CEPF provides civil society with an agile and flexible funding mechanism complementing funding currently available to government agencies.

The Polynesia-Micronesia Hotspot, which is one of the smallest hotspots in terms of land area, covering only 47,239 km², stretches from the Mariana and Palau archipelagos in the west to Easter Island (Rapa Nui) in the east, and from the Hawaiian Islands in the north to the Cook Islands, Tonga, and Niue in the south.

It qualifies as a global hotspot by virtue of its high endemicity and extremely high degree of threat. The hotspot was first identified as a global biodiversity hotspot in an analysis of biodiversity hotspots by CI conducted between 1996 and 1998 (CI 1999). The thousands of small, isolated islands that make up the hotspot are some of the most vulnerable in the world and Oceania has one of the highest proportions of Endangered species per unit land area of any region (Dahl 1986) and the largest number of documented species extinctions on the planet since 1600 (Given 1992).

The Ecosystem Profile
The purpose of the ecosystem profile is to provide an overview of biodiversity values, conservation targets or “outcomes,” and causes of biodiversity loss coupled with an assessment of existing and planned conservation activities in the hotspot. This information is then used to identify the niche where CEPF investment can provide the greatest incremental value for conservation.

The ecosystem profile recommends broad strategic funding directions that can be implemented by civil society to contribute to the conservation of biodiversity in the hotspot. Applicants propose specific projects for funding consistent with these broad directions and criteria. The ecosystem profile does not define the specific activities that prospective implementers may propose in the region, but outlines the strategy that will guide those activities. Applicants for CEPF funding are required to prepare detailed proposals that specify the proposed activities and the performance indicators that will be used to monitor project success.

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