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French Development Agency Joins Partnership to Protect Biodiversity
Arlington, Virginia (11 July 2007) – A global environment fund that transformed how international partners work together to protect the world’s biologically richest and most threatened regions today announced $50 million in new funding.
The French Development Agency (AFD) becomes the sixth partner to commit $25 million to the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF). In addition, Conservation International (CI), a founding partner, agreed to match the AFD commitment dollar-for-dollar, which doubles CI’s total contribution to date to $50 million.
“Millions of people are directly dependent on biodiversity for their livelihoods, so saving it is a condition for their development,” said Jean-Michel Severino, the AFD director general. “In CEPF, we are joining an alliance of donors who pool their resources and expertise to have a greater impact on the preservation of poor countries’ most precious capital – their natural environment.”
The other CEPF partners are the World Bank, the Government of Japan, the Global Environment Facility, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Since its inception in 2000, CEPF has helped protect nearly 10 million hectares – an area larger than Portugal – of Earth’s richest biodiversity while influencing government policies in dozens of countries. With the new funding, CEPF will expand to the Indochina region of Indo-Burma; the remote Pacific island nations of Micronesia, tropical Polynesia, and Fiji in Polynesia-Micronesia; and the Western Ghats region of southern India.
These biodiversity hotspots are among 34 regions identified by CI as containing a high percentage of species found nowhere else and facing extreme risk, with at least 70 percent of their natural vegetation already lost. In Indo-Burma, only 5 percent remains in pristine condition.
CEPF makes funding available through grants for nongovernmental organizations and other civil society groups to help conserve the hotspots. The first step in grantmaking for these new regions will be the selection of regional implementation teams.
CEPF has supported more than 1,000 civil society groups in biodiversity hotspots to date, while contributing to the creation of protected areas in 15 countries that are part of 11 hotspots.
For example, CEPF support enabled 130 small-scale farmers in the Tropical Andes Hotspot to secure Brazil nut concessions from the Peruvian government and thereby safeguard 225,000 hectares of primary tropical forest, as well as their own livelihoods. Additionally, CEPF-identified Key Biodiversity Areas in the Philippines covering 20 percent of the nation’s total land area were declared by presidential order to be "critical habitats," with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources directed to promulgate guidelines for their management and protection.
The new funding is part of an ambitious fund-raising plan for CEPF, with a goal of $150 million to expand its work to 11 more hotspots in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
"Saving the hotspots is an investment well worth it in terms of not only protecting irreplaceable natural places, but also helping local people benefit from those resources," said Jorgen Thomsen, CEPF executive director and senior vice president at CI. “We applaud AFD for joining us and for recognizing how healthy ecosystems and human health and prosperity are so fundamentally linked.”
For more information, contact:
, Tel: 1 (703) 341-2729 (For U.S. news media)
, Tel: 1 (703) 341-2471 (For international media)
Agence Française de Développement:
, Tel: 220.127.116.11.36.64
More information on the CEPF investment strategy for each of the three new regions is available on www.cepf.net.
The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund provides grants for nongovernmental groups and private sector partners to help protect Earth’s biodiversity hotspots. It is a joint initiative of Conservation International, l’Agence Française de Développement, the Global Environment Facility, the government of Japan, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the World Bank. www.cepf.net
About the CEPF Partners:
Conservation International is a leader and catalyst in biodiversity conservation, engaging partners in more than 40 countries on four continents to preserve threatened ecosystems. As one of the founding partners, the organization administers CEPF. www.conservation.org
L’Agence Française de Développement, the French Development Agency, is a financial institution that is at the heart of France’s Development Assistance Policy. It supports a wide range of social and economic projects in more than 60 countries. www.afd.fr
The Global Environment Facility is the largest source of funding for the global environment. It brings 178 member governments together with leading development institutions and others in support of a common global environmental agenda. www.thegef.org
The Government of Japan is one of the world’s largest providers of development assistance for the environment. Japan seeks constructive measures and concrete programs to preserve unique ecosystems that provide people with important benefits and help reduce poverty. www.env.go.jp/en/
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is a private, independent grant-making institution dedicated to helping groups and individuals foster lasting improvement in the human condition. www.macfound.org
The World Bank is the world’s largest source of development assistance. It works in more than 100 developing economies to fight poverty and to help people help themselves and their environment. www.worldbank.org