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(From the CEPF Coordination Unit in the Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests of Tanzania and Kenya)
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (Feb. 23,2006)—The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) and four East African organisations today announced the launch of a portfolio of conservation projects in the Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests. These projects aim to significantly improve the conservation of Kenya and Tanzania’s rich natural resources.
During the launch, the Government of Tanzania's Forestry and Beekeeping Division signed an important Memorandum of Understanding with Conservation International, which administers CEPF. The Forestry and Beekeeping Division of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Government of Tanzania are the owners of over 200 forest reserves in the Eastern Arc and Coastal forests of Tanzania. The agreement outlines how CEPF's investment can contribute information and training to support the Forestry and Beekeeping Division's management of these reserves.
"This agreement is an important step towards ensuring that the results of CEPF's investment are properly integrated into management decisions for Tanzania's forests," stated Nike Doggart from the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group.
"Since 2003, CEPF has received over 300 applications from civil society organisations to support projects aiming to improve the conservation of the region’s rich biodiversity and natural resources. Today we are pleased to announce that 64 projects are now under way or have been completed with finance from CEPF. These projects are helping to conserve over 46 priority sites which are home to 311 threatened species and implemented through partnerships involving over 100 institutions," announced John Watkin, the Grant Director for CEPF.
"There has been a terrific response to CEPF’s call for proposals. With the active engagement of non-governmental organisations, community based organisations, research institutions and private enterprises from Tanzania, Kenya and elsewhere, I am confident that we can find long-term, sustainable solutions to ensure the protection of the region’s unique biodiversity and natural resources," stated Jorgen Thomsen, Executive Director of CEPF and Senior Vice President at Conservation International.
CEPF’s investment is guided by a strategy that was developed by 58 experts from institutions in Tanzania, Kenya and around the world. The opportunity to apply for funds was advertised through radio, newspapers and television and through a series of meetings arranged by the CEPF Coordination Unit in Tanzania and Kenya. The Coordination Unit also provided training to over 20 Community Based Organisations to ensure that they would have the capacity to apply. Each application to CEPF has been reviewed by the four members of the CEPF Coordination Unit, external reviewers and by CEPF staff in Washington.
The investment is focused on the Eastern Arc Mountains and the Coastal Forests of Tanzania and Kenya. This region has at least 1500 species of plants and 50 species of reptiles found in these forests and nowhere else on earth. Other wildlife unique to this area include the Sanje mangabey, the Mountain dwarf galago and the golden-rumped elephant shrew. The forests once covered over 23,000 km2. However, only an estimated 5,340 km2 remain. Clearance for agriculture, bush fires, charcoal production and timber harvesting are the main threats to these forests.
In Tanzania, the environmental services generated by the Eastern Arc Mountain forests alone are estimated to be worth over US$ 175 million per year to the nation. As such these forests are a vital resource for poverty reduction and economic growth in Tanzania.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Within Kenya and Tanzania, CEPF’s investment has been guided by a Coordination Unit, which includes: the BirdLife International secretariat in Nairobi (working with its two national Partners Nature Kenya and the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania), the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology, the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group, WWF-East African Regional Programme Office (working with the WWF-Tanzania Programme Office) and a representative from the Conservation and Management of the Eastern Arc Mountain Forests Project of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.
CEPF is still welcoming applications from civil society organisations for projects that aim to increase the ability of local populations to benefit from and contribute to biodiversity conservation. Funds are also available for projects that aim to restore forest connectivity and for small research projects on threatened species. For more information visit www.cepf.net.
The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund aims to dramatically advance conservation of the Earth's biologically richest and most threatened areas in developing countries. A fundamental goal is to ensure that civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation. CEPF is a joint initiative of Conservation International, the Global Environment Facility, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Government of Japan, and the World Bank.
BirdLife International Africa Secretariat is a global network of autonomous NGOs, supported by a large grassroots membership, who choose to work together to conserve biodiversity though shared priorities, programmes and actions. In Tanzania, the BirdLife Partner is the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania and in Kenya, the BirdLife Partner is NatureKenya.
The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology is an advanced research institute, which seeks solutions to arthropod-related issues of the third world countries. As part of its integrated biodiversity conservation approach, ICIPE addresses problems that lead to forest destruction and loss, and at the same time looking at opportunities for commercialization and marketing of biodiversity products.
The Tanzania Forest Conservation Group works to promote the conservation of the high biodiversity forests in Tanzania.
The WWF-Eastern Africa Regional Programme Office works to stop the degradation of the natural environment in Eastern Africa and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.
For more information, please contact:
Kenya - ICIPE: Ian Gordon,
Tel: (+254) 020 861680-4; E-mail:
Tanzania – Tanzania Forest Conservation Group: Nike Doggart, tel. +255 (0)22 2669007; E-mail:
International - CEPF: Bobbie Jo Kelso,
Tel: (1) 202 912-1415, E-mail: