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Ecosystem Profile: Indochina

CEPF Niche for Investment
The CEPF niche for investment in Indochina has been formulated through an inclusive, participatory process that engaged civil society, donor, and government stakeholders throughout the region. Given the very significant investments already being made in biodiversity conservation by international donors and national governments, the relatively limited additional resources available from CEPF can be used most effectively in support of civil society initiatives that complement and better target these existing investments. To maximize the impact of CEPF funding, actions that are very urgent but require large amounts of funding will be excluded in favor of actions that are cost effective and/or present opportunities to leverage significant additional resources from other sources. At the same time, attention will be given to activities that can contribute to protection of the assets of the rural poor, while addressing biodiversity conservation issues. The basic premise underlying the CEPF niche is that conservation investment should be targeted where it can have the maximum impact on the highest conservation priorities, while supporting the livelihoods of some of the poorest sections of society.

Throughout the region, responsibility for managing natural habitats and species' populations lies primarily with national governments, which, together with international donors, are investing significant resources in biodiversity conservation. However, these investments are not always effective at conserving global biodiversity, and, by implication, supporting the livelihoods of local people who depend upon natural resources, because they are often incorrectly targeted, fail to address the causes of biodiversity loss, or are undermined by incompatible plans and policies of other sectors. For instance, most site-based investment has targeted protected areas, overlooking many key sites for conservation outside of protected area networks where opportunities for successful conservation can be at least as great. Similarly, there has been a heavy emphasis on ICDP approaches, despite the fact that these have had few demonstrable impacts on threats to biodiversity in the region. Given the significant investments already being made, relatively small, highly focused investments to target existing investments better and to develop examples of best practice and alternative approaches will be a more effective use of CEPF funding than a few larger investments that replicate approaches already being widely implemented.

To this end, CEPF will support civil society to mainstream biodiversity into other sectors, thereby addressing some of the major underlying causes of biodiversity loss and leveraging additional resources for conservation. In addition, CEPF will support civil society to develop and disseminate best practice models for controlling overexploitation, one of the major threats to globally threatened species in the region, and for engaging local stakeholders in conservation, thereby presenting alternatives to formal protected area approaches with greater potential to address the livelihood needs of local people. Furthermore, CEPF will support civil society to take action for globally threatened species to attract additional resources for their conservation and ensure that these resources are targeted effectively.

To ensure the greatest incremental contribution to the conservation of the global biodiversity values of Indochina, CEPF investment will be focused within two priority corridors, containing 28 priority sites. These priority corridors and sites all support biodiversity of global importance, including large numbers of globally threatened and endemic species, and are, therefore, globally irreplaceable. The unique biodiversity values of the priority corridors and sites face a range of threats, including incompatible development initiatives and overexploitation, and they are all urgent priorities for conservation action. Nevertheless, the priority corridors and sites all have a high potential for conservation success, and all present excellent opportunities for CEPF investments in conservation actions by civil society to complement or better target other investments by donors and governments.

In addition to site-based and landscape-scale conservation action within the two priority corridors, CEPF investment will also be made available for species-focused conservation action. This is a huge funding gap, and presents a great opportunity for CEPF to make a major impact in one of the most important regions in the world for the conservation of globally threatened species. A total of 67 priority species will be eligible for CEPF funding, as will all globally threatened plant species and selected freshwater taxa. As most of these species have common conservation needs, however, it will not be necessary for CEPF to make separate investments for each one. Rather, in many cases, a single initiative could address the conservation needs of a group of species.

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