Caribbean civil society delivered strong results for biodiversity conservation and further funding approved
PORT OF SPAIN - A US$6.9 million fund supported 68 civil society organisations working across eight Caribbean countries to deliver results for increased protection and enhanced management of key biodiversity areas, mainstreamed biodiversity into development processes and enhanced stakeholder involvement and benefits to community livelihoods. A second phase of funding for at least another five years of work has just been approved.
The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) is a global programme which provides grants to civil society to safeguard the world’s biodiversity hotspots. CEPF’s first investment in the Caribbean Islands Biodiversity Hotspot awarded US$6.9 million through 77 small and large grants implemented between October 2010 to July 2016 across Antigua and Barbuda, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and The Bahamas.
In its role as the Regional Implementation Team (RIT) for the CEPF Caribbean Islands programme, the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) provided strategic leadership for implementation of the fund and supported the 68 civil society organisations which received CEPF grants. Anna Cadiz-Hadeed, RIT Manager in CANARI, was enthusiastic about the results and the announcement of further funding, “We are very proud to have had the opportunity to work with such a strong contingent of civil society organisations and partners in government, private sector and the donor community throughout the Caribbean to achieve on the ground, innovative conservation and sustainable development results. CEPF’s decision to reinvest in the region is a testament to the strong performance of the first phase and an incredible opportunity to pick up on the momentum established.”
Results achieved during CEPF’s first phase in the region ranged from innovative work piloting the Caribbean’s first carbon trading scheme for El Zorzal Private Reserve in the Dominican Republic to creating Haiti’s first marine and municipal protected areas to improving local capacity to manage invasive species in Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Dominican Republic and Saint Lucia. Eight (8) key biodiversity areas covering 111,496 hectares in the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and Haiti were brought under legal protection. Twenty-five (25) key biodiversity areas covering 593,967 hectares have improved management as guided by management and operational plans. Nine (9) public-private partnerships were built to engage local and international businesses as partners in conservation and sustainable livelihoods. Six (6) co-management arrangements between government and civil society for management of biodiversity were established or strengthened in the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica. Fifty-eight (58) civil society organisations have strengthened institutional capacity enabling them to conserve biodiversity more effectively.
CEPF is a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the World Bank. In June 2016, the CEPF Donor Council approved a second phase of funding for the Caribbean Islands Biodiversity Hotspot expected for implementation during 2017 – 2022. A regional assessment of new strategic directions and investment priorities will be completed in 2017 and used to determine the budget for the second investment by CEPF.