Washington, DC � The World Bank and Conservation International (CI) today signed an agreement for $20 million in new funds, provided by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), to protect some of the world�s most unique and threatened areas, including island ecosystems and temperate forests.
These biodiversity hotspots are home to more than half of all terrestrial plants and animals, as well as more than 1.8 billion people who are highly dependent on healthy lands for their livelihoods and well-being.
"The world's irreplaceable habitats, those which if lost locally will be gone globally, are mostly found in the biodiversity hotspots," said Monique Barbut, CEO and Chairperson of the GEF. "This initiative is aggressively building the local institutions and the capacity of developing countries to manage and benefit from these high priority places."
The funds will be made available as grants for projects undertaken by nongovernmental, community, and private sector organizations through the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), which is administered by CI. In its seven-year history, CEPF funding has enabled the protection of lands equal to an area the size of Portugal.
The new funding brings the total GEF commitment to the CEPF to $45 million. The money is pooled with contributions from CI and other global leaders in the partnership to create a biodiversity fund that unites expertise and resources to safeguard the hotspots. Other partners are the French Development Agency, the Government of Japan, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the World Bank.
"All species and their habitats are important," said Warren Evans, World Bank Director of Environment. "But some areas are more richly endowed than others. These new funds will help us continue to find solutions that allow poor people in these hotspots to have a better way of life while at the same time conserving the biodiversity on which their long-term survival depends."
Biodiversity hotspots where projects will be funded include fragile island ecosystems in the remote Pacific island nations of Micronesia, Polynesia and Fiji, and the diverse landscapes of the Caribbean Islands and Mediterranean Basin. The forests along the east coast of southern Africa, which harbor the highest diversity of tree species of any temperate forest on the planet, also will benefit.
At least 10 hotspots will receive CEPF funding for the first time, and grants also will help consolidate gains made in other hotspots that received previous CEPF investments.
"This new funding represents a significant opportunity to scale up conservation efforts and make a difference where it matters most," said Jorgen Thomsen, CEPF Executive Director and CI Senior Vice President.
The CEPF strategy of enabling nongovernmental partners to participate in, and benefit from, conservation efforts in the hotspots has proven to be highly successful. CEPF support to more than 1,200 civil society groups in Africa, Asia, and Latin America has enabled these partners to help protect more than 24 million acres (10 million hectares) of the most important sites for conservation and to influence policies in dozens of countries.
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Global Environment Facility
The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund provides grants for nongovernmental and private sector partners to help protect Earth�s biodiversity hotspots. CEPF is a joint initiative of l�Agence Fran�aise de D�veloppement, Conservation International, 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:
L�Agence Fran�aise de D�veloppement, 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
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
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