New funding to boost conservation in the Pacific

9/1/2008

CEPF Calls for Applications from 10 Countries and Territories

Apia, Samoa � Today nature conservation in the Pacific received a major boost with the launch of a new $7 million, five-year investment in the Polynesia-Micronesia Biodiversity Hotspot. This investment by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) aims to conserve the region�s biodiversity by engaging and building the capacity of non-governmental organizations. The investment will be managed through a partnership of CEPF and Conservation International's Pacific Islands Program based in Apia, Samoa.

A first call for letters of inquiries for grants was also issued today for 10 countries and territories in the hotspot � Cook Islands, Easter Island (Chile), Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Tonga and Tokelau � with a deadline of 10 October 2008. Full details of the application criteria and process can be found at www.cepf.net. Other funding opportunities will be announced in due course.

�The current threats to the natural habitats and endemic species are unprecedented in this region,� says Mr. Fran�ois Martel, Executive Director of Conservation International�s Pacific Islands Program. �Through this investment we hope to stem the tide of habitat degradation and loss of native biodiversity.�

The Polynesia-Micronesia Biodiversity Hotspot is one of the most threatened of Earth�s 34 biodiversity hotspots, with only 21 percent of the region�s original vegetation remaining in pristine condition. The Hotspot faces a large number of severe threats including invasive species, alteration or destruction of native habitat and over exploitation of natural resources. The limited land area exacerbates these threats and to date there have been more recorded bird extinctions in this Hotspot than any other.  In the future climate change is likely to become a major threat especially for low lying islands and atolls which could disappear completely.

�Invasive species of plants and animals are the scourge of the Pacific, impacting health and livelihoods of local people and threatening the remaining native habitats and species. By working in partnership with civil society and governments in the region, a great deal can be achieved over the next five years to protect these habitats and improve the standard of living for all,� says John Watkin, CEPF Grant Director.

The fund will focus on three main elements: the prevention, control and eradication of invasive species in key biodiversity areas; strengthening the conservation status and management of a prioritized set of 60 key biodiversity areas and building awareness and participation of local leaders and community members in the implementation of threatened species recovery plans.

Calls for proposals for projects in other countries and territories in the hotspot including French Polynesia, Marshall Islands, Pitcairn Islands and Wallis and Futuna are expected to be issued in the future.

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Media contacts:

Angela Kirkman
Conservation International
Email:
akirkman@conservation.org
Phone:
+61 7 4091 8804 

CEPF is a joint initiative of l�Agence Fran�aise de D�veloppement, Conservation International, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the MacArthur Foundation, and the World Bank. A fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation. CEPF will provide grants enabling non-governmental organizations, community groups, and other private sector entities to help conserve the hotspot. For more information, visit www.cepf.net.

Conservation International (CI) applies innovations in science, economics, policy and community participation to protect the Earth�s richest regions of plant and animal diversity and demonstrate that human societies can live harmoniously with nature. Founded in 1987, CI works in more than 40 countries on four continents to help people find economic alternatives without harming their natural environments. For more information about CI, visit www.conservation.org.  

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