How to deliver conservation where it matters most


Innovative financial mechanism shows how the CBD targets can be implemented on the ground

As world leaders gather at the UN's biodiversity summit to discuss targets to stop the global environmental crisis and resource mobilization to implement them, an innovative funding mechanism has proven to be one of the most effective ways of delivering conservation on the ground, a new report showed today.

The report was released by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) during the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nagoya, Japan, where high level government representatives will be gathered for the next week to come up with a set of targets to halt the current biodiversity loss over the coming decade. CEPF aims to be adopted as a financial mechanism of the CBD to help to mobilize resources to implement the 2020 targets

CEPF is a conservation fund aimed at supporting civil society – meaning small, medium and large nongovernmental organizations and corporations – in biodiversity hotspots, which are some of the world's most biologically rich but threatened places. The fund is a partnership between the World Bank, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), l'Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the Government of Japan, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and Conservation International.

The report looks at the contributions made by CEPF's investments over the past 10 years to delivering the targets established by the CBD in 2002 to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. Scientific reports show that world governments have failed to meet those targets on a global scale, despite progress in some countries.

"The lack of financial resources is one of the biggest challenges faced by conservation, but CEPF has been able to demonstrate that global discussions on the environmental crisis can be transformed into effective action on the ground when donors pool resources in a strong framework," said Andy Rosenberg, head of Conservation International's Science and Knowledge Division, which prepared the report.

In its 10 years of existence, CEPF has invested $124 million across 18 biodiversity hotspots and 51 countries with the aim of mobilizing civil society participation in biodiversity conservation in the places where it matters most. The results delivered by this investment fit the three main principles supported by the CBD:

  • Biodiversity serves as the foundation of human well-being
  • Safeguarding biodiversity is best achieved through well targeted conservation tactics.
  • Building capacity, credibility and confidence of civil society maximizes the potential for long lasting conservation action and effective national implementation of the CBD.

CEPF's investment of $124 million since 2000 represented only 0.5 percent of total biodiversity-related aid to developing countries with great impact on the ground. It benefitted one quarter of the world's Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs), which area sites of global significance for biodiversity conservation, covering an area equivalent to the size of Alaska.

CEPF has also made vital contributions to effectively conserving some of the world's ecological regions by helping to establish and manage 6 percent of all terrestrial areas protected since 2000. Protecting areas is one of the most effective ways of safeguarding important biodiversity and the vital services that intact habitats provide for people, like clean air, abundant flows of fresh water and fisheries.

By focusing on areas where extinction risk is greatest, CEPF also helped to promote the conservation of species diversity, which is another target of the CBD. About 6 percent of species of assessed by the IUCN Red List as critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable have been benefitted by the fund's investments over the past decade

Patricia Zurita, Executive Director of CEPF, said: "CEPF has demonstrated that by financially supporting civil society groups we can make enormous progress halting the biodiversity crisis and achieving the targets defined by the Convention. Civil society has a key role to play and is the right actor to define local solutions for a global problem."

The combination of the right strategic approach, the fast channeling of funds and the provision of technical support to build the capacity of these local actors has been the formula of success for CEPF. While the individual results of the Fund's investments in the last 10 years are impressive, at a global level, there is a great need for increased funding and financial mechanisms to conserve biodiversity and ecosystem services. "We look forward to making CEPF useful to the hundreds of governments meeting here for achieving the new targets that will be agreed upon in Nagoya", added Zurita.


DOWNLOAD: 10 Years of CEPF Investment to Support the Convention on Biological Diversity 2010 Targets (PDF - 3.95 MB)

Media contacts in Nagoya:

Patricia Yakabe Malentaqui
International Media Manager
Conservation International
+1 571 225-8345

Julie Shaw
Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund
+1 571 228-0860

Notes for Editors:

CEPF's donor partners are:

L'Agence Française de Développement, 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. For more information, visit

Conservation International (CI) Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature for the well-being of humanity. With headquarters in Washington, D.C., CI works in more than 40 countries on four continents. For more information, visit

The Global Environment Facility is the world's 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. For more information, visit

The Government of Japan is one of the 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. For more information, visit

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society. For more information, visit

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. For more information, visit