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Research Report


Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment
Copyright Date: Dec. 1, 2013
Pages: 124

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. [i]-[ii])
  2. (pp. [iii]-[iv])
  3. (pp. 1-6)
  4. (pp. 7-17)

    The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) is a joint initiative of l'Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Conservation International (CI), the European Union, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Government of Japan, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank. CEPF provides strategic assistance to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), community groups and other civil society partners to help safeguard Earth's biodiversity hotspots: the biologically richest yet most threatened ecosystems. A fundamental goal of CEPF is to ensure that civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation.

    CEPF commenced its investment in the Western Ghats and Sri Lanka Biodiversity Hotspot...

  5. (pp. 18-29)

    CEPF investment under this strategic direction aims to enable action by diverse communities and partnerships to ensure conservation of key biodiversity areas and enhance connectivity in the corridors. This strategic direction is intended to address and reverse fragmentation and degradation of natural habitats, and thereby enhance ecological connectivity at the landscape scale, which is essential to maintaining critical ecosystem functions and viable wildlife populations. The strategy adopted by CEPF has been to make a limited number of targeted investments in the conservation of protected areas, which form the core sites in landscape-scale conservation corridors, by supporting civil society to establish...

  6. (pp. 30-44)

    CEPF investments under Strategic Direction 2 aim to improve the conservation of globally threatened species through systematic conservation planning and action. As discussed earlier, Investment Priority 2.1 (monitor and assess the conservation status of globally threatened species with an emphasis on lesser-known organisms such as reptiles and fish) was heavily oversubscribed. This level of competition allowed CEPF to maintain a high quality bar for grant making, and progress has been correspondingly good. The main focus of CEPF investments under this investment priority has been the two taxonomic groups identified in the ecosystem profile as being particularly in need of updated...

  7. (pp. 45-48)

    Delivering socioeconomic benefits to local communities is integral to many CEPF projects.

    Across the Western Ghats as a whole, 61 communities have received direct socio-economic benefits, in terms of increased income, food security or other measures of human wellbeing. A greater but unquantified number have received indirect benefits through the conservation and restoration of natural ecosystems that deliver essential provisioning and regulating services.

    Several CEPF grantees have assisted communities to introduce more sustainable natural resource management practices. For instance, Snehakunja Trust has helped villagers install fuel-efficient ovens and NTFP driers, in order to reduce pressures on forest from fuel wood...

  8. (pp. 49-53)

    Very few CEPF grants awarded under the first two funding rounds had an explicit focus on policy advocacy or capacity building of government institutions for policy implementation. As the investment program has progressed, however, an increasing number of grants have made this a focus, drawing on the growing body of knowledge and experience relevant to policy generated by other projects. Indeed, dissemination of results to government, including in local-language formats, was explicitly emphasized under the third and fourth calls for proposals.

    In spite of the growing number of grants with an emphasis on policy improvement and implementation, there have been...

  9. (pp. 54-61)

    The five-year assessment workshops provided an opportunity for CEPF grantees to exchange experience on cross-cutting topics of common interest. Seven topics were discussed in total, with each being discussed by one or more break-out groups, depending upon the interests of the participants at each workshop. Each group was posed three questions: what approaches have been adopted; what has worked, what has not worked and why (i.e. conditions for success), and how can we do things better in future?

    Participants recognized that the dominant conservation paradigm in the Western Ghats is the conventional protected area approach, where management is targeted at...

  10. (pp. 62-65)

    Because biodiversity hotspots are, by definition, the biologically richest and most threatened terrestrial ecoregions on the planet, the scale of the conservation challenge in these places is, on average, greater than elsewhere. Also, in most hotspots, conservation efforts are constrained by limited capacity among conservation organizations, unsupportive operating environments, and unreliable funding. Therefore, conservation in the biodiversity hotspots is a long-term endeavor, requiring the combined efforts of many actors over long periods, to achieve the systematic changes necessary to reverse entrenched processes of biodiversity loss.

    In order to better evaluate and focus its contributions to long-term, collaborative conservation efforts, CEPF...

  11. (pp. 66-67)

    The CEPF investment in the Western Ghats is being made in a region with a long history of biodiversity conservation, led by government and supported by a mature conservation movement. The region benefits from a reasonably extensive and representative protected area network, albeit characterized by top-down models that provide local communities with various benefit-sharing opportunities but seldom a role in governance. The CEPF investment in the region, amounting to less than $1 million per year, is eclipsed by government investment in conservation and major donor-funded programs in the forestry sector. On the other hand, resources available to civil society are...

  12. (pp. 116-119)