CEPF - Asia

White-shouldered Ibis has benefited from CEPF funding. Photo: Jonathan C Eames
White-shouldered Ibis has benefited from CEPF funding. Photo: Jonathan C Eames

BirdLife in Indochina is the Regional Implementation Team for the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) in the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot. Grants from the five-year US$9·5 million CEPF investment will enable NGOs, community groups, private sector entities and others selected by BirdLife in Indochina to help conserve biodiversity.

The launch was a historic event for BirdLife in the region, because it marked the transition from a grant recipient to an administrator of conservation funds. The Regional Implementation Team is selected through a competitive process. CEPF concluded that of all the organisations that applied, BirdLife had the most experience in the region, and was the best qualified to tackle this role.

BirdLife in Indochina laid the groundwork when they prepared the conservation and investment strategy for the region on behalf of CEPF. 

Conservation activities targeted for CEPF grants include efforts to safeguard globally threatened species, developing locally-led approaches to site-based conservation, and engaging key stakeholders in reconciling biodiversity conservation and development objectives. 

The work is focusing on two large landscapes—the Northern Highlands Limestone Corridor bordering China and Vietnam, and the Mekong River and Major Tributaries Corridor, which stretches across Cambodia, Lao PDR and Thailand, and includes the best examples of Indochina’s remaining riverine ecosystems. Within these landscapes, 28 Key Biodiversity Areas are particular priorities for CEPF funding.

BirdLife is converting the plans in the ecosystem profile into a cohesive portfolio of grants, and coordinating and connecting the work of different projects and organisations to achieve maximum impact. Drawing on its unrivalled experience in the region, BirdLife has engaged other stakeholders in overseeing CEPF implementation, by establishing national advisory groups and technical review groups.

By 2013, the Regional Implementation Team had awarded more than 110 CEPF grants to international and national NGOs, universities, community groups and other types of civil society organisation. Collectively, the recipients of these grants have strengthened the management of conservation areas covering over 1.5 million hectares; established four new protected areas to fill key gaps in the region’s protected area system; integrated biodiversity-friendly management practices into production landscapes in the fisheries, forestry and agriculture sectors; and delivered tangible livelihood benefits to over 100 rural communities.

CEPF has announced a second phase of funding, which will commit a further $10 million to work in the region, and extend the work beyond the four countries currently targeted  (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos) to China and Myanmar. 

CEPF is a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the World Bank.  More information can be found at