The Mediterranean Basin Biodiversity Hotspot
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The Mediterranean Basin story:
Stretching east from Portugal to Jordan and north from Cape Verde to Italy, covering coastlines and forests, subterranean rivers and mountainous pastures, the Mediterranean Basin Biodiversity Hotspot is identified by CEPF as one of the world's 35 biodiversity hotspots - Earth's most biologically rich, yet threatened, areas. Covering more than 2 million square kilometres, this hotspot is the second largest in the world, and ranked third-richest in terms of plant diversity.
The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) is designed to safeguard the world's biodiversity hotspots, by allocating conservation grants for protecting threatened species and critical sites.
For the Mediterranean, this is in three sub-regions of the hotspot, in the following countries (see interactive map above for more location details):
North Africa & Cape Verde: Algeria, Cape Verde, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia
Middle East: Jordan, Lebanon
Balkans: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and North Macedonia.
Each sub-region has a dedicated Programme Officer as part of the Regional Implementation Team.
Rapid economic development and an increasing human population are creating unprecedented pressures on the natural resources in the Mediterranean Basin.
- 135 million people live in the Mediterranean Basin (7% of the world's population who rely on its natural resources for water, food, electricity and more)
- 220 million tourists a year (32% of the world's international tourism)
This results in huge pressures from both residents and visitors that threaten the Mediterranean's remaining natural habitats.
Lack of effective planning and management systems to control these pressures compound the problem, leading to massive increases in natural resource exploitation, pollution of freshwater bodies and the marine environment, and conversion of natural habitats to other land uses.
Figures in US dollars
How can we best tackle these threats to the Mediterranean? By investing in local civil society.
Nature is local. Impacts are felt locally. CEPF supports a local approach to nature conservation.
Biologists will tell you that biological diversity is important to the resilience of ecosystems. Likewise, cultural diversity is important to the future of the Mediterranean Basin.
Local communities need to be involved with conservation projects from the outset for them to be sustainable and equitable.
Civil society organisations are also ideally-placed for stimulating partnerships between governments and the corporate sector towards the conservation of biodiversity.
CEPF has invested US$10.9 million for making a difference in the Mediterranean since 2011
An additional US$1.2 million in funding provided by the MAVA Foundation.
This money builds the capacity of grassroots civil society organisations in developing countries and supports finding local conservation solutions.
90% of organisations granted are locally based within the Mediterranean Basin
CEPF in 1, 2, 3 - more than just a funding provider:
- First we undertake an "Ecosystem Profile" for the each hotspot, which identifites threats, the socioeconomic context, prioritises conservation action, and identifies a niche where funding is needed most for conservation.
- Then the Regional Implementation Team (RIT, which is BirdLife and Partners in the Mediterranean) puts out Calls for Proposals for conservation projects that are aligned with the decided 'Strategic Directions' in the region, and guides funding to even the smallest of organisations.
- Through its donor network, CEPF supports civil society organisations in the region by awarding conservation grants and as well as delivering measurable conservation results, these organisations form partnerships between NGOs, government, communities and land-owners, and their capacity grows so they can better continue protect nature in the future.
Throughout, the RIT supports the grantees throughout their projects and shares best practices.
CEPF makes grants to civil society organisations for conservation projects through Calls for Proposals.
Keep an eye on this page for all new Calls for Proposals, or sign up to our mailing list (below).
CEPF's five year investment strategy in the region (2017 to 2022) is guided by five Strategic Directions:
1. Support civil society to engage stakeholders in demonstrating integrated approaches for the preservation of biodiversity in coastal areas
2. Support the sustainable management of water catchments through integrated approaches for the conservation of threatened freshwater biodiversity.
3. Promote the maintenance of traditional land use practices necessary for the conservation of Mediterranean biodiversity in priority corridors of high cultural and biodiversity value.
4. Strengthen the engagement of civil society to support the conservation of plants that are critically endangered or have highly restricted ranges.
5. Strengthen the regional conservation community through the sharing of best practices and knowledge among grantees across the hotspot.
Civil society in the Mediterranean Basin is growing, strengthening, increasingly being heard and making change happen.
This is good news for Mediterranean communities of plants, animals and people.
Variety is the spice of life, and the future looks bright and vibrant for biodiversity conservation in the region.
See the following sections for our conservation success stories:
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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, and the World Bank. Additional support in the Mediterranean Basin is provided by the MAVA Foundation. More information on CEPF can be found at www.cepf.net
A fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation.
CEPF is more than just a funding provider
A dedicated Regional Implementation Team (RIT) (expert officers on the ground) guides funding to the most important areas and to even the smallest of organisations, helps build civil society in the region, and shares learned lessons and best practices. In the Mediterranean Basin Biodiversity Hotspot, the RIT is entrusted to BirdLife International, including its Middle East office and the BirdLife Partners DOPPS/BirdLife Slovenia and LPO/BirdLife France.