The Team

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Grantees, Regional Implementation Team, CEPF Secretariat and stakeholders at the CEPF Mediterranean Mid-term Assessment in Ulcinj, Montenegro, 2015 © Shaun Hurrell

Contact us

General enquiries


Liz Smith, Regional Implementation Team Manager
BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK
Email: Tel: +44 (0)1223 747578


Salwa Elhalawani, Small Grant Manager
BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK
Email: Tel: +44 (0)1223 747531


Regional Programme Team


Programme Officer for the Middle East
Sharif Jbour
BirdLife International – Middle East Division, Amman, Jordan


Programme Officer for the Balkans
Borut Rubinič
DOPPS – BirdLife Slovenia, Ljubljana, Slovenia


Programme Officer for North Africa
Awatef Abiadh
LPO – BirdLife France, Rochefort, France




Small Grant Coordinator for the Bal​kans
Milica Mišković

BPSSS – BirdLife Serbia, Novi Sad, Serbia


Small Grant Assistant for Albania
Granit Gashi
BPSSS – BirdLife Serbia, Kosovo



Communications Manager
Shaun Hurrell

BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK


Communications Officer
Dima Obeidat

BirdLife International – Middle East Division, Amman, Jordan
Email: Tel: +962 790899034





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Any complaints can be made to the CEPF RIT Manager at Other grievances should be made to Richard Grimmett, Director of Conservation at BirdLife International on, who should respond to grievances in writing within 15 working days of receipt. Claims should be filed, included in project monitoring, and a copy of the grievance should be provided to the CEPF Secretariat.

If the claimant is not satisfied with the response, the grievance may be submitted to the CEPF Executive Director at or by mail to: Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, Conservation International, Attn: Executive Director, 2011 Crystal Drive, Suite 500, Arlington, VA 22202, USA. 

CEPF will respond within 15 calendar days of receipt, and claims will be filed and included in project monitoring.

Unique perspectives after the first five years of CEPF conservation projects in the Mediterranean


Awatef Abiadh, Programme Officer for North Africa

Political turmoil in North Africa caused some collateral damage to protected areas and threatened fauna and flora. It also showed us there was a lack of harmony between local people and conservation. But since we started in the hotspot, we have contributed to the 180 degree change of conservation from ‘protect by punishment’ to ‘protect by involving more local people and civil society organisations’.”

Sharif Jbour, Programme Officer for the Middle East

Despite diverse cultural, political and language differences, it turns out everyone faces the same conservation challenges. At last, I feel now the Middle East is part of the Mediterranean. CEPF has brought us together for the first time, and this legacy will bring a long lasting partnership between like-minded organisations to overcome common challenges ahead.”


Borut Rubinič, Programme Officer for the Balkans

"Conservation in the Balkans is often fighting not just for nature, but also a complex fight for human rights and against organised crime and high-level corruption. It is vital to ensure economic alternatives for local communities and ensure their involvement for any activities on the ground to be successful. This is why CEPF is so special.”


Team supervision mission to the Balkans

This video from 2014 follows CEPF and RIT staff as they went to the Balkans on a supervision mission. Over the course of 11 days, 9 different projects and more than 30 grantee organisations were visited.

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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

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) guide funding to the most important areas and to even the smallest of organisations; building civil society capacities, improving conservation outcomes, strengthening networks and sharing best practices. In the Mediterranean Basin Biodiversity Hotspot, the RIT is entrusted to BirdLife International, including its Middle East office and the BirdLife Partners LPO/BirdLife France, DOPPS/BirdLife Slovenia and BPSSS/BirdLife Serbia.