Message from the Team Leader - July 2017 Newsletter

As we are about to enter year two of the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund’s investment in the Guinean Forests of West Africa (GFWA) Biodiversity hotspot, BirdLife International being the Regional Implementation Team (RIT), welcomes you, our valued partners and supporters to the brand new quarterly newsletter, reflecting our approach to engaging with you.

This first issue of the newsletter is timely and presents the opportunity for us to look back at what we have achieved in the past year. The program started in July 2016 with the contracting of BirdLife International by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) to serve as the RIT, responsible for implementing CEPF’s investment strategy in the GFWA Hotspot; by overseeing the disbursement of US$9million across 11 countries, through a small and large grants mechanism to contribute to efforts in conserving the rich but highly threatened biodiversity of the Hotspot for a period of five years. The main approach of the investment is to provide civil society organizations at grassroots, national and international levels with the tools, capacity and resources to establish and sustain multi-stakeholder partnerships that demonstrate models for sustainable, pro-poor growth and that achieve priority conservation outcomes in the Guinean Forests of West Africa Hotspot.

The Guinean Forests support impressive levels of biodiversity, having high levels of species richness and endemism. Approximately 9,000 species of vascular plant are believed to occur in the hotspot, including 1,800 endemic species. The hotspot also supports an exceptional diversity of other terrestrial species with nearly a quarter of the mammals native to continental Africa and the world’s top species priorities for primate conservation. For future generations to inherit this biodiversity, cooperation, coordination and partnership is needed from all sectors to significantly reduce and reverse their rapid loss in the 11 countries of the hotspot and beyond. The RIT, headquartered at Birdlife International’s West Africa sub-regional office in Accra, is present in various countries through a team of highly motivated professionals posted to different locations in the hotspot. Our teams have been very active and participatory to bring all stakeholders to work together in a sustainable way that benefits people and nature in the region.

During this first year of the project, the RIT successfully brought together stakeholders representing 34 donor organisations, private sector companies, executing agencies and civil society organisations in a meeting in Accra, where they agreed to work together towards preserving the rich biodiversity in the West Africa Hotspot.

We empower stakeholders to identify and analyze the problems they face, and help them to devise and implement locally-relevant solutions that offer real prospects for sustainable impact. In this edition, we present to you our new open call for proposals, and shine a light on the projects we are funding from our first call. We also take you through some of the exciting moments, captured in stories from the last 12 months. Read on!

Tommy Garnett

Team Leader