CEPF Mediterranean Basin Biodiversity Hotspot


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Civil society protecting nature in the Mediterranean - Flamingos in Tunisia © Hichem Azafzaf / AAO

What is special about the Mediterranean?

Imagine bee-eaters, cave salamanders, geckos, macaques, dragonflies, pelicans for a flavour of the faunal diversity the Mediterranean Basin Biodiversity Hotspot harbours – many found only in the region. With miles of golden beaches, turquoise seas, spectacular mountains and gorges, and the warm summer climate, it is no wonder so many tourists visit the Mediterranean.

Yet rapid economic development, an increasing human population, and 32% of the world’s international tourists are creating unprecedented pressures on its freshwater, marine and terrestrial habitats – compounded by a lack of effective planning and management systems.

But this politically turbulent region is also special because of its cultural diversity - necessitating a local approach to conservation that benefits both people and biodiversity.

The Critical Ecosytem Partnership Fund (CEPF) is tackling the threats to some of the world's most critical ecosystems by investing in civil society, so local people and organisations can continue to protect nature in the future.

CEPF has been active in the Mediterranean Basin since 2012, in the first phase (2012-2017) investing $10.9 million through 106 grants to 93 organisations in 12 countries. From 2017 to 2022, CEPF continues its investment with an additional $8.4 million to award to conservation projects.

Entrusted to be the dedicated Regional Implementation Team (RIT) for the Mediterranean, BirdLife International (and its national Partners LPO/BirdLife France and DOPPS/BirdLife Slovenia and BPSSS/BirdLife Serbia) provide expert officers on the ground, and guide funding to the most important areas and to the smallest of organisations.


Pierre Carret, Grant Director, CEPF, on the first phase of CEPF investment:

"This network is not just 93 civil society organisations supported by CEPF. It is also 93 organisations who work together more and more as a team to preserve the amazing biodiversity of this region. Despite facing a lot of difficulties today and in the future, civil society organisations are finding inspiration in the work of their fellow CEPF partners from other countries in the hotspot."


Together - Best Practices

Local solutions for nature conservation - lessons from the Mediterranean

After more than seven years of conservation in the Mediterranean, we are showing how the region's diverse cultures are committed to protecting its nature. Discover incredible species, motivating stories, complex threats, conservation successes and innovative ideas, as we share local solutions for nature conservation.

We are sharing important learned lessons and best practices from the conservation projects of grantees across the Mediterranean. Click the links below to reveal some innovative project ideas, for inspiration, and for linking up future conservationists with these now-experienced grantees for future collaborative projects.

In the examples (also available as a downloadable brochure below), you will find incredible species, motivating stories, complex threats, conservation successes and innovative ideas. So embrace the cultural and biological diversity, connect, learn, continue to promote local conservation, and read on to discover more...



  • Green fodder

    New tech helps vulnerable villagers whilst protecting natural reserve

  • Out of the cave

    Finding and protecting hidden species: environmental DNA

Together for biodiversity in the Mediterranean

What does nature mean to you?
This video shows the faces and words of people working together to conserve nature throughout the Mediterranean, including in civil society projects funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).

"These words epitomise the love of nature of all the CEPF partners, working in the diverse countries of the Mediterranean Basin, together." Pierre Carret, CEPF Grant Director.

Recorded at the CEPF Mediterranean mid-term meeting in Ulcinj, Montenegro, May 2015.


With over 150 grants funded so far, you can view our projects here

Find out more about how we grant conservation projects


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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 LPO/BirdLife France, DOPPS/BirdLife Slovenia and BPSSS/BirdLife Serbia.