The Mediterranean Basin Biodiversity Hotspot

Follow CEPF Med:



Home News | The Hotspot Video | Resources | Grants | The Team 

Where we work

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:

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.

More about the Mediterranean Basin Biodiversity Hotspot




Why we work here: threats to nature in the Mediterranean


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 exploitationpollution of freshwater bodies and the marine environment, and conversion of natural habitats to other land uses.


How we work: a local approach


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. 

The funding is strategically guided by the Ecosystem Profile so that coastal zones, freshwater bodies, Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) and their wildlife are conserved.

This money builds the capacity of grassroots civil society organisations in developing countries and supports finding local conservation solutions.

CEPF in 1, 2, 3 - more than just a funding provider:

  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

What we fund

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.


CEPF's Niche and Investment Strategy and full Strategic Directions and Investment Priorities


Sign up to the CEPF Med quarterly newsletter



*The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) is a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, and the World Bank. Additional small grant funding to the Balkans sub-region has been provided by the MAVA Foundation. 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 and its Partners: LPO (BirdLife France), DOPPS (BirdLife Slovenia) and BPSSS (BirdLife Serbia).
Find out more at