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Project highlight videos

Saving the huge Dalmatian Pelicans of Skadar Lake

These huge birds are very vulnerable to human disturbance and seasonal flooding on Skadar Lake, which borders Montenegro and Albania. A team of conservationists is doing everything they can to protect them, involving the local people.

Biosfera: Protecting the desert islands (Cape Verde: Santa Luzia, Raso, Branco)

Cape Verde: a volcanic archipelago, a developing nation. 600km off the coast of West Africa. Santa Luzia, Raso, Branco: one remote desert island and its two rocky islets are a unique remnant piece of Cape Verdean wilderness, now threatened.

They must be protected:

  • Thousands of nesting endemic seabirds
  • Raso Lark (facing extinction)
  • Loggerhead Sea Turtles (Vulnerable)

A passionate and dedicated team is strengthening every day to save these species and restore their remote island homes.

Biosfera, with the support of SPEA (the Portuguese Society for the Protection of Birds; BirdLife Partner), have received conservation grants from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF). This video shows the progress they have made for the conservation of the desert islands and in the building up of their organisation. And of course it shows the beautiful wildlife of the islands...

Japanese-Tunisia exchange to share knowledge of community-based tourism

With support from CEPF, the Association de protection de l’environnement Hammem Ghezaz (APEHG) is working to protect and rehabilitate the Ras el Malan dunes in Tunisia by implementing a circuit ecotourism trail and developing awareness activities for local schools, hotels and relevant stakeholders about the importance of this key biodiversity area.

Grantee Videos


Skadar Lake is a transboundary wetland shared by Montenegro and Albania that hosts a small breeding colony of the endangered Dalmatian Pelican. This colony has struggled for decades due to the floods and human disturbance. A collaborative team of CEPF (Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund) grantees is working to restore the balance.

Skadar Lake also featured on BBC Earth.

Echoes from the Drin - Part I - Whispers of Water

With support from CEPF through our investment in the Mediterranean Basin biodiversity hotspot, MIO-ECSDE is supporting effective non-governmental organization involvement in water resources management and freshwater biodiversity conservation processes within the Drin River Basin, covering portions of Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro. This includes a special focus on the protection, conservation and restoration of freshwater ecosystems, and an emphasis on expanding people's awareness, especially youth, of the intrinsic values of freshwater habitats and species in the region. MIO-ECSDE is also promoting concrete and comprehensive actions to safeguard the biodiversity of the Drin River Basin and its invaluable ecosystem services. Learn more here:


Echoes from the Drin - Part II - Reflections of Life


Echoes from the Drin - Part III | Impressions of Humans


The Act4Drin travelogue 'Living well in harmony with the Drin'

Ulcinj Salina – Montenegro

The Endangered Treasure of Ulcinj - Documentary

These man-made salt works became a bird haven, but now the threatened birds and salt workers share the same destiny. Watch the thought-provoking documentary below, and read the Endangered Treasure of Ulcinj article.

Rescuing an Endangered Loggerhead Turtle

CEPF grantees the Urban Research Institute (URI) and the Albanian Society for the Protection of Birds and Mammals (ASPBM) recently released a loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) that had been captured by fishermen into the Patoku Lagoon in Albania. With support from CEPF through our investment in the Mediterranean Basin biodiversity hotspot, URI and ASPBM are conducting biodiversity and threat assessments for the Patoku Lagoon and Patok-Fushe-Kuqe-Ishmi Nature Managed Reserve in order to prepare an Integrated Water Management Plan for this area of Albania. Loggerhead turtles are just one of many species found within the Patoku Lagoon and both organizations are also working to promote sustainable management of the area for the benefit of biodiversity and local communities.

Explore Albania

Lebanon Biodiversity Hotspot 

Black Gold: Glimpses of the World of Goat Grazing in Lebanon - Documentary

Produced by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL). 
SPNL team members went on field visits to different areas in West Bekaa, Middle Bekaa, Kfar Zebian in Keserwan, to film a short documentary on grazing in Lebanon.
The aim of the film is to show the lifestyle of the shepherds in Lebanon, the conflicts they face, stories they tell, and their productions. This movie will be used as part of SPNL's deliverable in the Mediterranean Consortium of the project "Assessing and supporting cultural conservation practices in the Mediterranean, funded by MAVA Foundation".
Grazing was put forward in the project to be one of the main practices in the Mediterranean basin that has a direct link with nature conservation. Presenting Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, SPNL made an assessment and gathered information on the current status of grazing, related policies, grazing areas, and grazing corridors between the three countries. The video was important to highlight visually what is going on in the grazing practice in Lebanon.

Responsible Hunting

CEPF Videos

Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund's Hotspot Heroes

Celebrating 15 years of success, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund honors 15 conservationists as biodiversity "Hotspot Heroes." Hailing from the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands, the "Hotspot Heroes" have made outstanding and impactful contributions to the conservation of biodiversity hotspots.


Integrated River Basin Management in Albania

With support from CEPF's investment in the Mediterranean Basin biodiversity hotspot, the Urban Research Institute in cooperation with the Albanian Society for the Protection of Birds and Mammals is conducting biodiversity and threat assessments, and reviewing institutional and legal frameworks, for the Patoku Lagoon and Patok-Fushe-Kuqe-Ishmi Nature Managed Reserve in Albania.

The grantees will prepare an Integrated Water Management Plan for the area, and promote best practices for sustainable management of the reserve, including clean-up, ecotourism, improvement of nesting sites for waterbirds, and awareness about the reserve's hunting ban.

Sustainable Economic Activities in Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas - Albania

With CEPF support through its investment in the Mediterranean Basin biodiversity hotspot, the Institute of Nature Conservation in Albania (INCA) is developing a sustainable tourism management plan for the Karaburun-Sazan Marine National Park and surrounding area. 

The goals are to increase the local population and visiting tourists' awareness of the benefits of marine protected areas, to promote sustainable tourism and to identify potential nature-based tourism initiatives.

Civil society videos

Conserving the biodiversity of the Balkans: a long-term strategic vision for Europe’s natural jewel

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) is promoting the concept of long-term visions, for when local civil society within a hotspot “graduates” from CEPF financial and technical support. Unlike an Ecosystem Profile, which outlines our investment priorities for immediate CEPF grant-making over five years, a Long-Term Vision is meant to be a guide for both CEPF and other actors (e.g., host-country government, private sector, donors and NGOs from the economic development community) on how to positively influence conservation in a region. This video showcases the development of a long-term vision for graduating civil society from CEPF support in the Balkans Region (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro) of the Mediterranean Basin biodiversity hotspot.

Together for biodiversity - CEPF Mediterranean

What does nature mean to you? Together for biodiversity in the Mediterranean Basin Biodiversity Hotspot. 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.


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*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).
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