30 Jul 2015

Conservation investment and support in the Mediterranean reaches important mid-term milestone with CEPF

Grantee voices from the Med: attendees to the CEPF Mid-term assessment in Ulcinj, Montenegro. Photo: Olivier Langrand
Grantee voices from the Med: attendees to the CEPF Mid-term assessment in Ulcinj, Montenegro. Photo: Olivier Langrand
By Shaun Hurrell

“If the mid-term assessment were a symphony, then the regional workshop would be the last movement, the acme of the process”,

said Pierre Carret, Grant Director for the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) at the beginning of the regional workshop in Montenegro, May 2015.

CEPF is half-way through a $10 million, five-year investment in the Mediterranean Basin Biodiversity Hotspot, to best conserve biodiversity in the region. The mid-term assessment gives local civil society the opportunity to have its own say on where and how CEPF investment and support can be best-directed in the Mediterranean.

So far $7.9million has been invested through 89 grants to 69 civil society organisations (CSOs) throughout the region which includes North Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans and Cape Verde.

CEPF is more than just a funding provider; its whole set-up – with a Regional Implementation Team (RIT) – supports the growth of civil society, provides organisations with access to networks, and is constantly evaluating the effectiveness of its investment, so biodiversity can be best-supported in the future.

“To evaluate the programme to-date, a mid-term assessment has been undertaken by our RIT, in which we gathered feedback from over 200 Mediterranean stakeholders”,

Subscribe to Our Newsletter!

said Liz Smith, RIT Manager based at BirdLife International.

“The symphony started at the beginning of the year,” continued Pierre. “The first movement was the series of national meetings, where we received amazing ideas and comments. The second movement was the online survey (over 100 participants) which explored how we can be more efficient, how we can best serve civil society.

“Now, following the last movement, the regional meeting, we are trying to build on and come up with concrete suggestions to make CEPF even more useful, even more impactful at conserving nature in the Mediterranean.”

CEPF entrusted BirdLife International to lead the RIT, which in partnership with the Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux (LPO / BirdLife in France) and DOPPS (BirdLife in Slovenia), supports CSOs in designing, implementing and replicating successful conservation activities.

The mid-term assessment gathered input intended to evaluate CEPF funding, identify new areas of support and understand various challenges. It consisted of 11 national assessments identifying the obstacles faced by CSOs implementing conservation projects. Furthermore, a stakeholder survey compiled information from various stakeholders aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of the CEPF granting mechanism to identify areas of improvement. Finally, a regional meeting was held in Montenegro which verified the assessments to date and discussed future funding priorities.

The results of the assessment process shed light on the need to tailor funding programs to account for the varying level of capacity within the diverse civil society community. Practical ideas and suggestions were shared for CSOs and CEPF to build upon. Feedback highlighted the lack of regional platforms which would cater for the overwhelming willingness of organisations to collaborate and share experiences.

Many organisations expressed their satisfaction with the support received from CEPF which allowed them to make their voices heard and build their core capacity in project implementation.

The national assessment report and the stakeholder survey results can be downloaded from the links below. The CEPF Mediterranean Basin mid-term assessment report will be launched soon.


This exercise has validated the effectiveness of CEPF granting mechanism and highlighted the positive impacts that resulted from the initial years of investment. There have been many lessons learned through this process which will guide the CEPF-RIT and optimize the support provided to current and future grantees.

The CEPF-RIT would like to thank all those involved for their valuable contribution and support! 

“We have embarked on an ambitious adventure with CEPF,” said Olivier Langrand, Executive Director of CEPF. “And we would like to promote a long-term vision. We want to build the resilience of the civil society in which we have been investing.”

“What you are achieving at the hotspot level is important for local communities, for people living in urban areas; it is valuable for the importance of biodiversity globally”, he said.


BirdLife International - including its Middle East office and the BirdLife Partners DOPPS/BirdLife Slovenia and LPO (Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux, BirdLife in France) - is providing the Regional Implementation Team (RIT) for the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) in the Mediterranean Basin Biodiversity Hotspot (CEPF Med).

Find out more at www.birdlife.org/cepf-med.

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, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the World Bank. Additional support in the Mediterranean Basin is provided by the MAVA Foundation. A fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation. More information on CEPF can be found at www.cepf.net.


Subscribe here for our CEPF Med quarterly newsletter