The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation recently committed $12 million in new funds for the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) to help conserve biodiversity hotspots, the most threatened and biologically rich areas on Earth.
The Foundation’s latest commitment expands its support to CEPF to $37 million since the global program’s first year of providing grants in 2001.
It also brings the total new funds raised for consolidation and expansion of the program to $82 million to date.
The MacArthur Foundation, an independent grant-making institution dedicated to helping groups and individuals foster lasting improvement in the human condition, has long embraced the hotspots strategy.
“Our support for CEPF has expanded the reach of our conservation efforts across the globe’s hotspots,” said MacArthur President Jonathan Fanton. “CEPF has successfully identified and supported smaller organizations, which are essential to creating effective local solutions to the challenges of conserving biodiversity and meeting the needs of communities.”
Biodiversity hotspots contain exceptional concentrations of unique species and are home to more than half of all terrestrial plants and animals. Hotspots also are home to more than 1.8 billion people, many of whom depend directly on healthy lands for their livelihoods and well-being.
The new funding will enable CEPF to provide support for partners whose work will consolidate gains already made and expand its innovative approach to other critical areas.
Fundamental to the CEPF strategy is for nongovernmental partners to participate in, as well as benefit from, conservation efforts in the hotspots. CEPF has supported more than 1,250 civil society groups in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
“MacArthur’s support through CEPF has enabled these partners to pioneer approaches and alliances giving a greater voice to civil society and influencing policies in favor of both people and nature in dozens of countries,” said Jorgen Thomsen, CEPF Executive Director and Senior Vice President at Conservation International (CI).
New hotspots where CEPF will support civil society include fragile island ecosystems in the Pacific island nations of Micronesia, Polynesia and Fiji, and the diverse landscapes of the Caribbean Islands and Mediterranean Basin, among others.
In addition to the MacArthur Foundation and CI, the other CEPF donor partners are l’Agence Française de Développement, the Government of Japan, the Global Environment Facility, and the World Bank. CI administers the program.