CEPF
Protecting Nature's Hotspots for people and prosperity

CEPF Investment Strategy and Program Focus

 
Caribbean Islands

CEPF Investment Strategy and Program Focus

As a first step in focusing CEPF investment in the Caribbean, a prioritization of site outcomes was undertaken. Although all site outcomes are important for global biodiversity conservation, the full number of key biodiversity areas is far too many for CEPF to effectively support. It is hoped that this profile will be used by other donors and organizations to further target their funding and efforts and thus complement and expand the CEPF investment.

In the first instance, two criteria were used to assess the biological priority of each key biodiversity area: irreplaceability and species-based vulnerability. Irreplaceability is determined by the percentage of the global population of a species that is held in a site. Species-based vulnerability is based on the IUCN Red List threat status of a species. A focus on irreplaceability allows prioritization of sites that hold species likely to become extinct if those sites are lost. A focus on species-based vulnerability enables support for those species at greatest risk of extinction. The scores from these two criteria were then combined to create an overall ranking of priority for these key biodiversity areas, as detailed in Appendix 5.

Within each resulting priority level, key biodiversity areas with more globally threatened species are prioritized over those with fewer globally threatened species. Prioritization of the hotspot's key biodiversity areas resulted in 46 "Priority 1" sites (the highest priority), 118 Priority 2 sites, 59 Priority 3 sites and 39 Priority 4 sites. The key biodiversity areas defined for Cuba were not included in the prioritization as the data includes only IBAs and thus birds at this time.

This analysis was further refined by examination of additional factors such as availability of funding, level of threat and level of management. Some sites represent well-funded or well-managed protected areas, while others are not imminently threatened. In order to identify, as objectively as possible, the highest-priority key biodiversity area for CEPF investment, an additional two-tier process was undertaken. Firstly, at the national workshops in Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica (which account for 50 percent of the eligible Priority 1 and 35 percent of the Priority 2 key biodiversity areas), participants selected key biodiversity areas from among these classifications as investment priorities based on collective knowledge of conservation need, conditions for successful conservation action and multiplier effects (from adjacent sites or from previous actions). For the highest-priority key biodiversity areas, these variables were then scored (on a scale from 1-4) along with other important thematic issues such as ecosystem services provision and climate change adaptation opportunities. A table of these thematic scores for the highest-priority key biodiversity areas is presented in Appendix 4. For the key biodiversity areas in the remaining countries, the priorities for investment were selected based on their biological priority score, consultation with national experts and analysis of relevant published literature.

As a result of this multi-stage prioritization process, 45 key biodiversity areas have been selected for CEPF investment, with 17 of these sites identified as being the highest priority. All 45 sites are listed in tables 14 and 15 (with details in Appendix 5) along with their protection status (although it must be noted that formal designation does not imply actual protection or management). See Appendices 6 and 7 for details and justification for the 17 highest-priority site outcomes.

Fourteen of the key biodiversity areas contain some of the Caribbean’s most important coastal and near-shore habitat. For example, more than 100 crawls per year have been registered for globally threatened sea turtles along the beaches of the Scotland District in the Barbados and the Offshore Islands of Antigua and Barbuda, making these beaches among the highest priorities for sea turtle conservation in the hotspot. The Parque Nacional Jaragua in the Dominican Republic is one of the Caribbean’s largest protected areas and contains extensive and exceptional coastal and marine habitat. The Portland Sound and Bight Key Biodiversity Area in southern Jamaica provides essential disaster mitigation services, such as protection from storm surges, and is also economically important for its fisheries. As noted earlier, CEPF investment may include consideration of the marine environment as it relates to the conservation of these key biodiversity areas, and therefore interventions may take place in the coastal, near-shore and marine habitats within the 12-nautical-mile territorial sea measured seaward from the actual key biodiversity area.

Table 14. Highest-Priority Key Biodiversity Areas for CEPF Investment in the Caribbean

Key Biodiversity Area

Country

Status

Area (km2)

Current Funding

Bahoruco Oriental Dominican Republic Wildlife Refuge 61   
Jaragua National Park Dominican Republic National Park 1,694 GEF/UNEP funds for mitigating the threat of invasive species; MacArthur funds for the Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo Biosphere Reserve; MacArthur funds for plant conservation and sustainable management in Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo Biosphere Reserve; Aage V. Jensen Foundation funds for saving the treasures of the Caribbean
Loma La Humeadora Dominican Republic National Park 315   
Sierra de Bahoruco Dominican Republic National Park / Unprotected 1,152 Darwin Initiative funds for conservation of endemic mammals; MacArthur funds for the Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo Biosphere Reserve; MacArthur funds for plant conservation and sustainable management in Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo Biosphere Reserve; Aage V. Jensen Foundation funds for saving the treasures of the Caribbean
Valle Nuevo Dominican Republic National Park 933   
Citadelle Haiti National Park 14   
Massif de la Hotte Haiti National Park / Unprotected 1,287 Darwin Initiative funds for conservation of endemic mammals; USFWS funds for saving critical sites for neotropical migratory birds; Aage V. Jensen Foundation funds for saving the treasures of the Caribbean
Massif de la Selle Haiti National Park / Unprotected 1,669   
Morne Bailly Haiti Unprotected 21   
Plaisance Haiti Unprotected 93   
Catadupa Jamaica Forest Reserve / Unprotected 158   
Cockpit Country Jamaica Forest Reserve / Unprotected 749 MacArthur Foundation funds for: a plant conservation strategy; biodiversity conservation; strengthening community involvement in conservation; Aage V. Jensen Foundation funds for saving the treasures of the Caribbean
Dolphin Head Jamaica Forest Reserve / Unprotected 168   
Hellshire Hills Jamaica Protected Area 147   
Litchfield Mountain-Matheson's Run Jamaica Forest Reserve / Unprotected 158   
Peckham Woods Jamaica Unprotected 75   
Portland Ridge and Bight Jamaica Protected Area 430   


Table 15. Other Priority Key Biodiversity Areas for CEPF Investment in the Caribbean

Key Biodiversity Area

Country

Status

Area (km2)

Current Funding

Offshore Islands Antigua and Barbuda Reserve / Unprotected 100   
Booby Cay Bahamas Unprotected 24   
Graham's Harbour Bahamas Unprotected 43   
Southern Great Lake Bahamas Unprotected 4   
Scotland District Barbados Unprotected 71   
Armando Bermudez National Park Dominican Republic National Park 810   
Ebano Verde Scientific Reserve Dominican Republic Scientific Reserve 357   
Enriquillo Lake Dominican Republic National Park 497 MacArthur funds for the Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo Biosphere Reserve; MacArthur funds for plant conservation and sustainable management in Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo Biosphere Reserve; Aage V. Jensen Foundation funds for saving the treasures of the Caribbean
Haitises Dominican Republic National Park 626   
Loma Guaconejo Dominican Republic Scientific Reserve 24 USFWS funds for protection of biodiversity and the habitat of Bicknell’s Thrush
Loma Quita Espuela Dominican Republic Scientific Reserve 95   
Nalga de Maco-Río Limpio Dominican Republic National Park / Unprotected 184   
PN Jose del Carmen Ramirez Dominican Republic National Park 764   
Beausejour/Grenville Vale Grenada Unprotected 1   
Mount Hartman Grenada National Park / Unprotected 1   
Black River Great Morass Jamaica Ramsar / Unprotected 178 MacArthur Foundation funds for biodiversity conservation
Bluefields Jamaica Unprotected 47   
Brazilleto Mountains Jamaica Protected Area 71   
Mandele Dry Forest St. Lucia Unprotected 9   
North-east Coast St. Lucia Unprotected 49   
Pointe Sable St. Lucia National Park 35 GEF/UNEP funds for mitigating the threat of invasive species; GEF/WB funds for implementation of pilot adaptation measures
Colonarie Forest Reserve St. Vincent Unprotected 18   
Cumberland Forest Reserve St. Vincent Forest Reserve 11   
Dalaway Forest Reserve St. Vincent Parrot Reserve / Unprotected 6   
Kingstown Forest Reserve St. Vincent Unprotected 9   
La Soufrière National Park St. Vincent Unprotected 56   
Mount Pleasant Forest Reserve St. Vincent Unprotected 13   
Richmond Forest Reserve St. Vincent Unprotected 34   

Conservation Corridors

Seven conservation corridors were identified for the Caribbean Islands Hotspot based on groupings of key biodiversity areas because of their importance for maintaining ecosystem resilience, ecosystem services values, and the health and richness of the hotspot’s biological diversity. Of these corridors, six have been prioritized for CEPF investment as these harbor priority key biodiversity areas, and are where civil society can have the greatest impact in maintaining and increasing ecosystem health and resilience, and functionality (Table 16). While there are threats to the seventh corridor, it is comparatively well managed and serviced by NGO and government agencies.

For the six corridors identified as priorities for CEPF investment, connectivity and sustainable management of these areas are key investment goals. The six corridors embrace 29 of the key biodiversity areas identified above. These are located in four countries: Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and St Vincent and the Grenadines. The three corridors in Haiti and the Dominican Republic fall firmly within the broader geographic definition of the Caribbean Biological Corridor, presenting important opportunities to further complement and strengthen this regional initiative.

Table 16. Summary of Conservation Corridors for CEPF Investment in the Caribbean Islands Hotspot
No

Conservation Corridor

Key Biodiversity Areas

Countries

Land Area (km2)

1 Cockpit Country-North Coast Forest-Black River Great Morass North Coast Forest; Cockpit Country; Catadupa; Litchfield Mountain-Matheson's Run; Black River Great Morass Jamaica 2,458
2 Portland Bight Protected Area Hellshire Hills; Portland Ridge and Bight; Brazilleto Mountains; Milk River Jamaica 2,622
3 Massif du Nord Plaisance; Morne Bailly; Citadelle Haiti 1,078
4 Massif de la Selle – Jaragua–Bahoruco–Enriquillo binational corridor Massif de la Selle (Haiti); Lago Enriquillo (Dominican Republic); Sierra de Bahoruco (Dominican Republic); Parque Nacional Jaragua (Dominican Republic) Haiti; Dominican Republic 9,324
5 Cordillera Central Parque Nacional Armando Bermúdez; Loma Nalga de Maco y Río Limpio; Parque Nacional José del Carmen Ramírez; Loma La Humeadora; Valle Nuevo; Reserva Científica Ébano Verde Dominican Republic 6,517
6 Central Mountain Range Colonarie Forest Reserve; Cumberland Forest Reserve; Dalaway Forest Reserve; Kingstown Forest Reserve; La Soufrière National Park; Mount Pleasant Forest Reserve; Richmond Forest Reserve St. Vincent and the Grenadines 132


As shown in Table 15, 18 key biodiversity areas not encompassed by the corridors were also selected for investment. These sites do not lend themselves to corridor-level conservation because of their location, either on smaller islands or their isolation on the larger islands. Nonetheless, based on their biological importance, threat, ecosystem services value and the impact that civil society could have, these sites are regarded as high priorities for CEPF support.

Figures 15-23. Maps of Key Biodiversity Areas and Corridors for CEPF Investment in the Caribbean Islands Hotspot

Note: The maps include a coastal extension for all key biodiversity areas and corridors with a coast, in recognition of how many of the sites are coastal and dependent on the health and resilience of the adjacent marine environment. As previously explained, CEPF will adopt the 12-nautical-mile territorial sea definition established by the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea as the outermost limit for CEPF attention and investment. This means that conservation actions pertaining to a coastal key biodiversity area can include, as necessary, the belt of ocean measured seaward from the coastal nation and subject to its sovereignty.

Dominican Republic: Key Biodiversity Areas and Corridors for CEPF Investment

Dominican Republic: Key Biodiversity Areas and Corridors for CEPF Investment

Haiti: Key Biodiversity Areas and Corridors for CEPF Investment

Haiti: Key Biodiversity Areas and Corridors for CEPF Investment

Jamaica: Key Biodiversity Areas and Corridors for CEPF Investment

Jamaica: Key Biodiversity Areas and Corridors for CEPF Investment

St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Key Biodiversity Areas and Corridors for CEPF Investment

St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Key Biodiversity Areas and Corridors for CEPF Investment

Antigua and Barbuda: Key Biodiversity Areas for CEPF Investment

Antigua and Barbuda: Key Biodiversity Areas for CEPF Investment

Bahamas: Key Biodiversity Areas for CEPF Investment

Bahamas: Key Biodiversity Areas for CEPF Investment

Barbados: Key Biodiversity Areas for CEPF Investment

Barbados: Key Biodiversity Areas for CEPF Investment

Grenada: Key Biodiversity Areas for CEPF Investment

Grenada: Key Biodiversity Areas for CEPF Investment

St. Lucia: Key Biodiversity Areas for CEPF Investment

St. Lucia: Key Biodiversity Areas for CEPF Investment

Strategic Directions and Investment Priorities

The CEPF investment strategy comprises four strategic directions and associated investment priorities based on stakeholder consultations and the analysis of conservation outcomes, threats, current investments and other information detailed in this profile. The strategic directions and investment priorities are summarized in Table 17 and described in more detail in the text below.

In addition in the wake of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the CEPF Donor Council has approved extra funds for emergency support to Haitian civil society. This support has been incorporated as a fifth strategic direction entitled Provide emergency support to Haitian civil society to mitigate the impacts of the 2010 earthquake. See Additional CEPF Resources for the Caribbean Islands Biodiversity Hotspot for Post-earthquake Environmental Support to Haiti for further information, www.cepf.net/Documents/Final_Caribbean_EP.pdf (PDF - 53 KB).

Table 17. CEPF Strategic Directions and Investment Priorities for the Caribbean Islands Hotspot

Strategic Directions

Investment Priorities

1. Improve protection and management of 45 priority key biodiversity areas 1.1 Prepare and implement management plans in the 17 highest-priority key biodiversity areas
1.2 Strengthen the legal protection status in the remaining 28 key biodiversity areas
1.3 Improve management of invasive species in the 45 priority key biodiversity areas
1.4 Support the establishment or strengthening of sustainable financing mechanisms
2. Integrate biodiversity conservation into landscape and development planning and implementation in six conservation corridors 2.1 Mainstream biodiversity conservation and ecosystem service values into development policies, projects and plans, with a focus on addressing major threats such as unsustainable tourism development, mining, agriculture and climate change
2.2 Strengthen public and private protected areas systems through improving or introducing innovative legal instruments for conservation
2.3 Prepare and support participatory local and corridor-scale land-use plans to guide future development and conservation efforts
2.4 Promote nature-based tourism and sustainable agriculture and fisheries to enhance connectivity and ecosystem resilience and promote sustainable livelihoods
3. Support Caribbean civil society to achieve biodiversity conservation by building local and regional institutional capacity and by fostering stakeholder collaboration 3.1 Support efforts to build and strengthen the institutional capacity of civil society organizations to undertake conservation initiatives and actions
3.2 Enable local and regional networking, learning and best-practice sharing approaches to strengthen stakeholder involvement in biodiversity conservation
4. Provide strategic leadership and effective coordination of CEPF investment through a regional implementation team 4.1 Build a broad constituency of civil society groups working across institutional and political boundaries toward achieving the shared conservation goals described in the ecosystem profile

Strategic Direction 1. Improve protection and management of 45 key biodiversity areas
CEPF has selected 45 key biodiversity areas in the Caribbean for direct, on-site conservation support. If these sites can be secured, a significant share of the hotspot’s biological diversity and ecosystem services will be conserved. Seventeen of these key biodiversity areas have exceptional biological value. They cover 911,000 hectares and some top global priority lists for conservation. However, their on-site management presence is woefully inadequate or completely absent, making them highly vulnerable to further degradation. Furthermore, 28 of the 45 key biodiversity areas lack sufficient legal protection to ensure their viability. Investments may include interventions in the coastal, near-shore and marine habitats within the 12-nautical-mile territorial sea measured seaward from the actual key biodiversity area, if they relate to the conservation of the area. Strategic Direction 1 aims to strengthen key biodiversity area-level management capacity and the legal underpinning for conservation through four investment priorities:

1.1 Prepare and implement management plans in the 17 highest-priority key biodiversity areas
Seventeen of the key biodiversity areas designated as highest priority for conservation require significant management improvements. While some of these key biodiversity areas will receive funding from other donors, their management needs will continue to significantly outweigh these investments. Taken together, these 17 key biodiversity areas are home to a significant share of the Caribbean’s biodiversity and ecosystem services. Under this investment priority, CEPF will support the design and implementation of management plans in those 17 key biodiversity areas that lack such plans. In key biodiversity areas where management plans already exist or have been prepared under this investment priority, CEPF will support the implementation of high-priority actions that are considered essential to maintain the long-term viability (especially in light of climate change considerations) of the site. Ensuring the long-term institutional and social sustainability of CEPF investments will be a major objective. The development and implementation of management plans will need to take into account a number of aspects accounted for in other parts of this strategy, including multi-stakeholder partnerships, sustainable livelihoods, territorial planning, invasive species control and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

1.2 Strengthen the legal protection status in the remaining 28 priority key biodiversity areas
The 28 of the 45 priority key biodiversity areas that are not covered in investment priority 1.1 require CEPF support in two distinct ways. First, more than half of these lack any legal protection or are under-protected. While it is possible that some key biodiversity areas can be designated as traditional public protected areas, it unlikely that all can receive such designation. In response, CEPF will assist in laying the groundwork for the adoption of more flexible approaches to conservation, such as new private protected areas, municipal reserves and co-management arrangements. Opportunities for strengthening the formal protection of key biodiversity areas will be pursued through dialogue, technical assistance assessments, land-use and management planning, and stakeholder consultations.

1.3 Improve management of invasive species in the 45 priority key biodiversity areas
Invasive alien species have been identified as among the most urgent threats to many of the 45 priority key biodiversity areas. The control and eradication of these invasive alien species, including the chytrid fungus, require a well-planned and coordinated response. CEPF will support the preparation of coordinated action to confront threats from invasive alien species and the chytrid fungus in the most affected priority key biodiversity areas, and will stimulate partnerships for implementation. Collaboration and information sharing among NGOs, scientists and government institutions will be essential through formal and informal networks.

1.4 Support the establishment and strengthening of sustainable financing mechanisms
Financing is insufficient to support effective management of the priority key biodiversity areas in the long term. Many of the GEF- and other donor-funded protected area projects in the region have been focusing on trying to improve the financial sustainability of national protected area networks through the creation of protected area trust funds, debt-for-nature swaps and other approaches, but financing continues to be a challenge especially for the smaller or less visited protected areas that may need new, innovative local solutions involving greater community and business sector arrangements to ensure sustainability. This presents an important opportunity for CEPF to support nongovernmental organizations and private sector approaches to secure sustainable financing, such as through resource user fees, trust funds or payments for ecosystem services. Given this need, CEPF will support the establishment and strengthening of sustainable financing mechanisms in the region through technical assistance, assessments and stakeholder outreach. CEPF will facilitate the identification of partnerships for these mechanisms and their design, but will not provide funding specifically to capitalize endowment funds or payments for environmental services. Collaboration will be sought with the financing projects of GEF and other donors. Several potential opportunities exist for promoting market-based incentives, such as through the use of watershed services located in the key biodiversity areas, voluntary markets for carbon offset and potential funds for climate adaptation, as well as for supporting replication of successful approaches in the hotspot, such as tourism levies to fund conservation programs.

Strategic Direction 2. Integrate biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services into landscape and development planning and implementation in six conservation corridors
The six conservation corridors supported under Strategic Direction 2 encompass key biodiversity areas groupings identified as the highest priority for ensuring the longevity of the hotspot’s biodiversity and for maintaining ecosystem services and resilience. CEPF’s objectives are to maintain and increase connectivity, ensure sustainable management of the landscape, and increase the area of actual or potential natural habitat under protection where appropriate. Maintaining ecosystem functionality and resilience takes on particular significance in light of climate change. Ensuring that the enabling conditions exist to achieve these objectives provides the foundation for the four investment priorities under this strategic direction.

2.1 Mainstream biodiversity conservation and ecosystem service values into development policies, projects and plans, with a focus on addressing major threats such as unsustainable tourism development, mining, agriculture and climate change
CEPF will support civil society organizations to mainstream biodiversity conservation and ecosystem service values into regional and national policies and programs and private sector plans to promote a development path that is compatible with conservation. Grants will promote favorable policy frameworks where civil society can make the most difference and where the needs are the greatest in tourism, mining, agricultural development and climate change. Where necessary to ensure a strong analytical basis to achieve this investment priority, CEPF will fund assessments and consultations to identify priorities and opportunities for action, followed by support to develop and implement strategies to strengthen select policies, projects and plans. Grants will build awareness among decision makers of the substantial and cost-effective benefits that biodiversity conservation and provision of vital ecosystems offer for economic development, human well-being, and climate change mitigation and adaption. Targeted economic analysis will demonstrate the costs and benefits derived from the provision of ecosystem services and the development of ecosystem service markets. The results of these and other relevant initiatives will be used by civil society to inform policy and program development.

With regard to climate change, CEPF will seek to integrate biodiversity conservation and ecosystem service values as essential pillars in national and regional climate change policies and programs. CEPF will also support innovative, small-scale climate change demonstration projects in or near a priority key biodiversity areas that illustrate the benefits of biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services for adaption and mitigation.

2.2 Strengthen public and private protected areas systems through improving or introducing innovative legal instruments for conservation
The profile finds that 28 of the 45 priority key biodiversity areas selected for CEPF funding lack any legal protection or are significantly under-protected, and that the declaration of traditional public protected areas may not be a viable option for all of these key biodiversity areas. While private protected areas, co-management and other new approaches to conserving these areas may be promising, the legal frameworks and local capacity to institute such approaches are insufficient. CEPF will enable civil society to help strengthen protected areas policies and systems using a broad and flexible range of tools. Such efforts will include policy analysis to identify gaps and options, and development and adoption of recommendations to strengthen protected areas networks through innovative legal instruments.

2.3 Prepare and support participatory local and corridor-scale land-use plans to guide future development and conservation efforts
Caribbean partners identify poor land-use planning and inappropriate agricultural and tourism development as major contributors to environmental degradation. Fortunately, opportunities to promote sustainable development in the corridors exist. For instance, Jamaica has started to prepare land-use plans at the district level, although local civil society participation is reported to be weak. Similar efforts in Haiti are considered a high priority by local stakeholders for the corridors. The need to integrate measures to respond to climate change is also essential. To respond to these opportunities and needs, CEPF will support the planning and adoption of local and corridor-level land-use plans to create consensus by stakeholders on a long-term vision for the development and conservation of their corridors and key biodiversity areas.

2.4 Promote nature-based tourism and sustainable agriculture and fisheries to enhance connectivity and ecosystem resilience and support sustainable livelihoods
CEPF has the opportunity to support innovative efforts to involve the private sector and local communities in conservation that demonstrate links between conservation and sound development. While several efforts have been undertaken to promote ecotourism and sustainable agriculture and fisheries, insufficient attention has been paid to scaling these initiatives up to the extent required to play a meaningful role in threats amelioration. Grants will support conservation-based enterprises that show promise of generating environmentally sustainable sources of income for communities that otherwise could be agents of environmental degradation, focusing on nature-based tourism, conservation coffee and cacao, and sustainable fisheries. Projects will demonstrate direct and tangible benefits for biodiversity and communities. Grants may also fund the identification and sharing of best practices and promotion of greater collaboration in vital areas such as marketing.

Strategic Direction 3. Support Caribbean civil society to achieve biodiversity conservation by building local and regional institutional capacity and by fostering stakeholder collaboration
Caribbean partners have identified limited civil society capacity and collaboration as significant obstacles to achievement of conservation in the Caribbean Islands Hotspot. Many of the Caribbean’s environmental and community groups are still often working in relative isolation from each other, with weak networks due to competition between groups for limited funding, and a project-centered approach to much of their work. In the smaller islands, organizations are unable to support staff and memberships large enough to maintain expertise in needed disciplines. In spite of past investment in NGO capacity building in the Caribbean there are still significant capacity gaps suggesting that new approaches are needed. This strategic direction proposes to strengthen the foundation upon which Caribbean NGOs are based, and to support innovation that will lead to a sustainable and self-reliant environmental civil society that is engaged in conservation on a variety of levels.

3.1 Support efforts to build and strengthen the institutional capacity of civil society organizations to undertake conservation initiatives and actions
Caribbean civil society organizations have an important role to play in planning, promoting and implementing biodiversity conservation throughout the region, on almost every level. While a number of organizations are actively engaged in conservation initiatives, the full potential of Caribbean civil society is far from being realized. Many of the region’s conservation groups are small and under-capacitated, and some are quite isolated, especially in the smaller islands of the Lesser Antilles and in Haiti. Limited administrative, managerial, financial and technical capacity is a challenge faced by numerous organizations. Many have a small number of staff, and insufficient funds to employ the suite of positions needed to maintain a fully functional organization. In this context, the sustainability of such organizations is in doubt, and the sustainability of their actions is similarly tenuous. CEPF will support efforts aimed at strengthening the institutional capacity of those Caribbean conservation organizations that have an important role to play in achieving CEPF’s strategic directions, by providing funds for comprehensive institutional capacity-building packages that aim to build institutional and technical capacity required to undertake biodiversity conservation. CEPF funds will not simply be directed toward selected staff and their capacity needs, but rather will be geared toward a holistic institution-wide approach to institutional strengthening that will lead to self-reliance and sustainability, and that in turn will assist in achievement and sustainability of the other investment priorities in this strategy.

3.2 Enable local and regional networking, learning and best-practice sharing approaches to strengthen stakeholder involvement in biodiversity conservation
By nature of its geography, many of the Caribbean island states are small and isolated. These islands often have small populations and consequently NGOs often have difficulty finding staff with the requisite skill and experience to conduct conservation activities at the appropriate professional level. Furthermore, civil society conservation efforts have lacked strong collaborative and regional approaches, which have diminished their long-term effectiveness and are imperative given the small and under-capacitated islands in this hotspot. This investment priority will contribute to collaboration and coordination of conservation within the hotspot, and engender a true networking spirit among participating organizations. CEPF investments will focus on new approaches (e.g. informal and formal networks and alliances, and collaborative action and learning) to build capacity and cooperation in strategic areas of hotspot importance, including tourism and mining development, invasive species, climate change, site-based conservation, and policy and legislation. CEPF funds will support projects that stimulate learning and catalyze conservation action by civil society actors, and will focus on best practices relevant to the Caribbean and the specific barriers and challenges confronting NGOs. While IP 3.1 will seek to build the institutional capacity of selected civil society organizations in the Caribbean, another tactic is required to supply civil society organizations with the specialized technical expertise that they might need on an occasional basis. Recognizing that some islands may never be able to have sufficient civil society capacity in some needed areas of technical expertise, CEPF will also support efforts to establish regional networking approaches that can meet local needs.

Strategic Direction 4. Provide strategic leadership and effective coordination of CEPF investment through a regional implementation team
An independent evaluation of the global CEPF program found that CEPF regional implementation teams are particularly effective with the support of the CEPF grant directors in linking the key elements of comprehensive, vertically integrated portfolios such as large anchor projects, smaller grassroots activities, policy initiatives, governmental collaboration and sustainable financing. The responsibilities of these teams, formerly known as coordination units, have now been standardized to capture the most important aspects of their function.

In every hotspot approved for investment as of July 2007, CEPF will support a regional implementation team to convert the plans in the ecosystem profile into a cohesive portfolio of grants that exceeds in impact the sum of their parts. Each regional implementation team will consist of one or more civil society organizations active in conservation in the region. For example, a team could be a partnership of civil society groups or could be a lead organization with a formal plan to engage others in overseeing implementation, such as through an inclusive advisory committee.

The regional implementation team will be selected by the CEPF Donor Council based on an approved terms of reference, competitive process and selection criteria available at www.cepf.net. The team will operate in a transparent and open manner, consistent with the CEPF mission and all provisions of the CEPF Operational Manual. Organizations that are members of the Regional Implementation Team will not be eligible to apply for other CEPF grants within the same hotspot. Applications from formal affiliates of those organizations that have an independent operating board of directors will be accepted, and will be subject to additional external review.

4.1 Build a broad constituency of civil society groups working across institutional and political boundaries toward achieving the shared conservation goals described in the ecosystem profile
The regional implementation team will provide strategic leadership and local knowledge to build a broad constituency of civil society groups working across institutional and political boundaries toward achieving the conservation goals described in the ecosystem profile. The team’s major functions and specific activities will be based on an approved terms of reference. Major functions of the team will be to:
  • Act as an extension service to assist civil society groups in designing, implementing, and replicating successful conservation activities.
  • Review all grant applications and manage external reviews with technical experts and advisory committees.
  • Award grants up to $20,000 and decide jointly with the CEPF Secretariat on all other applications.
  • Lead the monitoring and evaluation of individual projects using standard tools, site visits, and meetings with grantees, and assist the CEPF Secretariat in portfolio-level monitoring and evaluation.
  • Widely communicate CEPF objectives, opportunities to apply for grants, lessons learned, and results.
  • Involve the existing regional program of the RIT, CEPF donor and implementing agency representatives, government officials, and other sectors within the hotspot in implementation.
  • Ensure effective coordination with the CEPF Secretariat on all aspects of implementation.
Specific activities and further details are available in the CEPF Regional Implementation Team Terms of Reference and Selection Process on www.cepf.net.
 
 
 
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Document: The Caribbean Islands Ecosystem Profile, January 2010
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