CEPF's current investment in the Guinean Forests of West Africa Biodiversity Hotspot follows an initial investment, during which CEPF provided a total of US$8.3 million in support to conservation projects in the Upper Guinean Forests subregion.
Increases in capacity and on-the-ground conservation results require considerable time to be achieved, making longer-term engagements by CEPF and other funders essential.
By the end of 2012, the entire hotspot was scheduled for future investment by CEPF, but the Ebola outbreak in 2014 delayed these plans. Our current investment began in 2016. Through the previous investments, we demonstrated that civil society groups can contribute meaningfully to conservation efforts. To do so, they need not only funding, but also mentoring opportunities, innovative communication strategies and a common plan of action.
With our current funding phase, we're providing resources to civil society organizations at the grassroots, regional, national and international levels to establish long-term partnerships across sectors and borders. Grantees are demonstrating models for reconciling biodiversity conservation with socio-economic development agendas.
The Guinean Forests of West Africa Hotspot encompasses all of the lowland forests of political West Africa, stretching from Guinea and Sierra Leone eastward to the Sanaga River in Cameroon. This includes the countries of Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria, which maintain remnant fragments of the forests. The hotspot also includes four islands in the Gulf of Guinea: Bioko and Annobon, which are both part of Equatorial Guinea, and São Tomé and Príncipe, which together form an independent nation.
At least 936 species of plants and animals found in the hotspot are globally threatened, and this number is likely to increase as more species are assessed. The region is one of the top global priorities for primate conservation due to both high levels of endemism and threat.
In addition to their importance for biodiversity, the hotspot's forests contribute to mediating climate change at a global scale. They also provide the hotspot countries’ combined population of 282.4 million with timber and other building materials, fuel for cooking, food and medicine.