The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF)2013-2021 is designed to safeguard the Earth’s biologically rich and most threatened regions known as biodiversity hotspots. It is a joint initiative of Conservation International (CI), l’AgencieFrancaise de Developpment (AFD), the European Union (EU), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Governemnt of Japan, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank. CEPF is a unique funding mechanism in that it focuses on high-priority biological areas rather than political boundaries, and examines conservation threats on a landscape scale. It is from this perspective that CEPF seeks to address conservation needs through coordinated regional efforts. Its fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation. CEPF’s US$9 million investment in the East Melanesian Islands hotspot was launched in 2013 and will continue until 2021. As we near the mid-term phase of CEPF’s investment in EMI (2017)
Vanuatu has been identified to be within the East Melanesian Islands Hotspot The hotspot is one of the most biologically important regions in the planet in terms of species richness and especially endemism. CEPF’s investment will be targeted where it can make the greatest and most sustained contribution to the conservation of globally important biodiversity.
An ecosystem profile for the hotspot was developed through a process of consultation and desk study led by the University of the South Pacific, various expert stakeholders, consultation processes and workshops .An outcome of the Ecosystem Profiling exercise was the development of CEPF’s Investment Strategy that received endorsement from national governments within the hotspot. The niche for CEPF investment was defined through an extensive process of stakeholder consultation supported by a detailed analysis of gaps and trends in conservation investment.
The CEPF Secretariat based in USA, is responsible for strategic and financial management, oversight, and reporting for the program. The CEPF Secretariat has the responsibility of managing CEPF large grants, of USD$20,000 or more.
The Regional Implementaion Team (RIT) provides strategic leadership for the EMI program. Their objective is to convert the plans in the CEPF ecosystem profiles into cohesive portfolios of grants. A critical aspect of the RIT will be making the CEPF program accessible to local and civil society organizations. IUCN’s Oceania Regional Office (ORO) is the RIT and is responsible for managing CEPF small grants of USD $20,000 or less.