Strengthening Conservation Alliances through CEPF Coordination in the Caucasus
|Europe/Middle-East > North Asia/Mongolia > Georgia
The Caucasus is one of the world’s biologically richest yet most threatened areas. These areas known as “biodiversity hotspots” are the focus of CEPF, a joint initiative of Conservation International, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank.
The forests, high mountain ecosystems and arid landscapes of the Caucasus contain more than twice the animal diversity found in adjacent regions of Europe and Asia. However, biodiversity of the Caucasus is being lost at an alarming rate. Human activities have transformed nearly half of the lands. Fifty-one species are at risk, including the critically endangered Saiga antelope, Siberian crane and Baltic (Atlantic) sturgeon.
CEPF investments will focus on conserving these 51 globally threatened species, the majority of which are found in specific sites in five target areas: Greater Caucasus, Caspian, West Lesser Caucasus, East Lesser Caucasus and Hyrcanian.
In 2003 WWF Caucasus coordinated preparation of the CEPF ecosystem profile, a strategic document directing CEPFs activities in the Caucasus "hotspot". The profile defines universal conservation outcomes for the region and identifies conservation targets on species, site, and landscape corridor levels. It formulates CEPFs niche and recommends a five-year investment strategy that will contribute to the conservation of biodiversity in this globally significant region in coming years.
This funding strategy was developed based on stakeholder workshops and background reports; more than 130 experts representing a variety of scientific, governmental, and non-governental organizations in six countries participated in preparation of the document.
WWF Caucasus' role in preparation of the ecosystem profile as well as its experience in the region is chosen at a comparative advantage to serve as the coordinating organization for the implementation and the five-year investment strategy.
Alongside the CEPF Ecosystem Profile, WWF Caucasus is elaborating an Ecoregional Conservation Plan (ECP) a comprehensive strategy for action to conserve and restore the biodiversity of the Caucasus ecoregion over the span of several decades. The ECP is a guiding document for medium-term conservation (20 years). Governments, NGOs, and donor organizations will find the document useful to assist in planning and coordinating conservation activities in the Caucasus and reducing redundancy. The ECP is based on a biodiversity vision elaborated by stakeholders from the region. The vision has a horizon of 50 years and sets long-term goals for conservation of the region's biodiversity, identifying priority conservation areas and strategies regardless of national borders.
Conserve 51 species at risk, including the critically endangered Saiga antelope, Siberian crane and Baltic (Atlantic) sturgeon.
The CEPF programme focus is based on the need to suppress proximate threats to biodiversity and their root causes in the Caucasus. Within the ecosystem profile, 5 target corridors of the 10 total corridors (corridor outcomes) have been delineated to conserve globally threatened species (species outcomes) and their major habitats (site outcomes).
Government institutions and civil society are active in conservation in the region, but often lack the capacity to implement environmental programmes. CEPF can build on their existing programmes to further biodiversity conservation, in particular, through increasing transboundary cooperation, strengthening existing protected areas systems, strengthening mechanisms for biodiversity conservation, promoting sustainable resource use and increasing awareness and commitment.