Vientiane, 5 December 2013 – The National Advisory Committee (NAC) for implementation of the second phase of the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) in Lao PDR met last month to discuss grant proposals submitted for the first call of the five-year investment for conservation of biodiversity in the Indo-Burma hotspot.
The first call of the second phase of CEPF saw the submission of 228 Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) from around the Indo-Burma region; 34 of which were submitted by organizations based in Lao PDR. During the first phase, 36 LOIs were submitted in Lao PDR, from which 27 were found to be eligible for funding. To put this in context, the first phase saw 288 eligible LOIs received over five years and four calls in four countries -- Lao PDR, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. When initiating the call for submissions in August 2013, CEPF Grant Director Jack Tordoff, said “I hope the new phase of CEPF grant-making will secure the results of the first phase, amplify effective conservation approaches, and engage a wider range of civil society partners.” Judging from the diversity in focus areas and the strength of LOIs received for Lao PDR alone, organizations have indeed heeded this call.
Held on 5 November 2013 in Vientiane, the meeting of the NAC, brought together representatives from government agencies, non-governmental organizations and international organizations; including the Faculty of Science at the National University of Laos, the European Union, the Department of Forest Resources Management, the World Wildlife Fund, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Lao Wildlife Conservation Association, and the Lao Biodiversity Association. The representation of these organizations is monumental and seeks to strengthen the cooperation between civil society and the Government of Lao PDR and to also make the implementation of CEPF as transparent, dynamic and participatory as possible.
Participants of the NAC meeting convened to review 10 LOIs for which the Regional Implementation Team (RIT) needed additional guidance, for example, where the RIT was unfamiliar with the geographical areas or unsure about how well the LOIs fit to their selected strategic directions. Such guidance could only be provided by organisations that have worked closely in the region, such as those represented at the meeting. The objective of the meeting was not to approve of the submitted proposals, but to critically evaluate LOIs and to give advice to the RIT, which is responsible for the final selection decision. Recommendations from the NAC for strengthening proposals would be passed on to grant applicants, with the RIT providing the final decision about which proposals were ultimately selected.
Raphael Glemet, Water and Wetlands Coordinator for IUCN Lao PDR and Chair of the NAC meeting, said “CEPF is more than just another grant. Its approach also aims to strengthen the core capacities of civil society organizations working on environmental conservation at national and regional levels. This is a great opportunity to build dialogue platforms and bridges between all these organizations in order to further the protection of biodiversity in Lao PDR, share their understanding and experiences on conservation issues, and subsequently sustain local livelihoods and better support environmental policies in the country.”
The five-year CEPF investment in the Indo-Burma hotspot aims at conserving biological diversity in threatened hotspots and encouraging participatory management by local communities. The results of the small grants category (grant requests not exceeding US$20,000) as well as approval for the next phase of project development for the large grants are set to be announced in December 2013.
IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. IUCN’s work focuses on valuing and conserving nature, ensuring effective and equitable governance of its use, and deploying nature-based solutions to global challenges in climate, food and development. IUCN supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world, and brings governments, NGOs, the UN and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice. IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization, with more than 1,200 government and NGO Members and almost 11,000 volunteer experts in some 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by over 1,000 staff in 45 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world. www.iucn.org
CEPF is a joint initiative of Conservation International, l’Agence Française de Développement, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank. A fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation. www.cepf.net
For more information contact:
Water and Wetlands Coordinator, IUCN Lao PDR