Foreign aid and development are often focused on bringing people out of poverty and creating stable economies to keep them healthy and successful. The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), however, has a different focus. CEPF defines itself as a “global leader in enabling civil society to participate in and benefit from conserving some of the world’s most critical ecosystems”. CEPF works to target biodiversity hotspots and goes directly to civil society groups to create working alliances among diverse groups.
By protecting these biologically diverse areas, CEPF is also protecting and promoting those who live in the areas, often small local farmers. Empowering these communities to protect their environments creates a sense of reinvestment in the land and helps foster cooperation across borders.
Putting emphasis on ecosystems promotes the health of those that reside nearby as well. By working to stop the threats to these hotspots, CEPF is working to create communities that thrive based on their environment. Creating and supporting societies based on conservation can help to improve agriculture and economic stability.
CEPF’s goal is not only to preserve the planet and its ecosystems but to provide people with safe and healthy environments for the future. Conservation should go hand in hand with development and foreign assistance, because the healthier the land and the people, the more stable and successful they will be.
– Sarah Rybak