Protecting Nature's Hotspots for people and prosperity

Engaging government and communities in conservation: Lessons from the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany Biodiversity Hotspot

CEPF grantees worked to protect South Africa’s Mountain Zebra National Park Complex by promoting the use of stewardship by land owners and giving land legally protected status. © Conservation International/photo by Dan Rothberg
Capturing lessons learned is a key component of the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund’s (CEPF) approach to biodiversity conservation. By documenting and sharing lessons, CEPF grantees increase the opportunity for future grantees and other conservation stakeholders to improve the design and implementation of similar projects.

In the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany biodiversity hotspot stretching across South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique, CEPF supported civil society to apply innovative approaches to conservation. Three areas of focus included development of biodiversity stewardship agreements that protect and manage land; establishment of partnerships with local government and civil society organizations for biodiversity management and service delivery; and strengthened community conservation across landscapes.

A new series of case studies from the hotspot illustrates conservation lessons from grantee projects, including:
  • Partnerships help to expand resources and increase capacity. 
  • Conservation champions should be recognized and supported because they can motivate others and increase participation.
  • Local knowledge is valuable and gives people a true sense of ownership in relation to the biodiversity on their land.
  • Education and awareness can garner additional support from various stakeholders, including communities and local government.
  • Flagship species often provide a rallying point by appealing to people on an emotional level.
  • Innovative and sustainable financing mechanisms help ensure long-term success.
These lessons and others documented from the hotspot are not mutually exclusive. In fact, some of the most successful projects in the hotspot combined them to have a more successful lasting impact on biodiversity conservation.

Read full series of case studies and lessons learned.