Successful conservation projects require a combination of numerous factors, and one of the most important is strong partnerships and effective collaboration. For our team in Madagascar, this is achieved at the project sites by working closely with local communities, ensuring their needs are met through sustainable and conservation-focused initiatives. Over ten years of community-led conservation has shown the effectiveness of this strategy, provided it can be supported until the process becomes self-supporting.
World Lemur Day – Sakalava.
Important dates, like World Lemur Day, provide the opportunity for local community celebrations, such as this event held in Sakalava.
Equally important is the support and collaboration of experienced conservation-focused organisations. One such organisation, with whom we are proud to be working, is the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, known as CEPF. Regular followers of our work will be aware of the support we received from CEPF for our multi-year project to develop community-based conservation in the Ambato-Boeny-Maevatanana Forests and Wetlands. During this project, six new local community associations were formed, activities were implemented to improve natural resource management techniques, and valuable research was conducted to better understand the biodiversity present in the area which led to establishing the presence of the Critically Endangered big-headed turtle at project sites. Our final report on the project can be found on the CEPF projects pages.
Critically Endangered Madagascar Big-headed Turtle
This year we are delighted to renew our collaboration with CEPF with a new project in CAZ West. Our team in Madagascar already have well-established relationships with community associations in the area and our new project again focuses on working alongside local people to provide support as they transition to more sustainable lifestyles. However, there is also an important focus on the impact of climate change and options for mitigating the negative effects which add additional pressure on communities heavily reliant on natural resources.
Traps for hunting lemurs in Ranomainty. Activities like hunting for bush-meat are harder to prevent when crops fail more often due to climate change.
Our work in Madagascar has always been based on this holistic approach, recognizing the valuable role of local communities as custodians and guardians of the natural environment. However, it does require long-term commitment to achieve lasting change and new difficulties such as the coronavirus pandemic and climate change have undoubtedly created significant negative impacts on the results being achieved. All the more reason for us to re-affirm our commitment to work in this unique, but fragile, biodiversity hotspot and why it is so important, and we value so much, our collaboration with organisations like CEPF with a shared vision of community engagement.
The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan and the World Bank. A fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation.