Published at 05/09/2023

13th General Assembly of CAFÉ Held in Arusha, Tanzania, with Notable Involvement of BIOFUND

The 13th General Assembly of the Consortium of African Environmental Funds (CAFÉ) took place in Arusha, Tanzania, from August 28th to September 1st. The event, organized by the Tanzania Forest Fund (TaFF) and the Endowment Fund for Conservation of the Eastern Arc Mountains (EAMCEF), brought together various global stakeholders with the aim of enhancing capacities and sharing innovative experiences in funding mechanisms for biodiversity conservation.

The Biodiversity Conservation Foundation of Mozambique (BIOFUND) was represented by Mohamed Harun, a member of the Board of Directors, Luís Bernardo Honwana, Executive Director, Alexandra Jorge, Program Director, Fenias Nhari, Financial Manager, and Rui Esmael, Communication Coordinator.

Alexandra Jorge presented the evolution of BIOFUND and its practices for growing financial resources, which serve as inspiration for many conservation-related entities. This includes various innovative and diversified initiatives, such as the growth of its endowment, the increasing allocation of funds from various donors to publicly and privately managed Conservation Areas, and capacity-building programs like PLCM, as well as Emergency response, among others. In addition to this presentation, Sean Nazerali, Director of Innovative Financing at BIOFUND, remotely presented the key actions related to innovative financing, with a focus on Biodiversity Offsets, impact investment, debt swap, and bio card.

Presentations from over 20 predominantly African Environmental Funds highlighted motivating experiences in areas such as fundraising, governance, advocacy, community engagement, and monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, among others.

Other relevant presentations included Ken Andrasko, President of AltaVerde Consulting LLC, on ‘Conservation with the Private Sector: Strategies for Environmental Funds for Conservation’, Cyrille Nkontchou, Managing Partner of Enko Capital Management on ‘Best Practices for Environmental Conservation Funds’, as well as Ludwig Liagre, Founder and Senior Advisor of Financing for Biodiversity, Land and Climate Benefits, Rio Impact on ‘Strategies for Environmental Conservation Funds to grow their endowment funds’.

CAFÉ’s 13th General Assembly also renewed the commitments of working groups in specific thematic areas. BIOFUND (Mozambique) continues to lead the Working Group on Biodiversity Offsets, TaniMeva (Madagascar) will lead communication matters, BaCoMab (Mauritania) will lead a newly created group called the “Marine Alliance Group,” and OKAPI (DRC) will lead the interaction group with A-PACT.

CAFÉ is a membership-based network in operation since 2011, bringing together a total of 19 funds that, among other activities, support over 90 parks and reserves and 125 community conservation areas and community forests. These areas cover over 270,000 km² in 20 African countries, and the consortium manages over 400 million dollars in endowments and around 100 million in amortization funds. The presidency of CAFÉ is currently held by the Tri-National Trust Fund of Sangha (FTNS) in Cameroon.

The event was officially opened by Her Excellency Mary Masanja, Vice-Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism of the United Republic of Tanzania. She praised the initiatives of CAFÉ and reinforced the Tanzanian government’s commitment to promoting sustainable efforts in biodiversity conservation and its intrinsic relationship with tourism.

Dr. Théophile Zognou, President of CAFÉ, urged African governments to consider reforms that would enable the environment to be self-sustainable. “Our countries need to think about reforms that allow our environment to pay for itself; I am talking about ecological fiscal reforms,” he said.

Noteworthy was the recent launch of the mentoring component of the Bridge project, an initiative led by RedLAC (sponsored by FFEM – French Funds for Global Environment), which will enable mentoring pairs between CAFÉ and RedLAC environmental funds for deeper mutual learning on topics of common interest.

CAFÉ’s 13th General Assembly also discussed relevant strategies for strengthening the financial and governance sustainability of this platform, as well as renewed collective and individual commitments for greater dynamism within the group.