Feature Story

The nonprofit organization Practical Action was wrapping up a bird conservation project in northern Peru funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, a program the GEF helps support, when the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe. Suddenly, the isolated community of San José de Lourdes was having difficulty acquiring not only cleaning and disinfectant products, but food as well.

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An auspicious symbol of strength, health, and protection, the tiger features prominently in art, folklore, myth, and literature around the world. Tigers are also an important top predator, a critical piece holding together the complex puzzle of natural systems across more than a dozen countries in Asia.

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The Jesús María River Basin is located in Costa Rica’s Pacific region, and covers 35,280 hectares of a diverse landscape comprised of forests, coffee plantations and fruit trees, mangroves, pastures, cash crops, water bodies, and urban areas.

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Rangu Debi, 70, lives on Monpura, an isolated island of Bhola District in Bangladesh, surrounded by the Meghna River. A widow with six children, she has seen many cyclones and floods in her lifetime, some of them catastrophic.

Fifty years ago, Cyclone Bhola’s flood waters took everything from her, including one of her daughters. Since then she has been living in a government shelter.

Her story is not uncommon.

Millions of lives in the balance

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Restoring and protecting nature is one of the greatest strategies for tackling climate change, but not just for the obvious reason that it helps remove carbon from the atmosphere. Forests, wetlands, and other ecosystems also play a vital role as buffers against extreme weather, protecting houses, crops, water supplies, and crucial infrastructure.

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The world has ground to a halt in ways few could have predicted, due to the impact of COVID-19 - a pandemic like no other in several decades. For many, COVID represents the first global crisis that they have ever had to experience in their daily life.

The necessary policies and plans formulated by global leaders and organizations are complemented by the actions of local communities, who have taken the initiative and responded to this global health and humanitarian crisis and its devastating effects.

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The Global Environment Facility is a founding donor of the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), which was formed in 2000 to champion biodiversity by delivering the financial resources of global donors to civil society groups, who then carry out the conservation work themselves.

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As iconic as the islands’ pristine beaches and tropical forests, the 60,000-plus green monkeys of St. Kitts and Nevis are a quintessential part of the Caribbean experience for many visitors.

But while these photogenic mischief-makers might charm tourists, they pose serious threats to the twin-island Federation. Likely first brought to the islands from West Africa as exotic pets by European settlers in the 17th century, today the monkeys are putting pressure on native species, decimating crops, and consistently evading efforts to scare them off.

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