Introduction

The Consortium of African Funds for the Environment (CAFÉ) is a membership based network of Environmental Funds (EFs) or Conservation Trust Funds (CTFs) in Africa that has been in operation since 2011. CAFÉ has a total of 18 Member Funds that, among others, manage over 90 parks and reserves which cover over 160,000 km2 across 16 countries in Africa. Currently, CAFÉ’s Secretariat is being hosted by Malawi Environmental Endowment Trust (MEET) in Malawi.

WHAT WE ARE

Vision

To be the globally respected alliance for championing sustainable environmental finance in Africa

Mission

To build a learning community that shares best practices and pursues innovative finance mechanisms in order to foster conservation, environmental management and sustainable development in Africa

WHAT WE AIM TO ACHIEVE

  • To increase and strengthen the competencies and capacity of Environmental Funds (for the institutions, staff and boards)
  • To encourage intra-African cooperation and strengthen global ties among Environmental Funds in order to develop synergies and collective solutions
  • To represent the shared perspectives and interests of Environmental Funds in international forums
  • To perform an advocacy role in biodiversity conservation and environmental management and for solutions to natural resources sustainability issues facing Africa
  • To promote and support the creation of new Environmental Funds in Africa
  • To raise awareness among financial partners and other decision makers on the existence, challenges and opportunities of Environmental Funds
  • To achieve financial and management autonomy for CAFÉ through a committed membership
  • To catalyze support for the Environmental Funds to access additional resources from financial partners and expertise from centers of excellence

History

Over the 1990s, a trend occurred whereby sustained fund-flows to conservation action across Africa showed substantial decreases and it became apparent that there was a need to develop innovative finance mechanisms to rectify the situation.

Environmental conservation trust funds were thus created throughout the African continent. Today, there is a need to improve the institutional efficiency of these funds and to increase knowledge sharing between them. The creation of a network was considered the best approach to meet this objective.

After a period of informal collaboration, the Consortium of African Funds for the Environment (CAFE) was officially created during a meeting held in Dar-es Salaam in September 2011. This network was launched by twelve founder funds with several supporting partners.

CAFÉ GENERAL ASSEMBLIES

One of CAFÉ’s main events is the annual General Assembly which brings together member funds to share experiences and build capacity in various thematic topics. Over the past years, CAFÉ has successfully held eight (8) capacity building workshops at the General Assembly as detailed below:

Year Theme Country Host Fund(s)
2011Fundraising Strategies for Environmental FundsTanzania Eastern Arc Mountains Conservation Endowment Fund (EAMCEF)
2012 Communication and Marketing for Environmental Funds UgandaBwindi Mgahinga Conservation Trust (BMCT)
2013Governance Strategies for EFsMadagascarFondation pour les Aires Protegees et la Biodiversite de Madagascar (FAPBM) Tany Meva Foundation
2014Extractive Industry: Opportunities for Environmental FundsCameroonFondation Tri National de la Sangha (FTNS)
2015Financial Mechanism Beyond Traditional FinancingIvory CoastFondation Tri National de la Sangha (FTNS)
2016Practice Standards for Environmental Funds: Asset Management and SustainabilityMalawiMalawi Environmental Endowment Trust (MEET) Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust (MMCT)
2017 Program Monitoring and Evaluation for Environmental FundsMauritaniaBanc d’Arguin and Coastal Marine Biodiversity Trust Fund Limited (BACoMAB)
2018Fundraising and Climate FinancingBotswanaForest Conservation Botswana (FCB)
2019To be determined BeninFondation des Savanes Ouest Africaines (FSOA)
2020To be determined MozambiqueFoundation for the Conservation of Biodiversity (BIOFUND)

However, to achieve its objectives CAFÉ employs the following means of action: workshops, training sessions and forums; joint projects; South-South, North-South and Inter-Fund exchanges and visits; public outreach and advocacy; technical assistance, and; publications.

COLLABORATION AND NETWORKING

CAFÉ-REDLAC Collaboration

Through South-South cooperation, CAFÉ has successfully implemented a joint project with the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Environmental Funds (RedLAC) called Project K—Knowledge for Action—which aimed to enhance Environmental Funds’ portfolio of innovation, diversify sources of funding to address conservation challenges, and promote knowledge and best practices transfer through peer-to-peer learning and online tools. Out of Project K, which ends in December 2018, selected CAFÉ funds received support through an innovation seed fund component, to conduct pre-feasibility studies of innovative financing mechanisms (such as Payment for Ecosystem Service, Biodiversity Offsets) and to support implementation of the chosen mechanism; and selected funds also benefited from a peer-to-peer mentoring program based on the identification of institutional capacity gaps between a mentee and mentor fund. Other outputs of Project K include the development of a Financial Sustainability Plan and a Monitoring and Evaluation Plan for both networks.

Conservation Finance Alliance (CFA) – CAFÉ Relationship

The Motivational Meeting

The development initiative to establish CAFÉ has its origins in a meeting held in Dakar Senegal a decade ago that was organized by the CFA.  This meeting attracted a diversity of interested global and African agencies and led to the drafting of, and the securing of financing commitments to, a development process that ultimately led to the formation of CAFÉ at the Dar es Salaam Assembly.  The attendance of RedLAC secretariat and network members at these early meetings initiated the long-standing south-south relationship with the new CAFÉ network.

The African CTF Sub-Committee

A task force was established at Dakar within the CFA that was titled the African Endowments Sub-Committee (AESC) that was assisted by facilitation support from WWF France. Regular monthly conference calls between CFA members catalysed the coordination process over a two-year period to analyse the interest and viability of setting-up an African CTFs network.

The CTIS Expertise Resource

The development by the CTF of the annual Conservation Trust Fund Investment Study (CTIS) has evolved over many continuous years of production to enjoy the collaboration of most African CTFs and thereby both increase its rigour and representation, and also give valuable understanding and recommendations.

The CTF Practice Standards

The development of the CTF Practice Standards was facilitated by the CFA that was of great benefit to African CTFs working operations and secretariat staff professional responsibilities.  Feno and Carl were CAFÉ representatives that contributed the African realities to this process, thereby ensuring its high level of relevance.  A new CFA initiative through conference calls has been started to update and add to the existing Practise Standards.

CFA-CAFÉ Project Collaboration

The CFA has recently reinvigorated its secretariat capacity and this therefore also enables the future possibility of joint project activities that can benefit both the CFA member professionals, the capacity of the CAFÉ network secretariat, and the CAFÉ member organisations.

OUR PARTNERS

CAFÉ continues to treasure and maintain its partnership with the following three (3) donors whose support has gone a long way: French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM), Global Environmental Facility (GEF), and MAVA Foundation. Through their support, CAFÉ has been able to execute its various activities including the annual General Assemblies as well as Project K.

OUR 2019–2023 STRATEGIC PLAN

Strengthen the institution for improved governance and service delivery to members

Among others, activities under this objective aim to ensure that CAFÉ’s Executive Secretariat is capacitated and CAFÉ’s Executive Committee is strengthened in order to ensure value addition to members through the General Assembly and the provision of relevant trainings.

All activities under this strategic objective fall under the following priority subtopics: Hold meaningful General Assemblies (GAs); Offer relevant trainings to members (through workshops, visits, experience sharing, mentoring); Have an online platform and website providing relevant content and permitting exchanges between members; Implement or facilitate one or more projects or initiatives advancing members’ interests; Hold effective Executive Committee (ExCo) meetings; Review roles, responsibilities and nomination rules of President, Secretariat, and ExCo and get them approved by members; Register CAFÉ as a legal entity if feasible and if benefits outweigh the cost; Facilitate access to shared services (e.g. investment management) to secure better terms; Agree on norms related to communication and cooperation between members and with Secretariat.

Increase networking and partnerships to improve effectiveness and visibility

Primarily, activities here seek to nurture and strengthen active and meaningful collaboration with current partners and stakeholders and to reach out to new partners who share common interests to achieve tangible outcomes for conservation in Africa.

 Priority subtopics include: Continue active collaboration with RedLAC and CFA; Conduct outreach to relevant stakeholders (African Development Bank, African Union, Southern African Development Commission, Global Environmental Fund, Green Climate Fund, etc.) with tangible outcomes; Carry out targeted advocacy actions on behalf of members to promote conservation in Protected Areas (Pas) across the region; Have more EFs/CTFs join CAFÉ thanks to more compelling and better articulated value proposition.

 Ensure financial sustainability

 Last but not least, it is at the heart of our priorities to mobilize enough resources from various sources to support implementation of this 5-year Strategic Plan.

 These topics are prioritised: Secure funding from various sources for the next five years; Determine if financial mechanism could be put in place to ensure CAFÉ’s sustainability; Help members in their fundraising efforts through information sharing.