FSOA hosts the 9th CAFÉ Assembly

FSOA hosts the 9th CAFÉ Assembly

Fondation des Savanes Ouest Africaines (FSOA) has successfully hosted the 9th CAFÉ General Assembly in the historical city of Ouidah, Bénin from 2-6 September, 2019.

The colourful event was conducted under the theme of “Financial Markets and Portfolio Management for Environmental Funds.”

The Assembly was officially opened by the Bénin Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Mr. José Tonato, at Casa Del Papa Hotel in Ouidah. It brought together participants from different African countries, North America, Brazil and France.

About Ouidah

Ouidah City was the only seaport of the country until 1908. It is located 40 km from Cotonou and it is on the main road to Togo. Ouidah is of great interest in the cultural and historical value of the country. It is a place replete with symbolic and important history to the black African race. In addition to Ouidah’s history museum, the city is home to several cultural sites that are still visible: Voodoo Centre, the Snake Village, a park Known as the Sacred Forest and the Slave Route that led to the “Point of NO Return” – a memorial to slavery at the beach of Ouidah, one of the large slave-trade ports in Africa, which served as the main departure point for those sold into slavery between the 15th and 19th centuries.

The Workshop

As per tradition, within the General Assembly there was a 3-day capacity building workshop which centred on the aforementioned theme and was facilitated by FinAfrique of Cameroon.

Through the workshop, participants were equipped with practical knowledge in financial markets and portfolio management specifically for environmental funds in order to ensure and secure financial sustainability in promotion of conservation, environmental management and sustainable development across the continent.

The workshop was purposely designed to foster close cooperation of the Environmental Funds in order to share experiences and knowledge in designing, implementing and monitoring investments in order to better understand, through practical cases, the different risks associated with portfolio management and the importance of diversification and evolution for continuous performance improvement.

A visit to Ganvié Lake Village

On Friday the 5th September, participants had a field visit to Ganvie Lake Village which is about a 4-hour journey from the capital Cotonou.

The Lake Village, also known as “the Venice of Africa,” stands on stilts in the middle of Lake Nokoué, north of Cotonou, and is today the most important riparian city in West Africa. It has a population of around 30,000 people who rely mainly on fishing. Ganvié remains the largest lake village in Africa and is often popular with tourists.

During the visit, which was by pirogue, participants observed the lagoon’s natural working, the problem of invasive plants, the water birds associated to this habitat, the extremely original traditional fishing techniques, and the lifestyle of the inhabitants in this very special environment.

Historically, a small group of people outside of what is now Cotonou, Bénin, took advantage of a different set of circumstances to evade capture by the Portuguese. At the time, the powerful West-African Fon tribe was hunting and selling other native tribesman to the Portuguese. While there were few physical impediments protecting the ancestors of today’s Ganvié village from outside attack, Fon religious practice forbade their raiders from advancing on any peoples dwelling on water, laying the groundwork for the Ganvié Lake Village.

Farewell from RedLAC President

Also present at the Assembly was Ms. Rosa Montanez, the current President of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Environmental Funds (RedLAC).

Montanez is serving her final year of her 4-year term as President of RedLAC, a network which has been very supportive of CAFÉ in its establishment.

During her term, CAFÉ and RedLAC successfully implemented a joint project called Project K – Knowledge for Action, from June 2015 to December 2018. The aim of Project K was to enhance global conservation through peer-to-peer exchanges and knowledge management among members of CAFÉ and RedLAC.

The project got its financial support from three donors namely, the French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM), Mava Foundation, and the Global Environmental Fund (GEF). Technical support of the project was from the Brazilian Biodiversity Fund (FUNBIO), which is a member of RedLAC.

Moving forward

CAFÉ’s 2020 (10th) General Assembly is scheduled to take place in Mozambique and will be hosted by the Mozambique Biodiversity Fund (BIOFUND).

Tonato making his opening remarks

FinAfrique facilitating during the capacity building workshop

FFEM’s Constance Corbier making her remarks

FSOA’s Executive Director, Mr. Alfred Koffi Allogninouma, making his opening remarks

From left to right: Montanez (RedLAC President), Karen  Price (CAFE President), and Benin government official on a symbolic opening of the Assembly

Participants on the way to Ganvié Lake Village by Pirogue

A taste of Ganvié 

CAFÉ welcomes three into the Executive Committee

CAFÉ welcomes three into the Executive Committee

During the recent 9th General Assembly of CAFÉ held in Ouidah, Bénin, the network welcomed three members into its seven-member Executive Committee (ExCo).

Under the theme of “Financial Markets and Portfolio Management for Environmental Funds,” the event was hosted by Fondation des Savanes Ouest Africaines (FSOA) and took place from 2-6 September, 2019. (more…)

CAFÉ welcomes Community Conservation Fund of Namibia

CAFÉ welcomes Community Conservation Fund of Namibia

During its 8th General Assembly held in September 2018 in Kasane, Botswana, CAFÉ welcomed Community Conservation Fund of Namibia (CCFN) into the network.

This saw CAFÉ growing from 17 to 18 member funds from 13 countries across Africa. CCFN was represented by its Chief Executive Officer, Tapiwa Makiwa.

Knowing CCFN

“CCFN was registered as an Association under Section 21 of Namibia’s Company Law on July 14, 2017,” Makiwa said.

He added that the purpose of CCFN is to promote sustainable development of communal conservancies, community forests and similar natural resource management entities that contribute to:
a) Conservation, protection and improvement of the natural environment and biodiversity, including the sustainable use of natural resources; and
b) Relief of poverty and the improvement of livelihoods for the benefit of the members of communal conservancies and community forests

Membership application and the workshop

Traditionally, new membership applications into the network are presented before Members during the General Assembly and tabled for approval in keeping with the CAFÉ Charter.

Ken Andrasko of AltaVerde Consulting from the United States of America (USA) facilitated the 4-day General Assembly workshop under the theme: Fundraising and Climate Financing. The Assembly was officially opened by the Botswana Minister of Environment, Natural Resources, Conservation and Tourism, Honourable Tshekedi Khama.

The 8th CAFÉ General Assembly was successfully hosted by Forest Conservation Botswana (FBC). It brought together participants from Europe, North and South America, and Africa.

CAFÉ President, Karen Price (in red), welcomes CCFN’s Tapiwa Makiwa into the network

CAFÉ at RedLAC Assembly in Bolivia

CAFÉ at RedLAC Assembly in Bolivia

The Latin American and Caribbean Network of Environmental Funds (RedLAC) held its 20th General Assembly from October 29 to November 1, 2018 in Bolivia.

The Assembly centred on the theme of Creativity and Innovation for Conservation and Sustainable Development.

As a sister-network, a number of participants from the Consortium of African Funds for the Environment (CAFÉ) attended the event. Among them was the CAFÉ President (Ms Karen Price from Malawi) and three Executive Committee members namely Dr Theophile Zognou (from Cameroun), Mr Gerald Rambeloarisoa (from Madagascar) and Mr Ahmed Lefghih (from Mauritania).

Making her remarks during the event, Price applauded the Assembly’s theme as it well and timely agrees with the work and relevance of environmental funds and their networks across the globe.

“The theme resonates and distinguishes the relevance and resilience of Environmental Funds as vehicles that can adapt to change, in creative and innovative ways, and the role of networks such as RedLAC, CAFÉ and APNET as the pathway for collective learning and action,” said Price.

RedLAC has a total of 23 Member Funds from 17 countries covering Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

Its 21st General Assembly is slated to be held in October 2019 in Yucatan, Mexico.

Part of the CAFÉ team at the RedLAC Assembly
CAFÉ President making her remarks during the RedLAC Assembly in Bolivia
2019-2023 CAFÉ Strategic Plan in Brief

2019-2023 CAFÉ Strategic Plan in Brief

One of the things that decorated the 8th CAFÉ General Assembly in September 2018 in Botswana was the grand approval of the 5-year Strategic Plan of the network, covering 2019 to 2023.

The Plan has three broad strategic objectives to be accomplished. Below is a presentation of the strategic objectives in brief:

1. 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.

2. 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 environmental conservation in Africa.

Priority subtopics include: Continue active collaboration with RedLAC and CFA; Conduct outreach to relevant stakeholders (all potential donors) 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.

3. 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.

CAFÉ for conservation, environmental management and sustainable development in Africa
CAFÉ holds its 8th General Assembly in Botswana

CAFÉ holds its 8th General Assembly in Botswana

The Consortium of African Funds for the Environment (CAFÉ) recently held its 8th General Assembly from 3 to 7 September 2018 at Cresta Mowana Safari Lodge in Kasane, Botswana.

This took place under the theme of Fundraising and Climate Financing.

The Assembly was officially opened by the Botswana Minister of Environment, Natural Resources, Conservation and Tourism, Honourable Tshekedi Khama. (more…)