The BRIDGE project Steering Committee (COPIL): a key moment for international cooperation in support of biodiversity

published on 05 June 2023
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The BRIDGE project Steering Committee (COPIL) was held in the FFEM’s offices from 19 to 21 April 2023. The event brought together all the project partners for a progress report and discussions on the project's future.

The meeting was of particular significance because it was the first time, since the COVID pandemic, that all the partners - particularly those from Latin America and Africa - had been able to meet in person. The geographical diversity of partners is one of the “BRIDGE” group’s strengths, and cements the importance cross-border collaboration plays in biodiversity conservation at global scale.

The meeting’s exchanges were rich and constructive, enabling partners to discuss advances made in project implementation, consider potential partnerships, review upcoming stages and strengthen their joint commitment to biodiversity protection. According to project coordinator Leonardo Garcia,


the BRIDGE project represents a crucial stage in integrating the private sector into global biodiversity conservation efforts as well as strengthening the institutional capabilities of more than 45 environmental funds in Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean. Also the BRIDGE initiative is our commitment to putting the private sector at the forefront of biodiversity conservation efforts in Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean.

The network’s dynamism and participants' collective intelligence were apparent throughout the meeting, facilitating high-quality, constructive discussions. Participants were able to share experiences, while jointly considering how to further improve the project.

We are delighted to share news about our work and develop partnerships with other stakeholders from the region, including the French overseas territories . Our objective is to make this an inclusive Caribbean project and we are enthusiastic about our partnership’s growth potential over the coming years.

said Karen McDonald Gayle , CEO of the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund.

For her part, Maria-Jose Gonzalez, Director of Marfund (regional fund for the protection of the Mesoamerican Reef), highlighted the fact that working alongside the FFEM enabled her organisation to widen its network and projects, attracting not only financing partners but also those looking to develop activities on the ground.

Furthermore, the discussions highlighted the importance of mobilising the private sector in the financing of biodiversity conservation, as well as the creation of innovative financing mechanisms to encourage companies to commit to this approach.

The eastern tropical Pacific region is attracting donors attention, so it’s essential this is established as a regional mechanism  to provide long-term, sustainable finance

, said Katy de la Garza, Executive Director of ACRXS (Costa Rica por Siempre), the foundation overseeing the FFEM grant for the BRIDGE project; this foundation will initially manage the Pacifico trust fund.

Our Okapi Trust Fund for Nature Conservation in DRC is dedicated to supporting projects aiming to protect biodiversity in the DRC, particularly with operating costs for protected areas. The BRIDGE project provides an opportunity for us to meet with other trust funds and share knowledge in order to define joint strategies

, added Guillaume de Rouville, Executive Director of the Okapi Fund for Nature Conservation in DRC.

The Steering Committee meeting was organised with great success by the Forever Costa Rica Association which coordinated both content and logistical aspects, guaranteeing the quality of this eagerly-awaited meeting. Their significant investment in the project and their commitment to biodiversity conservation contributed to making the meeting a key moment for BRIDGE project partners, demonstrating their determination to work together to deliver this global project’s ambitious objectives.

As a reminder, the BRIDGE project, supported by the French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM), is an international initiative aiming to promote biodiversity conservation by mobilising the private sector. Run by RedLAC (the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Environmental Funds) and CAFÉ (the Consortium of African Funds for the Environment), the BRIDGE project aims to support the efforts of governments, civil society organisations and local communities to protect endangered ecosystems while creating innovative financing mechanisms for biodiversity conservation.

BRIDGE partners work together to promote initiatives aiming to increase mobilisation of private sector financing for biodiversity conservation on a global scale. The innovative nature of the project lies in its structure, which enables collaboration between partners from widely-separated geographical regions and so encourages the exchange and dissemination of knowledge and good practice relating to biodiversity conservation.