Environmental issues are rarely valued as newsworthy not because they are less interesting or concerning, but because there is always the latest breaking story about politics, crime, corruption, celebrity lifestyles etc. But the media has a big role to play in making people aware of environmental issues and what actions to take to protect the environment. I urge you to double your efforts in creating awareness for the protection of the environment and sustainable utilization of natural resources.
I am excited to inform you that Botswana, through Forest Conservation Botswana will host the 81 General Assembly of the Consortium of African Funds for the Environment (CAFE). CAFE was founded in 2011 after a period of · informal collaboration between several African Environmental Funds. The experience of a similar network established in 1999 called Latin American and Caribbean Network of Environmental Funds (RedLAC) had been a success. It only made sense that like-minded colleagues facing similar challenges specific to Africa and others common to Environmental Funds would come together to learn from each other and build stronger organizations.
As of mid-2018, CAFE counts with 16 members. According to the 2016 CTIS (Conservation Trust Fund Investment Survey) Report, out of 10 CTFs who provided data, four had an endowment between 0 and 10 million of US$ (for an average size of US$5m), one had an endowment between 10 and 20 million, four had an endowment between 20 and 50 million (for an average of US$24.8m), and one had an endowment that exceeded 50 million. The average size for the 10 Funds was US$20.5m.
Since 2011 the General Assembly has been held in Seven (7) countries. This means that around 16 African Environmental Funds with over 50 delegates will converge in Botswana from 3-7 September 2018. We are also expecting delegates from the Caribbean and Latin American Environmental Funds. This Assembly will be held in Botswana's tourism, heartland Kasane. The main activity of this General Assembly is the Capacity Building Workshop for members under the theme; Fundraising and Climate Financing. It is a well-known fact that lack of access to climate finance affects Environmental Funds in Africa and one of the main objectives of CAFE is to catalyze support for the Environmental Funds to access resources from financial partners, part of which could be done through collaborations by partner countries.
By hosting CAFE 2018, Botswana will not only get an opportunity to showcase its tourism products and conservation efforts to delegates from the continent and other parts of the world, but will open itself up for partnerships and collaborations in the implementation of conservation projects which will result in increased economies of scale and strengthened capacity as a result of the sharing of best practices.
In preparation for the Assembly, we have received support from other institutions like RedLAC which is not only sending some delegates but has also given US$26,000 for the capacity building workshop. Another France based Organization French Global Environment Facility (FFEM) has given financial support of US$ 15,000 and it will also send some delegates. Mowana Safari Lodge has also given some discount on accommodation and other services they provide.
*Chief Executive Officer, Forest Conservation Botswana's (FCB) Joshua Moloi addressing a special Press Briefing.