01/12/17 - Exchanges around support for civil society organisations in West Africa (Gorée, Senegal, 21-22 November 2017)

A workshop recently took place in Gorée (Dakar, Senegal) gathering experts who provide support to NGOs in West Africa. This workshop, which was jointly organised by MAVA and the PeaceNexus Foundation and took place at the Gorée Institute, enabled more than a dozen experts from Senegal, Togo, Burkina Faso and Niger to get together. In a relaxed setting, the experts firstly talked about the specific issues of West Africa’s civil society before focusing on their support work, and more specifically on their various roles (coach, mentor, partner, facilitator, trainer, model, observer, technical advisor, expert). This is a key question when driving a support process for an organisation where many different roles may be needed (and clarified). PeaceNexus and MAVA, who are both working on supporting partner organisations in West Africa, also discussed the, often delicate, triangular relation between an organisation, the donor and the support expert.

MAVA and PeaceNexus sincerely thank the workshop participants as well as the staff from the Goree Institute for their warm welcome.

27/11/17 – Saving the Raso Lark Alauda razae from extinction in Cabo Verde

The NGO Biosfera is one of MAVA’s key partners in Cabo Verde. Biosfera has been working for a number of years to save the Raso Lark Alauda razae from extinction. This critically endangered species breeds only on the very small and unhabited Raso islet (7 km2), part of the Marine Reserve of Santa Luzia.

Together with Michael Brooke, a Professor at the University of Cambridge (UK), and SPEA, the Portuguese member of Birdlife International, they are organising the translocation of this species to another island in the reserve, where it previously bred and became extinct because of the predation of feral cats. Professor Brooke is now training young Cape Verdean university students to make sure that these efforts will last.

This initiative is funded by MAVA within the framework of a new project to support the sustainable management of S. Luzia marine reserve in Cabo Verde. It is jointly run by SPEA, Biosfera and the National Directorate for the Environment in Cabo Verde (DNA), in close cooperation and with the support of RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds).

20/11/17 - Actors supporting NGOs to gather in Senegal (Gorée, Senegal, 21-22 November 2017)

Supporting the strengthening of civil society is a key issue which knows no frontiers, neither geographical nor sectorial. MAVA is therefore happy to be materialising a partnership with the PeaceNexus Foundation, working together in West Africa.

MAVA and PeaceNexus work on different specific themes, however they have both placed organisational support to their partners as a key element in their respective strategies.

Both organisations face common issues in francophone West Africa in terms of identifying the right resources to support organisations with inclusive organisational development approaches.

Therefore, MAVA and PeaceNexus have gathered a small panel of professionals based in West Africa who are experienced in supporting and accompanying various stakeholders, but especially civil society organisations. The gathering which will take place in Dakar on 21/22 November aims at enabling contacts, and concrete and open exchanges between professionals on their challenges and practices.

At the end of the workshop, the two foundations wish to create a list of interested consultants who may be called upon for possible future support missions.

01/11/17 – New report on how overfishing risks leaving investors stranded

The world’s oceans are one of mankind’s most important shared resources, providing a critical source of protein. But there is increasing scientific evidence that marine seafood resources are being overexploited, leading to the risk of the collapse of key fisheries, with associated environmental, social and economic impacts.

The Fish Tracker Initiative sought to better understand the role of listed companies in seafood extraction, to help identify opportunities and risks for investors with exposure to the sector.

This has resulted in a new report just launched by Fish Tracker, Empty nets, which details how poor disclosure and poor sustainability management across publicly listed companies with revenues from seafood are placing investors at risk.

Read more here.

23/10/17 - Second simultaneous south eastern European Pelican Census

Covering all of South East Europe, Ukraine and Turkey, a second pelican census was carried out on 6 May 2017. Simultaneous counts took place at 119 wetlands in 8 countries, all in the space of one afternoon.

This international census concerned two pelican species: the globally endangered Dalmatian Pelican and the Great White Pelican. It was an initiative and was coordinated by the Society for the Protection of Prespa, one of MAVA’s long-lasting partners based in Prespa, Greece. Organisations and individuals from Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, the FYR of Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine took part in the census.

The results of the census and more information about the activity can be found here.

17/10/17 - How people’s cultural values and community participation contribute to positive conservation of wetlands

We are pleased to announce the recent publication of a new report ‘World Heritage and Ramsar Conventions: Converging Towards Success, which is the result of a collaboration between the Ramsar Convention Secretariat and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, with the support of the Ramsar Culture Network as well as CEPA colleagues.

This report examines how cultural values and community participation contribute to positive conservation outcomes in exceptional wetland areas with dual World Heritage and Ramsar status. Six case studies from around the world illustrate the challenges – and successes – of integrating both nature and culture in the management of internationally designated wetlands, including in the Okavango Delta (Botswana), Mont-Saint-Michel (France), Wood Buffalo (Canada), Banc d’Arguin (Mauritania), Sian Ka’an (Mexico) and Itsukushima Shinto Shrine (Japan). ‘Lessons learned’ from experiences at these outstanding wetlands are intended to support both site managers and broader policy-makers in making the most of the powerful role that cultural values and community participation can play in wetland conservation and wise use.

MAVA has been the main supporter of the Ramsar Culture Network since its creation. We acknowledge the deep link between the cultural and natural dimensions of wetlands, and we believe in the power of nurturing cultural values and practices of natural wetlands to secure their long-term conservation.

Click here to download the report.

09/10/17 – A small grants programme for emerging NGOs in North Africa

Since 2013, in partnership with the French Global Environment Facility (FFEM), MAVA has initiated, co-financed and supported the Small Grants Programme for civil society organisations in North Africa (PPI OSCAN), whose principal objective is to reinforce technical, administrative and financial capacities of civil society organisations in Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia. The programme is coordinated by IUCN-Med.

This project is now in its final stages and an external evaluation, undertaken by BRL ingénierie, highlighted the programme’s successes in terms of civil society structuring: “several of the young associations which received support have indeed reached a good level of professionalism and are involved in the implementation of environmental public policies”. The evaluators gave a particular emphasis to seven replicable success stories, whereas in Libya, the programme helped maintain some civil society organisations active in a particularly difficult context. The following activities, among many others, are particularly interesting: the activities developed by El Bahdja Association d’Activités des Jeunes in Algeria to raise environmental awareness, the first eco-labelled hiking-fishing trail created by the Fly Fishing Club of the middle Atlas region in Morocco, or the promotion and management of the Sebket Soliman coastal lagoon in Tunisia (by the Association de l’Environnement et du Développement de Soliman). The study also highlights IUCN-Med’s good overall management, as well as the excellent work of the national coordinators who supported the civil society organisations locally.

On the basis of this experience, FFEM and MAVA are today considering, together with their partners, a second phase of PPI OSCAN, in order to support further the civil society organisations working towards the conservation of nature in North Africa.

Read more about PPI OSCAN and the civil society organisations on facebook.

05/10/17 – MAVA commits to supporting marine biodiversity over the next 5 years

Within the frame of the Ocean Conference taking place in Malta on 5/6 October 2017, we announce a 70 million Euro commitment over the next 5 years to the conservation of marine biodiversity in the Mediterranean Basin and in West Africa for the benefit of people and nature. More specifically, MAVA will provide 12 million to reduce environmental impacts of plastic pollution and oil and gas activities; 7 million to stimulate a blue economy focusing on coastal infrastructure development; 28 million to support sustainable fisheries for the benefit of local livelihoods and biodiversity; and 28 million to promote MPAs as a tool for protecting marine species, habitats and fish resources.

This is a continuation et reaffirmation of MAVA’s long-lasting engagement in favor of coastal and marine biodiversity, especially in the Mediterranean and West Africa.

03/10/17 - Promoting the conservation of sea birds in Cabo Verde

The action plan ‘Promoting the conservation of sea birds in Cabo Verde’, funded by MAVA and steered by BirdLife International, was officially launched during a workshop recently organised in Praia, the capital of this outstanding North Atlantic archipelago. The representatives of all the delegations of the National Directorate for the Environment (DNA) were present as well a few dozen experts coming from 15 national and international organisations. During the workshop it was possible to clarify and discuss the best approaches to the implementation of some project activities as well as particular aspects of the action plan’s governance, management and communication. The workshop was widely publicised in the local media.

Written press: Sapo Viajar, A Semana, A Naçao, Cabo Verde government and on television.

With MAVA’s support and the strong commitment of all the partners involved, the seabirds of Cabo Verde become a prized natural heritage for Cape Verdians.

02/10/17 – MAVA at Our Ocean Conference

Paule Gros will be representing MAVA at the Our Oceans conference hosted by the EU in Malta (5/6 October 2017). The aim of this conference is to inspire joint solutions and ambitious commitments for safe, secure, clean and sustainably managed oceans. MAVA’s intention in participating will be to get a clear understanding of global investments on the marine themes in which we are interested and in the marine geographies where we operate. It will be an opportunity to position MAVA’s action by stating in which fields we will invest in the next five years. Making our engagement visible by presenting our approaches and by indicating the amount of funding we have decided to invest will help us identify implementing and financial partners with whom to join forces.

27/09/17 - 25 years of work to recover traditional transhumance in Spain

On 21 September 2017, the Mesta association in Spain celebrated 25 years of work aiming to recover traditional transhumance along the canyons restoring the profession of shepherd, essential to a sustainable territory management.

Since then, some 60 herds have collaborated with the Mesta association, covering more than 90,000 km of cattle trails throughout Spain with about 350,000 sheep, goats, cows and horses. In addition to contributing to soil fertility and the biodiversity conservation, transhumance ensures connectivity between ecosystems, carbon in the grasslands and the fight against forest fires. Transhumance also supports social interrelations between the rural and urban world, spreading the importance of the ancient pastoral culture.

The revival of transhumance routes was supported by Dr Luc Hoffmann in its initial steps, then by MAVA Foundation. It remains at the heart of MAVA’s 2016-2022 strategy that seeks an amplification of the impressive work done in Spain to other Mediterranean countries where transhumance remains traditionally anchored.

29/08/17 – Advocating for sustainable agriculture in Switzerland

In view of the upcoming referenda in Switzerland on food security on 24 September 2017, BirdLife Switzerland, Greenpeace Switzerland, ProNatura and WWF Switzerland have come together and formed an ‘Alliance for an ecological agriculture’. This Alliance advocates for an agricultural and agri-food policy that promotes less intensive and more sustainable agriculture in Switzerland thus ensuring healthy, tasty and safe food.

With support from MAVA, the Alliance will be working to inform the Swiss population about the importance of preserving their agricultural land and not overexploiting the local ecosystems.

More information (in French and German) here.

29/08/17 – Encouraging results further to WAZA educational campaign

WAZA (World Association of Zoos and Aquariums)  and its member zoos and aquariums – with their level of public support, credibility and experience in fostering a connection between visitors and the animals in their care – are well positioned to help educate the public about protecting biodiversity. This was recently demonstrated through a global awareness campaign supported by MAVA, in conjunction with the global UN focus on biodiversity conservation for the next 10 years, called the “Decade on Biodiversity” for which WAZA signed up as formal partner.

With a selection of zoos and aquariums in different regions, a modular set of tools has been developed as a recognizable framework, but adaptable to regional, cultural and individual institutional situations. Raising awareness about biodiversity and the potential individual contribution to its conservation was the overall goal of this project.

Several papers have been published highlighting the interesting and encouraging results of this campaign. Download the articles here.

More on Biodiversity is Us campaign here.

16/08/17 - The devil ray’s future is in the details: Gaza research aims to protect the endangered devil ray

Mobula mobular is listed as an ‘Endangered’ species in IUCN’s Red List and is protected under several other Mediterranean-wide conventions, most countries refrain from catching this species. Because of their protected status, low commercial value and highly elusive nature, very little is known about the species and this population inhabiting the Mediterranean. The need to gather more information about the Mobula mobular aggregations off Gaza lead a local scientist (Mohammed Abu Daya of the National Research Center) to assemble a team of local and international experts with the support of the MAVA Foundation to gather and analyze information from the existing fishery with the objective of learning as much as possible about these rays, and with the ultimate goal of gaining them national protection. The research has monitored all elasmobranch catches in Gaza for 2 years, placed a few satellite tags on some rays to learn about their cruising patterns and ecological preferences, and has raised significant awareness about the ‘Endangered’ status of Mobula mobular.

Read the article here.

31/07/17 - Call for proposals: conservation of seagrass beds in West Africa


MAVA is launching a call for proposals for the conservation of seagrass beds in West Africa. The deadline for submission is 15th October 2017.

A single multi-stakeholder and regional project will be selected. You will find all necessary information in the ToRs.

Applicants are invited to submit a proposal by filling in the following canvas:

Project proposal

Budget and Budget instructions

14/07/17 - Call for proposal: MAVA intergenerational leadership programme

Let’s develop and implement a dual approach with young and senior professionals for developing young talents within MAVA partners

The MAVA Foundation is launching a call for proposals to develop and implement a tailor-made intergenerational leadership program. As MAVA will phase out of its funding to all partners by 2022, this new programme will be a key component of its strategy, building institutional resilience within MAVA partner organisations by supporting the professional development of young talents. We are looking for the organisation, or consortium of organisations, that will develop and implement this innovative programme for the value CHF 3 million over the next 4 years.

How to Apply?
Applicants are invited to consult the Call ‘MAVA intergenerational leadership programme – Development & implementation’ which is available in English.
Applications should be submitted in English using the MAVA Foundation Concept Note Template.

Short listed applicants (maximum of 3) will be invited for an interview.
Questions on this call can be addressed to:
The closing date for the submission of applications is Friday, 29 September 2017 at midnight CET. Applications can be addressed to:

10/07/17 - Gediz Delta in Turkey under major threat

Gediz Delta in western Turkey, one of the prime wetlands for Greater Flamingos in the world, is under major threat due to a proposed mega bridge project. Doga and other civil society organisations in Turkey opened a court case asking for the cancellation of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report, recently approved by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation of Turkey.

Gediz Delta, a Ramsar Site since 1998, is known to host around seven percent of the world population, and up to 30 percent of the European population of Greater Flamingos, during breeding and wintering seasons. Annually, 15 thousand pairs flamingos nest at the Gediz Delta, along with several threatened species such as the Dalmatian Pelican.

Doga has been working in the Gediz Delta since it was established in 2002, in cooperation with Tour du Valat and other allies, and MAVA has been supporting some of its work of the past years.

More details here.

20/06/17 - New horizons for the Luc Hoffmann Institute

A new strategy for the Luc Hoffmann Institute, which MAVA has agreed to fund for three years, was unveiled on 19 June during a gathering of colleagues and partners organisations.

The Institute was created by WWF and MAVA in 2011 to create stronger links between biodiversity science and conservation action. Since then it has worked closely with WWF and a range of partners on a diverse portfolio of projects.

“We need to broker new relationships between scientists, policy-makers and practitioners. Conservation needs a fresh perspective, one that challenges the ‘status quo’ to identify innovative roadmaps for change. This will be the new focus of the Luc Hoffmann Institute.” says Dr Jon Hutton, Director of the Luc Hoffmann Institute.

More information available here.

16/06/17 - Bačko Podunavlje declared new UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Serbia

MAVA welcomes the decision of the International coordination council of the UNESCO „Man and Biosphere“ program to include the the Backo Podunavlje biosphere reserve into their World List of Biosphere Reserves, at their Paris session on 14 June 2017.

Backo Podunavlje reserve is at the north-west of Vojvodina region, and is part of the „European Amazon“, one of the most undisturbed marshes and swamp regions in the whole course of the Danube river. This unique landscape is of precious biological diversity and is home to rare occurences such as river islands, straits and sandy river shores.

This decision is a very significant step in forming the cross-boundary Mura-Drava-Danube reserve, the first of its kind, spreading across five countries: Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia and Austria. MAVA has been supporting WWF-Austria’s work on this subject for several years and congratulates them for their hard work.

15/06/17 – MAVA as Core Philanthropic Partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation

We proud to be supporting the Ellen MacArthur Foundation as core partners since today. As Holger Schmid, Director of MAVA’s Sustainable Economy Programme says: “An economy that uses resources without consideration for our planet’s natural limits cannot continue. Our aim is to help policymakers and businesses alike realise the staggering benefits of a circular economy within natural limits – across human, natural and financial capital. Having supported the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in several successful projects since 2014, we are delighted to further our partnership, to help strengthen the organisation and its work across the scope of the circular economy.”

More info here.

13/06/17 - Mediterranean Pastures recognised in the EU Common Agriculture Policy

After several years of intensive lobbying from all the organisations involved (among others the EFNCP, WWF Spain, Transhumacia y Naturaleza, the Spanish Platform for Extensive Grazing and Pastoralism, FEDEHESA), the Commission of Agriculture of the European Parliament has proposed some amendments to the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) through the so-called Omnibus regulation. The following justification in particular, included in the amendments, is a crucial step forward for the work of MAVA’s partners on the Mediterranean pastures:

“The pastures in the Mediterranean countries have a very important component of woody species that are not taken into consideration in the actual definition of permanent pastures. Many of these woody pastures are of great environmental importance because of the diversity of habitats they offer to wild flora and fauna and their role in biodiversity conservation, soil protection, erosion and carbon storage. The exclusion of those pastures has a very environmental negative effect.”

Full details available here.

After receiving the Parliament and Council’s amendment proposals, the EU Commission hopes to reach an agreement between the 3 institutions. If so, the new package will enter into force 1 January 2018.

MAVA congratulates all those involved for their hard work in helping to highlight the importance of pastures in the Mediterranean region in particular.

29/05/17 - New team member joins the MAVA family!

Ms Marie Madeleine Gomez joined MAVA’s regional office in Dakar in May 2017 to manage the foundation’s West Africa portfolio on fisheries policy and conservation. Her role is to drive the development of multi-stakeholder action plans and assist partners in identifying and implementing projects related to overfishing and the effective management of critical biodiversity sites. Prior to joining MAVA, Marie worked for an intergovernmental fisheries cooperation institution (SFRC) as assistant programmer for scientific research on small pelagics in West Africa. And before that, she held various coordination roles on integrated marine and coastal resource management projects and capacity building for artisanal fisheries actors.
Join us in welcoming her to the MAVA team. She can be reached at

13/04/17 - MAVA’s 2016 Annual Report is out!

We are delighted to be able to present MAVA’s 2016 Annual Report! In this edition, we pay tribute to our founder, Luc Hoffmann, who passed away in July 2016 and whose vision still guides and inspires us today. You will also discover stories on some people who particularly inspired us in 2016 and learn more about the successes of some of our partners’ projects.

The report is available in pdf or online.

03/04/17 - Call for proposal: consultancy Orango Parque Hotel

MAVA is launching a new call for proposal for a consultancy on the management of a tourist infrastructure within a protected area in the Bijagos archipelago in Guinea-Bissau. Details on the consultancy and the submission process can be found here.

The application deadline is 30 April 2017.

20/03/17 - Call for proposal: Building public sector expertise on the deployment of sustainable infrastructure

The MAVA Foundation is launching a call for proposals to build public sector expertise in preparing, procuring, de-risking and financing sustainable infrastructure projects.

The MAVA Foundation will award one grant each, to two different recipients.  Each grant will be of the value CHF 500,000.  We seek proposals that cover 2 years of activity.

How to Apply?

Applicants are invited to consult the Call ‘Building public sector expertise on the deployment of sustainable infrastructure’ which is available in French and English.

Applications should be submitted using the MAVA Foundation Concept Note Template, which is available in French and English.  Applicants can use either language template to develop their proposal.

Short listed applicants will be invited for an interview and to submit a full application.

Questions on this call can be addressed to:

The closing date for the submission of applications is Monday, 22 May 2017 at midnight CET. Applications can be addressed to:

21/02/17 - Prespa Transboundary Park agreement ratified

The Prespa Transboundary Park agreement was recently ratified by Greece. This ratification comes seven years after the three states sharing the Prespa basin joined with the European Union and signed the International Agreement for the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Prespa Park Area. The Agreement had remained inactive until now because the Greek side had not ratified it.

This is a major step forward for the conservation of the region and a great victory for the organisations  – EuroNatur, Frankfurt Zoological Society, KORA, MES, Plantlife, PPNEA and the Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP) –  who have been working hard on this for the past years.

The Park aims to protect the ecological values of the area through collaboration between the three states, and also to promote the economic prosperity of the local communities in the three countries. The Transboundary Prespa Park is the first transboundary protected area in the Balkans.

14/02/17 – New circular design guide

IDEO and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation recently released the first thinking guide for the circular design, with the support of MAVA. Created to drive awareness of the circular economy, the practical guide encourages innovators, entrepreneurs and corporate change-makers to ask new questions about value creation and long-term business health, and apply circular principles to their own organisations.

Have a look at this interesting guide here.

01/02/17 – Innovating conservation finance

Financing is a recurring a key issue in conservation. Therefore, MAVA has paid special attention to this subject in its new strategy, the aim being notably to ensure sustainability of its impacts. This is a complex subject with no unique solution : each situation requires a specific approach involving a mix of complementary mechanisms. In order to better identify the most innovating conservation finance mechanisms, MAVA commissioned a report that you can read here. Although there is a specific emphasis on the Mediterranean and West Africa, the scope of the document is global.

By addressing the issue of conservation finance, MAVA’s objectives are two-fold: to contribute to the ongoing reflections on conservation finance, and to implement some of these mechanisms within its programmes.

For more information contact Thierry Renaud, Director, Impact & Sustainability at MAVA.

19/01/17 – Fintech and Sustainable Development: assessing the implications

Financial technology, known as ‘fintech’ is taking more and more place in today’s financial sector business models. Together with the Rockefeller Foundation, MAVA has supported the publication of a report on how the financial system’s core functions are likely to be disrupted by fintech innovations and how they could help – or hinder – efforts to align financing with sustainable development. Have a look at the full working paper.

16/01/17 - New action plan to profitably reuse and recycle 70% of plastic packaging globally

More than 40 industry leaders endorsed a new action plan at the WEF in Davos to tackle global plastics issues, and have begun working together to create a more effective global systems for plastics. The action plan is presented in a new study by the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (The New Plastics Economy: Catalysing action). MAVA is a major funder of the new plastics initiative.
The study reveals that concerted action by industry could result in reuse and recycling of 70% of all global plastic packaging, up from today’s recycling rate of just 14%. The remaining 30% of plastic packaging, equivalent to 10 billion garbage bags per year, needs fundamental redesign and innovation.

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