The UK government’s Darwin Initiative grant scheme has selected 52 global biodiversity and conservation projects to receive £10.6m (~€12m).
The announcement coincides with the International Day for Biological Diversity (22 May), and delivers on commitments established in the UK government’s 25 year environment plan. The Darwin Initiative has supported global biodiversity and conservation projects since 1992, having provided a total of £140m to 1,068 projects from 159 countries in that time.
The most recent 52 projects to receive funding were selected because they help to meet the UK’s environmental commitments as part of its 25-year plan, including protecting the marine environment, securing biodiversity – particularly in the poorest communities around the world – and preventing the extinction of endangered species. In Europe, rewilding efforts have become vital in recent years.
What types of projects have been funded?
The newly announced crop of Darwin Initiative grantees includes conservation projects based in Kenya, Nepal, Bolivia and elsewhere, which focus on many different factors concerning biodiversity, and examining the economic and environmental impact.
For example, one project which has been funded will examine human-bear coexistence in the southern Bolivian Andes, and link poverty reduction to biodiversity by improving quality of life. Another project will help to conserve snow leopards in Nepal, following legislative changes in the country which will devolve more biodiversity and conservation powers to local municipalities.
How has the government responded?
The UK’s environment secretary, Michael Gove, reflected on the importance of the International Day for Biological Diversity, and welcomed the impact that the Darwin Initiative has had over the past 26 years in protecting and securing the natural world.
He said: “International Day for Biological Diversity offers an important moment for us all to consider how we can help the natural environment thrive on our planet. Through the Darwin Initiative, we are driving change to protect and enhance international biodiversity. Our 25 Year Environment Plan has set the priorities for funding and demonstrates the UK’s global leadership.”