UK Darwin Initiative funding to benefit international conservation projects

uk darwin initiative funding
© iStock/ChrisHepburn

The UK government’s Darwin Initiative has announced the recipients of its latest round of funding, aimed at protecting nature and the environment.

The 25th round of UK Darwin Initiative funding, which began in 1992, will distribute £8.2 million (€9.5 million) between 32 projects worldwide devoted to facilitating sustainable livelihoods and food security, while preserving animal and plant species at risk of extinction. The initiative has provided funding to more than 1,000 conservation projects since its inception.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “Nature matters; and the Darwin Initiative continues to support hundreds of projects that restore and enhance wildlife and nature. These schemes are helping nature and our wider environment, delivering clean air and water, sustainable food supplies, and recovery and resilience to natural disasters. That is why I am delighted to announce another £8.2 million of funding for these crucial projects. Our government is taking action at home and abroad to ensure we are the first generation to leave our environment in a better state than we found it.”

Projects benefiting from this round of UK Darwin Initiative funding include:

  • Flora and Fauna International, which is working towards protecting wild tulips and pastoral communities in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan;
  • The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh’s Know Your Onions project, promoting sustainability and capacity to cultivate agrifood in Tajikistan;
  • A wetlands resilience project conducted in Cambodia by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, working to boost biodiversity and restore habitats; and
  • The Zoological Society London’s work in Nepal under the title Ghodaghodi’s Guardians, restoring wetlands to improve water security and increase biodiversity in the region.

Chester Zoo has participated in five Darwin Initiative recipient projects since 2007, with the latest being the zoo’s ongoing work protecting Andean spectacle bears in South America. Dr Mark Pilgrim, Chief Executive Officer at Chester Zoo, said: “One million species are at risk of extinction. But Darwin Initiative funding has been vital in helping us to tackle human wildlife conflict worldwide – working side by side with local communities, protecting bears in Bolivia, elephants in India and tigers in Nepal. Conservation projects like these are urgent and critical. Our planet depends on them.”

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