Europe overseas go for BEST

11 February 2011 | Article

In October 2010, at the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 10) in Nagoya, Japan, representatives of the European Commission, the European Parliament, France and the United Kingdom jointly announced a voluntary scheme to promote the conservation and sustainable use of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in the Territories of European overseas (BEST). BEST is a unique opportunity to address issues of biodiversity loss and climate change in European overseas.

BEST aims to provide further means of protecting biodiversity and ecosystem services in Europea overseas by:

  • promoting the establishment and effective management of marine and terrestrial protected areas;
  • implementing sustainable management of marine and terrestrial resources;
  • strengthening conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services including through fostering green infrastructure and the development and use of ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation which often bring multiple benefits;
  • broadening the knowledge base and filling the gaps;
  • encouraging and facilitating transboundary working,addressing issues such as invasive alien species, the impacts of climate change and the implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the three Rio Conventions - the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), CBD and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD); and
  • developing mechanisms to lever resources, including ‘payments for ecosystem-services’ (PES).

A draft of the BEST concept was developed under the leadership of Mr Ladislav Miko, now Deputy Director General of the European Commission’s DG SANCO, previously acting as Director for Nature of the European Commission’s DG Environment.

Key supporters of BEST are Mr Maurice Ponga, and Mr Elie Hoarau, both Members of the European Parliament elected for the overseas constituency, who were instrumental in securing funding for 'preparatory action'. The funding was approved in December 2010 and foresees 2 million euro for the implementation of BEST pilot projects in 2011.

The initiative was announced by Mr Miko, Mr Ponga, Mr John Robb, former UK Nature Director and Ms Funny Lendi-Ramirez from the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing (MEDDTL).