Important sustainable development and biodiversity conservation projects in Europe’s Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) in the Polar/Subpolar, South Atlantic, Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Pacific regions are now able to seek funding.
Today, the BEST (Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in European Overseas Territories) 2.0 Programme is launching a call for proposals to support projects that promote the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services it supports, as a basis for sustainable development in EU OCTs. This first call is open to applications for small grants for the Indian Ocean, Polar/Subpolar and South Atlantic regions and medium grants for the Caribbean and Pacific regions.
Europe Overseas entities which include the 25 OCTs eligible for funding such as French Polynesia, Greenland, New Caledonia, the Dutch Caribbean and Ascension Island - just to name a few - host most of the EU’s biodiversity and give Europe the largest marine territory in the world. They are home to 5.8 million citizens who depend on healthy ecosystems for their livelihood and wider economy, and for adapting to climate change.
Natural ecosystems like coral reefs and mangroves help protect shorelines from storms and sea level rise. Healthy seas support fisheries, unique species and habitats that attract visitors – key to a tourism industry that is often the main driver of the local economy. Sustainable development that preserves this natural capital is vital for these overseas entities.
The BEST 2.0 Programme, coordinated by IUCN and supported by the European Commission Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) as part of the EU Biodiversity for Life (B4Life) initiative is offering much needed, accessible and targeted funding for on-the-ground conservation action and sustainable development.
On the dedicated BEST 2.0 Programme’s portal, interested parties can find the guidelines to apply for a small grant, a medium grant, eligibility criteria, answers to frequently asked questions and eligible applicants can submit a proposal.
Further information can be found on the EC BEST website, including the BEST initiative history, fact sheets on previously funded projects and updates on the work of the regional partners. Eighteen projects have previously been funded through BEST thanks to the EC and a first partner, the French Development Aid Agency.
These projects address a range of issues. As examples: project Tefra evaluated climate change impacts on the terrestrial ecosystems of the Falkland Islands; project Coca-Loca involves local fishers in sea turtle rescue and research within the Indian Ocean region; a Caribbean project successfully restored native ecosystems by controlling invasive species; and project Mang focuses on wetlands, aiming to preserve the vital ecosystem services these habitats provide.
Find out more about Europe Overseas entities, their natural wonders, as well as IUCN and its partners’ efforts to conserve them.