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IUCN and partners submitted a successful offer to the open call for tender for “Measures towards sustaining the BEST preparatory action to promote the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services in EU outermost regions and overseas countries and territories”, through which the European Commission implemented the third year of the BEST Preparatory Action. The contract was signed in December 2013 and the project has run until the end of 2017.

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About the project

The overarching aim of the contract is to implement useful and critical measures for the future of BEST and sustaining the EU’s BEST initiative. The different activities will also constitute an important step towards implementing the Message from La Reunion and more specifically for the development of a voluntary scheme and the preparation of a dedicated financial mechanism both included in the 2008 agreement.

During the project 7 regional knowledge hubs will be set up to develop 7 regional ecosystem profiles fully capitalising on and in collaboration with on-going activities. This work shall ensure facilitation and anchorage of the European BEST initiative at the local level, foster dialogue in close consultation with the local actors on the priorities and the needs and ease the development of the BEST strategies and agreed activities.

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In addition a platform will be set up that shall enable and facilitate information-sharing on funding availability from different sources (EC but also MS and other possible partners — from international financial institutions to NGOs to private organisations and companies) for projects aimed at the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services in EU outermost regions and overseas countries and territories. This structure/platform will also serve as clearing house making information available between the finance providers and possible project implementers, as well as profiling projects and highlighting the opportunities for investments.

The contract has two main parts:

  • Part 1: Setting up and facilitating an interactive platform that will include the following tasks: setting up a BEST working team including 7 regional knowledge hubs, developing and managing an interactive website, setting up a steering committee and organising biannual steering committee meetings, enabling and facilitating information-sharing on funding availability, leverage of funds and outreach, and developing BEST strategies in close collaboration with ongoing activities, with local governments, stakeholders and civil society.
  • Part 2: Developing 7 regional ecosystem profiles and BEST strategies for better profiling the challenges and the needs for support in the ORs and OCTs. It will seek for synergies with relevant ongoing activities and the establishment of regional ecosystem profiles and BEST strategies for investment with the help of local actors, supported by the regional knowledge hubs as established in Part 1. 

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