Press release

International conservation and environment projects receive £8 million

Some of the world’s richest environmental assets will be better protected following a multi-million pound announcement by Environment Minister Richard Benyon today.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Madagascan Pochard - credited to Owen Joiner at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust
Madagascan Pochard - credited to Owen Joiner at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust

The funding will see £8 million dedicated to environmental and conservation projects around the world under Defra’s Darwin Initiative. Around £6 million will be available for projects in developing countries and up to £2 million from the Darwin Plus fund for projects in our UK Overseas Territories.

The money can be used to fund projects that protect endangered wildlife and habitats while helping poorer communities improve their local environment and their livelihoods.

The Darwin Plus funding will go specifically towards supporting environmental and conservation projects in our 14 UK Overseas Territories, which are home to an estimated 90 percent of the biodiversity found within the UK and Territories combined.

Announcing the new round of funding, Environment Minister Richard Benyon said:

Over the years the Darwin Initiative has funded many projects across the globe - from helping to protect the critically endangered Bengal Florican bird to supporting under-threat populations of rare animals like the pygmy hippopotamus.

That is why I am so pleased to be able to announce a further £8 million to continue this legacy. This extra money will save many more vulnerable species while supporting the local communities who depend on them for their livelihoods.

The Darwin Initiative has funded projects in over 150 countries, including providing funding for vital training in Brazil so that local communities can work together to reduce Amazonian wildfires. In Ethiopia money has helped local people and poor communities protect their wild coffee forests.

More recently, funding has also helped newly discovered species such as the Burmese snub-nosed monkey, and projects working on wildlife-friendly farming in Cambodia and helping Kenyan communities conserve their coral reefs.

The Darwin Plus Fund, now in its second round, is supporting a range of projects in the Overseas Territories, including invasive lionfish control in the Caribbean, seabird monitoring in the southern ocean and a census of rare plants in St Helena.

Since its launch in 1992, the Darwin Initiative has committed £97 million to more than 800 projects in over 150 countries.

The latest call for applications for funding starts on Wednesday 19 June. For more information go to the Darwin initiative website

The Darwin Initiative assists countries that are rich in biodiversity but lack the money or technology required to meet their objectives under one or more of the three major biodiversity conventions.

The Darwin Plus: Overseas Territories Environment and Climate Fund: helps our UK OTs to conserve their often unique biodiversity and habitats as well as meet key international environmental obligations including climate change. It aims to help ensure the long-term sustainable environmental management of the Overseas Territories.

Published 19 June 2013