The Director General of IUCN and the Director of the French Aid Agency (AFD) signed a financial agreement of 800,000 Euros last December. The grant aims at supporting the BEST initiative for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in the EU Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories, as well as IUCN’s work on the establishment of a dedicate tool for Europe overseas’ biodiversity.
IUCN has a longstanding partnership with the AFD. This new grant will help continue and extend the current BEST facilitation project IUCN is working on, and it will also fund two additional marine biodiversity conservation projects. These were shortlisted in the EU grant call in 2011 but did not receive financial support because of lack of funding. The two projects are:
- The COCA LOCA project for the preservation of the marine turtle Caretta caretta in the Indian Ocean – submitted by the Reunion island association Kelonia;
- The MANG project on coastal wetlands knowledge and capacity buidling in the EU overseas entities – submitted by the Atelier Technique des Espaces Naturels (ATEN) and the Conservatoire du Littoral.
“The support by the French Agency reflects the partnership approach of the BEST initiative and serves as an example for expanding cooperation for Europe overseas biodiversity” says Carole Martinez, Coordinator of the IUCN EU Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories Programme. The EU Biodiversity Strategy 2020 invites the European Commission, Member States and the Europe overseas entities to work together for the implementation of BEST.
Contributing to the capitalization of experience, the collaboration between IUCN and AFD also brings new support to the creation of future funds for BEST. Hosting 70% of the EU’s biodiversity, overseas entities are havens of exceptional biodiversity. They host more endemic species than the entire European continent. Stretched over more 4.4 million square kilometers, equivalent to EU area, these entities provide the EU with the biggest marine domain of the world with more than 15 million square kilometers.