£8.7 million to fund key environmental projects around the world


£8.7 million to fund key environmental projects around the world

Some of the world’s greatest environmental assets will be preserved thanks to a British led initiative, Environment Minister Richard Benyon announced today.

The latest round of the Darwin Initiative will see a total of £8.7 million committed over the next three years, including £5.5 million to fund 21 new conservation projects in developing countries across Latin America, Africa and Asia.

In addition, a new ‘Darwin Plus’ fund will see around £2 million dedicated to supporting environmental projects in the UK Overseas Territories over the next two years. Funding for Darwin Plus will come from Defra, FCO and DFID and will go to projects such as eradicating invasive black rats from the British Indian Ocean Territory and developing marine and fisheries management for the Pitcairn Islands.

Announcing the new Darwin grants, Environment Minister Richard Benyon said:

“I am proud of the UK’s continuing commitment to international conservation as some of these countries are home to many plants and animals that are not found anywhere else in the world.

“This Initiative has helped some of the world’s poorest communities protect some of the most important wildlife on the planet.

“Our Overseas Territories are home to a wide variety of important species so I am particularly pleased to announce the first raft of projects to be funded under Darwin Plus, which is focussed on the UK Overseas Territories.”

The Darwin Initiative is also funding three smaller schemes totalling £500k, eleven scoping projects totalling £28k and six Darwin Fellowships totalling £108k.

“The latest round of projects shows us how we can work to protect nature: securing healthy, productive ecosystems that continue to provide ecosystem services and preventing a slide into poverty.”

Stepping down as Chair of the Darwin Expert Committee Professor David Macdonald added:

“I am immensely proud to have had the privilege of Chairing the Darwin Initiative for a decade – it has gone from strength to strength, and is praised from village huts to parliament buildings throughout the world , and with the new union of Defra and Dfid funding the Initiative launches into a new era of even greater impact.”

“It makes a huge contribution to wildlife, and indeed to Britain’s reputation as a force for good in the environment. The current batch of projects is at least as good as they have ever been, so we can look forward to major contributions to the well-being of both nature and people as these new projects take effect.”

The full list of projects that have been funded are as follows:

  • Managing the landscape-scale sustainability of Amazonian freshwater fisheries, University of East Anglia, £253,508
  • Strengthening Indian Ocean migratory elasmobranch conservation policy and fisher livelihoods, MRAG Ltd, £296,233
  • South Georgia Island Habitat Restoration Project: Mouse Eradication Sub-Project, South Georgia Heritage Trust (SGHT), £253, 058
  • Enhancing economic development through improved natural resource management on Montserrat, Coral Cay Conservation, £90,200
  • Creating Community Forests to Enhance biodiversity and Provide Educational Activities, St. Helena National Trust, £293,850
  • Developing a sustainable marine and fisheries management plan for the Pitcairn islands, University of Dundee, £249,946
  • Developing a pro-poor, sustainable bushmeat harvesting model in Cameroon , Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation, £228,658
  • Evaluating community-based Conservation agreements in Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve, Wildlife Conservation Society, £269,681
  • Delivering an MPA network for fisheries and biodiversity of Central Africa (RoCongo and Gabon) ,University of Exeter, £294,226
  • Social Assessment of Protected Areas, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), £239, 393
  • Community-based conservation and livelihoods development within Kenya’s Boni-Dodori forest, WWF-Kenya, £297,500
  • Improving anti-poaching patrol evaluation and design in African rainforests, University of Oxford, £240,024
  • Medicinal plant trade, Conservation and local livelihoods in southern Morocco, Global Diversity Foundation, £279,950
  • Conserving biodiversity and reducing poverty through wildlife-friendly farming in Cambodia , Wildlife Conservation Society, £249,952
  • Economic incentives to conserve Hilsa fish (Tenualosa Ilisha) in Bangladesh , International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), £208,315
  • Socio-ecological landscapes for biodiversity conservation and climate change adaptation, Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology (DICE), £171,317
  • Strengthening the capability of Kenyan communities to conserve coral reefs, Wildlife Conservation Society, £181,533
  • Pesticide impacts on biodiversity in Ethiopia and agro-ecological solutions, Pesticide Action Network, £299,565
  • Wof Washa Forest: Sustainable management for Resilient livelihoods, Tree Aid £302,333
  • Madagascar Agroforestry livelihoods Project, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, £263,344
  • Forest Futures: livelihoods and sustainable forest management in Bolivian Amazon, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, £259,033
  • Enhancing habitat connectivity through sustainable development around the Gola Rainforest, RSPB, £271,076
  • An integrated approach to enhancing socio-ecological resilience in coastal Mozambique, Zoological Society of London (ZSL), £327,563
  • Delivering sustainable forest management for Fiji’s people and wildlife, Birdlife International, £309,407
  • Scaling up biodiversity conservation and ecological connectivity across Caribbean Guatemala, FUNDAECO, £269,445
  • Participatory management and sustainable use of walnut-fruit forests in Kyrgyzstan, Fauna and Flora International (FFI), £145,887
  • Harnessing livelihood benefits from a payment for environmental services scheme, Chimpanzee Sanctuary & Wildlife Conservation Trust, £162,576
  • Assuring Engagement in Cayman’s Enhanced Marine Protected Area System, Bangor University, £190,000


The awarded Darwin Plus projects are as follows:

  • Bermuda invasive Lionfish control initiative, Bermuda Zoological Society, £169,898
  • An autonomous seabird monitoring network for the southern ocean, University of Oxford, £215,848
  • Biodiversity action planning in the Falkland Islands, Falkland Conservation, £105,200
  • Upgrade and revision of reef survey resource, Charles Sheppard, £8,000
  • Sustainable management of the marine environment and resources of Tristan da Cunha, RSPB, £285,673
  • Seed conservation in the Caribbean UKOTs, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, £95,755
  • Using seabirds to inform Caribbean marine planning, University of Liverpool, £226,367
  • Rare plant census of St Helena, St Helena Nature Conservation Group, £8,650
  • Antarctic and sub-antarctic marine protected areas: using penguin tracking data to identify candidate areas, British Antarctic Survey, £142,176
  • Coral nursery project in Little Cayman: enhancing resilience and natural capacity of coral reefs in the UKOTs, Central Caribbean Marine Institute, £41,631
  • Ile Vache marine restoration project, Chagos Conservation Trust, £32,256
  • Conserving plant diversity and establishing ecosystem based approaches to the management of forest ecosystems in the BVIs, National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands, £83,915
  • Promoting the creation and appropriate management of protected areas in Anguilla and the Cayman Islands, Anguilla National Trust, £193,568
  • Building capacity to develop and provide long term sustainability for St Helena’s paper and card recycling unit, St Helena Active Participation in Enterprise (SHAPE), £99,200


The awarded scoping projects are as follows:

  • Mainstreaming Biodiversity and Sustainable Livelihoods in the Yayu Biosphere Reserve, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, £2,714
  • Rejuvenating agro-biodiversity for sustainable rural livelihoods in India, Sense and Sustainability, £1,395
  • Building capacity for orchid income generation and conservation in Laos, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, £2,600
  • Black rhino reintroduction to secure former range in Uganda, Fauna and Flora International (FFI), £1,575
  • Conservation and livelihoods around Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, Palawan, Philippines, University of Newcastle, £3,000
  • Koytendag – Conservation Management of Turkmenistan’s natural and geological wonder, RSPB, £2,952
  • Poverty alleviation and sustainable development in Cape Verde’s biodiversity hotspots, Fauna and Flora International (FFI), £3,000
  • Eels – A flagship species for freshwater conservation in the Philippines, Zoological Society of London, £3,000
  • Securing mangroves and livelihoods in the Douala-Edea coastal landscape, Cameroon, Zoological Society of London, £2,850
  • Building environmental planning capacity, training and data access in Afghanistan, Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, £3,000
  • Meliponiculture for Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development in Belize, Community Conservation Inc, £1,630


The Darwin Fellows awarded are as follows:

  • Daniel Soto, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
  • Sydney Ndolo Ebika, Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh
  • Phetlasy Souladeth, Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh
  • Misbahou Mohamed, Bristol Conservation & Science Foundation
  • Sangeeta Rajbhandary, Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh
  • Karina Aguilar Vizcaino, University of Leeds