UK announces £6.4m to protect biodiversity in overseas territories

Green turtles and the West Indian whistling duck are some of the species that will be protected

Big Zero Report 2022

The government has announced £6.4 million of funding to ensure threatened species, such as green turtles and the West Indian whistling duck, across the UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) are protected.

UKOTs are unique and globally significant nature hotspots made up of thousands of small islands, vast oceans and dense rainforests, with the areas thriving with unique wildlife and contain 94% of the UK’s biodiversity.

A total of 20 environmental recovery projects will be supported to deliver marine conservation, research into threatened species and improve resilience to climate change.

They will help deliver the commitments set out in the Environment Act to halt and reverse the decline of biodiversity and improve species abundance by 10% by 2042.

Lord Zac Goldsmith, International Environment Minister said: “From rare sea birds to threatened coral reefs and plants, the Darwin Plus initiative is instrumental in protecting and restoring our precious natural environment across the Overseas Territories.

“This investment will enhance our global capability to respond to climate change, address biodiversity decline and help safeguard the future of these unique habitats for the next generation.”

Since 2012, the government has contributed more than £38 million towards 180 projects in the UK Overseas Territories through Darwin Plus and has committed £30 million over the next three years to support even more environmental projects in these areas.

Jonathan Hall, Head of UK Overseas Territories at RSPB added: “This is some of the most cost-effective conservation funding there is.

“We’re delighted Defra has increased this vital Darwin Plus fund, which is helping Territory conservationists deliver incredible work to protect vast marine reserves, fragile albatross islands and key carbon-rich habitats such as mangroves.”

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