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Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Territories of European Overseas (BEST 2.0)

The BEST 2.0 Programme is a funding facility, supported by the European Commission as part of the EU Biodiversity for Life (B4Life) flagship. It aims to support the objectives of the BEST Initiative by facilitating the continuation of important environmental and conservation work providing grant funding for small-scale and medium-scale field actions on the ground for biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in the EU Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) – countries and territories with a special link to one of the following Member States: Denmark, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

The OCTs are found in five regions around the world:

  • Pacific
  • Caribbean
  • South Atlantic
  • Indian Ocean
  • Polar and Sub-Polar
Map showing the five regions of overseas Countries and Territories
BEST 2.0 map showing the five regions of overseas Countries and Territories eligible for grant aid.

The South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute (SAERI) is in charge of coordinating the BEST 2.0 project for the South Atlantic Overseas Territories (OTs) and cover the following areas: Ascension Island (UK), St Helena (UK), Tristan da Cunha (UK) and the Falkland Islands (UK)

Panoramas of Ascension Island, St Helena, Tristan da Cunha and the Falkland Islands.
Panoramas (clockwise from top left) of Ascension Island, St Helena, the Falkland Islands and Tristan da Cunha.

Background

Photo of mountains on St Helena.

The majority of Europe’s biodiversity is found in its overseas entities – European Overseas Outer Regions (ORs) and Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs). The OCTs span the globe from the Arctic to the Antarctic. They are set in unique environments, include recognized key biodiversity areas, and most are critical to ecosystem services of local, regional and global importance.

Whale

Biodiversity in the ORs and OCTs is very rich but also at risk, particularly from being vulnerable to invasive species, development and climate change. BEST 2.0 is essential to address the conservation and sustainable development needs in the European Overseas and aims to pilot an innovative financing mechanism for biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in the EU OCTs by setting up a funding facility for small-scale and medium-scale field actions on the ground.

Objectives of BEST 2.0

Promote the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable use of ecosystem services, including ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation, as a basis for sustainable development in OCTs.

Enable, empower and strengthen local authorities and civil society organisations which are committed to local development, biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of ecosystem services in OCTs.

BEST 2.0 is designed provide substantive and effective support for actions at local and regional level, regional cooperation being key in the regions where the OCTs are located. BEST 2.0 will also catalyse the efforts and will constitute a key contribution to the achievement of global objectives and goals in terms of biodiversity, sustainable development and climate change.

Actions

As a grant scheme, BEST 2.0 organises calls for proposals in order to fund actions on the ground, both at the local and regional level.

61 projects have been funded by the BEST 2.0 programme:

On the South Atlantic region, of a total of 8 Small Grant proposals for the 2015 & 2017 Small Grant call, 5 projects were selected. And, of a total of 4 Medium Grant proposals for the 2016 Medium Grant call, 1 project was selected.

Small Grant Projects:

Restoration of Peak Dale’s St Helena Gumwood Forest  – COMPLETED

Developing a site-based conservation approach for sei whales, Balaenoptera borealis, at Berkeley Sound – COMPLETED

Trails and interpretation improvements in the Peaks National Park, St Helena – COMPLETED

Forest Restoration and Improved Biosecurity on Nightingale Island – COMPLETED

Nurseries for Nature: Increasing Capability at St Helena’s Endemic Nurseries – COMPLETED

Medium Grant Project:

An ecological assessment of Ascension Island’s shallow-water seamounts as candidate Marine Protected Areas – COMPLETED

Promotional videos

Links of interest

  • South Atlantic region BEST 2.0 projects
  • BEST 2.0+ is a funding facility supported by the European Commission (DG DEVCO) as part of the EU Biodiversity for Life (B4Life) flagship.
  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) provides public, private and non-governmental organisations with the knowledge and tools that enable human progress, economic development and nature conservation to take place together.
  • The European Union is the key funding body in the BEST programme.
  • B4Life responds to global threats to biodiversity and addresses the need to enable sustainable development as part of efforts to conserve ecosystems.