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UK pledges £34m for ecological protection overseas

Image credit: Nils Leonhardt | Unsplash

The UK has pledged £34m to preserve wildlife, plants and habitats across the globe as part of plans to improve protection of nature.

Nearly £30m will go to support developing countries in delivering the ‘30x30’ target, which is aiming to protect least 30 per cent of the world’s land and ocean habitats by 2030.

The target has the support of over 100 countries globally, with UK negotiators driving to get it included in a new UN Global Biodiversity Framework being negotiated in Montreal this week.

In 2020, the government pledged to stick to the 30x30 target for land and sea in the UK, but a recent report found that only minimal progress has been made on plans to meet this commitment so far.

As well as the funding for developing countries, an additional £5.79m of new funding will be spent on conservation projects in UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs).

These include using satellite technology to monitor seabird populations in South Georgia and measuring the impact of humpback whales on krill populations around the South Atlantic islands.

Other projects will see the reintroduction of threatened plants such as Falkland Rock Cress and two bird species – Cobb’s Wren and Tussac-bird – to the Falkland Islands wildlife reserves.

The £34m pledged is just a tiny proportion of the £384bn that the UN’s environment watchdog says will be needed annually to protect and manage the world’s ecosystems by 2025.

A major announcement is expected soon from countries committing to deliver $10bn a year in new nature finance, from a range of sources including the EU and other nations and the private sector.

Environment secretary Thérèse Coffey said: “At COP15, countries can put nature back on the road to recovery with a strong global biodiversity framework that includes a commitment to see at least 30 per cent of the world’s land and ocean protected by 2030.”

The announcement was made as the next stage of negotiations at COP15, known as the 'High-Level Segment', commenced, with world leaders, international businesses and civil society coming together to agree action to reverse the twin challenges of nature loss and climate change.

Earlier this month, the EU agreed on a new law to prevent firms involved in deforestation selling the likes of coffee, beef, soy and other commodities into the European market.

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