Financial support is available for projects seeking to safeguard the world's biodiversity by drawing on UK strengths in this area to assist countries that are rich in biodiversity but poor in financial resources.
Round 20 funding will be provided by the Department for International Development's (DFID) Climate and Environment Research budget.
Approximately £8 million is available for the current round of funding.
DEFRA does not expect to fund projects for longer than three years.
DEFRA will give priority to applications that have secured match funding from other sources. Typical Darwin Initiative projects tend to secure approximately 30-50% of funding from other sources.
The Darwin Initiative seeks to help safeguard the world's biodiversity by drawing on UK biodiversity expertise to work with local partners in countries that are rich in biodiversity but poor in financial resources.
The key objective of the Darwin Initiative is to draw on expertise relevant to biodiversity from within the United Kingdom to work with local partners in countries rich in biodiversity but poor in resources to achieve:
- The conservation of biological diversity.
- The sustainable use of its components.
- The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources.
Originally focusing on supporting projects to achieve their Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) commitments, the Darwin Initiative now also includes the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS or the Bonn Convention). There has also been a shift of focus to ensure that more projects adopt ecosystem-based approaches to conservation and to ensure that the needs of the UK's Overseas Territories are adequately supported. Examples of key issues are:
- Means of delivering sustainable use including economic incentives.
- Access to genetic resources and benefit sharing.
- Clearing House mechanism models.
- Transfer of technology.
- Intellectual Property rights.
- Capacity building in support of implementation and synergies with other biodiversity-related treaties.
- The Darwin Initiative seeks to fund projects that will not otherwise secure funding from alternative sources. Therefore funding will not be provided for existing programmes of work which already have sufficient funding.
- The Darwin Initiative cannot fund projects in any EU Member State,
- Projects likely to receive funding for the same work from other grants schemes will not normally qualify for Darwin funding, except when providing matched funding to complement Darwin support.
- Funding will not normally be given for individual PhD studies.
Grants may be given to organisations or institutions in the UK with expertise in the biodiversity field, in disciplines that are biodiversity-related or whose work may have impact on biodiversity. Applications are invited from the public and private sectors.
Eligible host countries are as follows:
- Developing countries.
- Non EU Member States: Central and Eastern European countries and former republics of the Soviet Union that are in transition to a market economy.
- All UK Overseas Territories.
Grants are usually limited to a percentage of the total cost of the project. Priority will therefore be given to projects which have match funding from other sources (e.g. private sector funding, funding from charitable organisations or other public sector sources).
Funding should act as a catalyst to generate additional amounts of funding for project work, in order to carry out additional work (during or beyond the project lifetime) and engage more stakeholders. The project should be unlikely to go ahead without Darwin funding. Collaborating host countries are expected whenever possible, to contribute to the project costs. This may be in kind, for example through provision of staff time or facilities. Applicants should take care, however, that their choice of partner does not compromise biodiversity objectives.
- Grants are intended to provide support towards revenue costs, such as salaries and office running costs, including audit costs.
- Some support will be provided for capital costs, which will typically be not more than 10% and only where necessary to enable the main work programme to be carried out.
Within the overall context of contribution to implementation of the CBD, the Darwin Advisory Committee has highlighted five priority areas for Darwin funding:
- Institutional capacity building - providing assistance to those institutions and individuals in need of support, either because of insufficient financial resources or a lack of expertise.
- Training - Focusing on long term development of in-country training capacity, or meeting more immediate needs using the UK's training infrastructure. Support may be given for short courses in the UK on conservation and sustainable use of resources.
- Research - Technical or scientific investigation, including at least one of the following:
- Preparation of biodiversity management plans or the implementation of practical initiatives arising from those plans.
- Analysis of processes that influence biodiversity and developing solutions for overcoming resulting problems.
- Improvement of the information base on particular species, from mammals and trees to micro-organisms.
- Development of tools to measure biodiversity change.
- Mechanisms should be built into research projects to ensure that they are subsequently used to influence or inform policy.
- Environmental education or awareness - setting up programmes to increase public awareness of biodiversity issues.
- Development - Setting up projects that consider the livelihoods and development of those host countries involved. Projects may look to develop appropriate benefits and incentives for local people for biodiversity conservation and may be based on a socio-economic context.