World Environment Day – St Helena awarded almost £1 million for conservation projects

The UK Government has awarded almost £1 million for projects on St Helena to protect rare wildlife and vulnerable habitats to mark this year’s World Environment Day (5 June).

Funding applications were recommended to ministers by the Darwin Expert Committee, which consists of experts from NGOs, government, academia, science and the private sector. Successful applications from St Helena are:

  • Saint Helena Climate Change and Drought Warning Network (led by St Helena Government and Connect Saint Helena)

This project will support sectors including habitat management, disaster emergency planning, sustainable public water supply, agriculture and tourism.

  • Conserving St Helena’s endemic invertebrates through invasive invertebrate control (led by Saint Helena National Trust)

The project will facilitate endemic invertebrate recovery and re-establish their associated ecosystem functions, by testing and establishing invasive invertebrate control methods. The focus will be on the wasp Vespula vulgaris, key ant species (e.g. Pheidole megacephala) and the Springbok mantis (Miomantis caffra).

  • Community supported multispecies invasive vertebrate control on St Helena (led by Saint Helena National Trust)

This project aims to better understand invasive vertebrate distribution and interactions, leading to community supported control to promote recovery of native species, habitats, and promote agricultural productivity. This will help agricultural efforts, endemic habitat restoration and the survival of the Wirebird, the Island’s only endemic land bird.

International Environment Minister Lord Goldsmith said:

“World Environment Day provides us all with a stark reminder of the need to take urgent action to reverse global biodiversity loss.

“Through our Darwin Initiative and Darwin Plus programme, we are restoring many precious natural environments across the world, helping to transform the lives of the poorest communities and prevent the extinction of some of the world’s most wonderful species.”

Governor Dr Philip Rushbrook said:

“St Helena has an excellent track record in delivering environmental and conservation projects. Darwin Plus projects have made a huge difference to the understanding of St Helena’s natural environment, which is one of its key assets.

“I’m delighted the UK Government has provided this significant additional funding to the Island and I look forward to seeing the outcomes of these projects. Congratulations to St Helena Government, Connect Saint Helena and Saint Helena National Trust on their successful bids. Congratulations to Ascension and Tristan da Cunha for each securing funding for a project too.”

Acting Director of Saint Helena National Trust, Beth Taylor, said:

“The Trust is thrilled to have received both of our ambitious Darwin Plus Projects, and to be able to share this exciting news with St Helena on World Environment Day.

“We congratulate everyone involved in the development of the proposals and the other recipients of the Darwin Plus funding. We thoroughly look forward to working closely with local stakeholders, the community and external partners to fully realise these important conservation projects for St Helena.”

Since 1992, the Darwin Initiative has funded 1,200 projects from 159 countries, with a value of over £177 million.

At the Spring Budget, the UK Chancellor announced the UK Government would triple funding for the Darwin Plus programme to £10 million to help protect natural environments in UK Overseas Territories. This builds on the £220 million for biodiversity conservation in developing nations, and the doubling of UK international climate finance, announced by the Prime Minister at the UN General Assembly last year

A full list of projects, including a number of small schemes, to be supported by the Darwin Initiative and Darwin Plus programme is available on the Darwin Initiative website.

Governor’s Office, St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

5 June 2020

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470