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Brussels, 22 May 2014
New EU initiative to protect biodiversity and fight wildlife crime
B4Life: United for Biodiversity
EU Biodiversity for Life (B4Life) marks a change in the way the EU provides support to protect biodiversity in developing countries. In the face of the growing global threats to biodiversity, it provides for more resources, strengthened capacity and better coordination with partners.
B4Life is one of EuropeAid’s new flagship initiatives, designed to encourage broad, cross-sector partnerships to tackle major development challenges. For B4Life, this means addressing the related challenges of protecting biodiversity and building sustainable livelihoods in a green economy.
B4Life thus responds both to the growing threat to global ecosystems, including from land use changes, unsustainable use of natural resources, poaching and wildlife crime, pollution and climate change; and to the need of the poorest communities, over 70% of whom live in rural areas and depend directly on ecosystem services for their subsistence.
Ecosystem services are the benefits people obtain from the wide variety of ecosystems across the Earth. These include provisioning services such as food and water; regulating services such as climate regulation, climate change mitigation, flood and disease control, pollination, and the maintenance of soil fertility; cultural services such as spiritual, recreational and cultural benefits; and supporting services, such as genetic diversity and habitats, that maintain the conditions for life on Earth.
B4Life will include projects with biodiversity as their main objective. This will include, for example, projects to support the sustainable management of protected areas, to develop trade in biodiversity-related products for sustainable livelihoods, to reduce deforestation and degradation of mangroves for the protection of coasts and nursery habitats for fish, and to increase monitoring and information sharing to fight wildlife crime.
In line with the EU’s Agenda for Change (its policy blueprint to target its resources where they are most needed and can be the most effective), B4Life will focus on those developing countries most in need and with the greatest potential, by paying particular attention to Least Developed Countries and countries containing “biodiversity hotspots”, the places where ecosystems and their services are the richest but also the most threatened, like the Congo Basin, Madagascar, the West African forests, Tropical Andes, Mesoamerica, Indian Western Ghats, Kalimantan…
B4Life will run for the current EU financial period, 2014-2020. During this period, there will be regular calls for project proposals according to the needs identified.
A “B4Life Facility” will be created to manage and coordinate delivery of the initiative. The Facility will provide technical support, enhance communication and coordination towards achieving international biodiversity targets and coherence, promote knowledge exchange for partners and beneficiaries, and enhance the visibility and coherence of the EU biodiversity-related interventions.
The wildlife crisis window is a contribution to addressing the wildlife poaching and trafficking crisis throughout the entire chain of wildlife consumption.
The challenge of wild life trafficking is huge and has recently experienced a dramatic acceleration. Illegal wildlife trade of endangered species has a major impact on biodiversity and represents a real threat to national security of many countries, and especially in Africa. Unprecedented poaching levels and sophisticated smuggling capabilities are indicative of organised criminal activity, severely compromising the security of entire communities.
The B4Life wildlife crisis window will scale-up the means allocated to tackle this issue, while addressing both supply- and demand-side, at local, national, regional and international levels. This will include increased protection of priority areas, monitoring and investigation measures and support to organisations specialised in the fight against international trafficking of endangered species.