Project: Building capacity for bio-diversity conservation in Belarus
Funder: Defra's Environment for Europe Fund through the Partners for Environmental Cooperation in Europe (Pece) initiative
Steve Gray, programme development manager, Earthwatch Institute (Europe)
Why did you apply to this trust?
The Pece initiative set up by Defra matched a number of areas of interest and expertise for Earthwatch.
What did the application process involve?
We had to complete a form outlining the aims of the project and, to be eligible, we had to show that the project would be part of a private/public partnership, which we did by working with the Field Studies Council. We were also required to demonstrate match funding, which we had from HSBC - the company was already supporting the project in Belarus. We also had to show that we were working towards the priority themes of bio-diversity and sustainable development - a key part of the wetlands project in Belarus.
Is part of the money for infrastructure or training?
A key part of the project is to provide training in bio-diversity conservation and community engagement to conservationists from different countries across eastern Europe and central Asia. For Earthwatch, this project represented a strategic decision to take our capacity building programmes into a new region. The project is helping us to deliver our mission for a sustainable environment by working with new partners in new countries.
Did you apply to other funders?
No, but we are actively seeking further match funding.
WHY WE GAVE THE GRANT
The Earthwatch proposal for Belarus, applied for through the Pece fund, presented a practical solution to a key need in the region. Pece-funded projects are those that respond to a specific need of the country/region, and where the UK is particularly well placed to contribute to issues including bio-diversity for sustainable development. The proposal demonstrated long-term sustainability by involving, training and encouraging local people and groups, as well as drawing in valuable outside expertise. This means that vital bio-diversity work can continue independently of outside funding and support in the long term.