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Celebrating International Day For Biodiversity With Funding For New FAO Projects In The Pacific

Published: Wed 22 May 2024 09:09 AM
22/5/2024 – Apia, Samoa – Two Pacific small island states are set to benefit from a new wave of global funding to help countries protect and prosper from biodiversity.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) will implement projects in Palau and Samoa with financing from the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
The projects are the first in the Pacific to be approved by GBFF since the fund was established last year. The fund mobilises investment for countries – especially small island developing states and least developed countries – to meet international biodiversity targets set under the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, also known as the Biodiversity Plan. The new funding will support a total of 18 projects across 21 countries.
The two FAO-led projects will support the conservation of biodiversity, strengthen stewardship of natural resources, enhance capacity for restoration, improve mapping and planning, provide training, and build partnerships for sustainable agribusiness and agritourism.
The projects were approved in the lead up to International Day for Biological Diversity, held each year on 22 May, which aims to raise awareness about the crucial importance of the variety of life on Earth.
Biodiversity is fundamental to human well-being, a healthy planet, and economic prosperity for all people, including for living well in balance and in harmony with Mother Earth. We depend on it for food, medicine, energy, clean air and water, resilience from natural disasters, as well as recreation and cultural inspiration. It supports all systems of life on Earth, including agrifood systems.
This year’s International Day for Biological Diversity calls for action to implement the Biodiversity Plan. Through 23 targets, the Biodiversity Plan aims to transform our relationship with biodiversity by 2030 – in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals – and ensure that we are living in harmony with nature by 2050. The FAO-led GBFF projects will support Palau and Samoa in achieving Biodiversity Plan targets on protected areas, ecosystem restoration, biodiversity mainstreaming in agriculture, indigenous peoples, and gender.
Xiangjun Yao, FAO Subregional Coordinator for the Pacific Islands, said that FAO is proud to partner with the governments of Samoa and Palau to safeguard precious biodiversity.
Raushan Kumar, Better Environment Module Leader and Forestry Officer, said: “We acknowledge the leadership of both governments, in particular Palau’s Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment, and Samoa’s Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. Their inputs, together with those of their technical officers, helped to improve the design of the projects.”Palau
The archipelago nation of Palau is one of the world’s most biologically diverse marine environments, and its more than 700 islands have the richest terrestrial biodiversity in Micronesia. A high share of the country’s economy is based on tourism and the ocean. Urbanisation, unsustainable tourism, commercial agriculture, and climate change are damaging Palau’s land and sea ecosystems.
The project will support model commercial farms that demonstrate sustainable farming and agritourism, directly benefiting 1,255 people including indigenous youth entrepreneurs.Samoa
Samoa lies within the Polynesia-Micronesia Biodiversity Hotspot, and after millions of years of isolation, there is a bounty of plant and animal species found only in this region. Samoa’s rich and unique biodiversity is, however, threatened by habitat destruction from unsustainable agriculture, forestry, and fisheries. Challenges persist when deciding whether to conserve land or use it for agriculture.
The project aims to create a national forest inventory and to improve management of 53 000 hectares of land, including 21 462 of protected areas, through inclusive planning with indigenous people and geo-spatial planning. Around 5 000 people will benefit.About the Global Environment Facility
GEF is a multilateral group of funds dedicated to confronting biodiversity loss, climate change, and pollution, and supporting land and ocean health. Its financing enables developing countries to address complex challenges and work towards international environmental goals. The Global Biodiversity Framework Fund was launched last August to support the Biodiversity Plan. So far, it has received contributions from six countries: Canada, Germany, Japan, Luxembourg, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
Since 2006, FAO has partnered with the GEF to address the most critical issues at the nexus of agrifood systems and the environment. FAO’s global GEF portfolio currently exceeds USD 1.4 billion, assisting more than 120 countries in projects that respond to local priorities, deliver global environmental benefits, and advance the Sustainable Development Goals.

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