ELP project launches new tool to help prioritise funding for restoration funding in Europe

Posted: 16th September 2020

Photo: Liesje Birchenough / Fauna & Flora International

We are proud to announce that an ELP-funded Enabling Project has today launched a tool to help practitioners and donors demystify the funding landscape for ecosystem restoration in Europe. Led by the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and Fauna & Flora International (FFI), the project aims to capitalise on a growing understanding that we must do more than simply conserve the nature we have left in Europe – that we must work to restore what has been lost.

The 1.5 year project, entitled “Mapping the Funding Landscape for Restoration in Europe”, has gathered information on ecosystem restoration projects from the last decade, across all of Europe, to address a lack of data on how those projects were funded. Holly Brooks from UNEP-WCMC says, “With the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration beginning next year, this project provides important baselines to measure ecosystem restoration targets against, whilst also highlighting areas where further funding is needed.” The Decade is expected to act as a catalyst for setting ambitious restoration targets and commitments, but to achieve these there will need to be an increase in both the amount of funding available for restoration and its coordination.

By understanding the flow of funding for ecosystem restoration during the past decade, the team have identified trends, gaps and opportunities to support coordinated decision-making in the future. Photo: Akdeniz Koruma Derneği.

By providing an overview of funding trends across Europe, the project team hopes that donors and decision makers will be able to identify and address gaps, opportunities and priorities for restoration. The team hope this will, in turn, support implementation of more effective restoration of degraded marine, terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems and ecosystem services.

The project’s newly launched report, entitled “Funding Ecosystem Restoration in Europe”, contains a high-level analysis of what was funded, where, by whom, how much and for what purpose. It is accompanied by a freely available database of over 400 ecosystem restoration projects which were analysed to inform the report. Together, they provide a much-needed tool for policy makers and practitioners that will:

  • Enable more informed decisions on prioritisation of funding and effort;
  • Provide a baseline against which future decisions and funding allocations can be measured; and,
  • Enable restoration practitioners to identify opportunities for funding and collaboration in relation to their own projects.

A figure from the report showing the percentage and amount of funding committed by each type of funder for terrestrial, marine and all types of restoration projects.

Key findings from the project’s analysis include:

  • During the last decade, more than €2 billion has been committed to over 400 projects, restoring over 11 million hectares of degraded ecosystems across Europe.
  • To enable this, more than 200 funders from international bodies (most notably the European Commission), European governments, foundations and the private sector committed more than €847 million in primary funding, with a further €360 million committed as co-funding.
  • Over 85% of the restoration projects focused on terrestrial ecosystems totalling over €1 billion in project funding, with the majority of projects focusing on forests, grasslands and wetlands.
  • Over €138 million has been committed to restoring European seas, focusing primarily on coastal ecosystems.
  • Biodiversity conservation was the focus for over 80% of projects and received nearly 80% of the known funding. The stated aims of the remaining projects predominantly reflect climate change-related benefits, such as mitigation and adaptation.

Amy Duthie from FFI says, “This project means that people working to restore ecosystems will now be able to find potential partners and funders more quickly and easily. It also means they can identify any places where there is a need for ecosystem restoration but no projects underway, and target their future work to fill these gaps.”

You can find out more about the outputs of the project from their full report, and associated database.

To find out more about this initiative or to contribute details of your European restoration project to this dataset, please email the team at info@restorationfunders.com.

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