Eco-projects go under the hammer

The European Commission took the unusual step this week of 'auctioning off' worthy environmental projects it did not have the budget to support, inviting individual states and private investors to back them instead.

On Friday, March 13 the commission played host to an event that sought to match projects with donors.

The Auction Floor event was held by the EC's EuropeanAid agency and put forward 86 potential projects for the consideration of donors.

The projects covered a wide range of environmental issues all over the world, from protecting biodiversity to combating desertification.

They were proposed by academic researchers, NGOs and each needed funding ranging from 400,000 to 3 million Euro.

The EC wanted to support all of the projects but budget constraints meant it was not possible. By giving each its seal of approval instead it hoped to help them attract funding.

For potential donors, it said, helping to implement these projects would help establish strong partnerships with civil society organisations and also gave them an opportunity to put words into action as far as the protection of the environment is concerned.

"The EU has set itself the goal to remain actively engaged in ensuring sustainable development in all four corners of our planet," said Benita Ferrero-Waldner, European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy.

"International cooperation is critical given current pressure on existing resources and challenges to global energy supply and security.

"Each of the projects presented at the Auction Floor deserves being implemented and thus this unique initiative was born to present these projects and the evaluation done by the Commission to potential donors.

"Thus we hope not only to help to find funding for these projects, but also to facilitate networking between actors in the development arena by sharing the results of the Commission's selection process."

David Gibbs



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