The announcement was made at the UN Convention on Biodiversity in Nagoya, Japan.

The money is intended to provide benefits for biodiversity by funding projects to reduce the destruction and degradation of habitats leading to the loss of animals and plants.

The Comprehensive Spending Review earmarked money for the UK’s contribution to the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) programme.

The money is aimed at helping developing countries prevent the loss of forests and the resulting threat to the climate and biodiversity.

Speaking at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meeting in Nagoya, Japan, environment secretary Caroline Spelman said: “Tackling deforestation is critical if we are to be successful in our goals to protect biodiversity, tackle climate change and reduce global poverty.

“Forests are home to over half of the world’s plants and animals, and support the livelihoods of over one billion people, while deforestation accounts for almost a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions.

“With so much at stake, the UK Government believes it’s time to establish a substantial and longstanding financial commitment to REDD+ to protect the world’s forests and the plants and animals that live in them.”

At the conference 193 countries are setting new targets to protect the natural environment. The UK government say they want to see gross tropical deforestation halved by 2020 and net global deforestation halted by 2030.

While there has been slow progress up to now on financial agreements and commitments at the UN conference, there has been movement with 15 of the 20 conservation targets now being agreed.

Alison Brown

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