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SOS Rhino : In the News : ETHIOPIA: Britain backs bio-diversity scheme

ETHIOPIA: Britain backs bio-diversity scheme


© UNDP/Dominic Harcourt-Webster

ADDIS ABABA, 25 Mar 2003 (IRIN) - The British government announced on Tuesday that it is backing an ecological scheme aimed at protecting Ethiopia’s indigenous plant life.

The research programme aims to protect and boost native species of trees, rather than fast growing imports which can damage the environment. Massive deforestation in Ethiopia has left less than three percent of the country covered in trees.

The scheme will look at the role played by community tree seeds in reversing the scale of damage caused by cutting down trees. The project is part of a three-year research programme, run in partnership with the world-renowned Royal Botanic Garden at Kew in London.

The funding comes under the Darwin Initiative which was established at the Rio Summit in 1992 and aims to safeguard the world’s biodiversity. Each year, some 30 schemes are funded worldwide through the British government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Other projects in east Africa that are receiving support include the conservation of flamingos on Lake Bogoria in Kenya and rhino studies.

“The Darwin Initiative represents part of the UK’s commitment to tackling bio-diversity problems at an international level,” said Myles Wickstead, Britain's ambassador to Ethiopia.

Britain also announced that it would provide additional GBP 4.5 million to tackle the drought in the country. The funds – on top of the GBP 33 million in humanitarian support for 2002 – will be used by UN agencies and charities working in drought-afflicted areas.



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