© 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
“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