News story: Plants at the heart of the latest call for Darwin Initiative bids

first_img UN International Day for Biological Diversity celebrates the wonderful diversity of nature and wildlife around our planet. Nature delivers many environmental benefits including clean air and water, sustainable food supplies, and recovery and resilience to natural disasters. The Darwin Initiative delivers support for international nature conservation projects and many economic activities depend on nature, including agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism. The UK government is today (22 May) celebrating United Nations International Day of Biological Diversity by making funding available to protect wildlife across the globe.The theme for this year is ‘our biodiversity, our food, our health’. It comes as the Darwin Initiative re-opens for new projects to apply for funding in the latest round.Since 1992, the fund has been putting an emphasis on nature and health, and providing security of food supply to rural communities in some of the most remote parts of the globe – supporting the Sustainable Development Goals on protecting and enhancing nature.The Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund, which now accepts bids from projects aimed at combating the illegal trade in plants in addition to animal-focused projects, is also looking to back new schemes. This fund has received the support of £6 million of UK Aid over the next five years to make sure that more vital projects can go ahead.Recent reports on international nature have put the issue of species loss high on the nation’s agenda. The UN’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services report showed nearly a million species are in danger of extinction and the Darwin Initiative is part of the UK government’s response to this emerging issue.The latest round of funding comes during the government’s Year of Green Action, a year-long drive to help people to connect with, protect and enhance nature.Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: Fisheries protection in the PhilippinesThe Darwin Initiative has supported two projects with a total of nearly £800,000 both aimed at better protecting important coastal habitats in the Philippines and making sure that local communities have access to sustainable fisheries.Marine protected areas (MPAs) are a key tool for sustaining marine biodiversity and fish stocks. Twenty-five per cent of the world’s MPAs are in the Philippines, 95% of which are community based.However, the average size of the critical no-take “replenishment” zones within these MPAs is only 12 hectares, which is inadequate to fulfil conservation objectives, and only 12% were rated as sustained at the last assessment, owing to an overdependence on philanthropic funding.Small and unsustainable MPAs are driven by a lack of adequate business models underpinning these conservation measures. As a result, marginalised fishing communities faced with the need to feed their families today cannot afford to set aside large enough areas in the hope that they will generate increased fish catches in the future. Additionally, MPAs have traditionally focused on coral reefs and have failed to incorporate other critical habitats.ZSL’s (Zoological Society of London) Net-Works initiative has been pioneering the iMPA – which describes the “ideal MPA”, but also interpreted as innovative, inclusive, improved. These are bigger in size, better managed and enforced and sustainably financed using the Net-Works business model.Dr Nick Hill, Senior Technical Specialist at ZSL, said: Projects supported by the Darwin Initiative are illustrative of a ‘win-win’ approach, encouraging sustainable livelihoods whilst conserving some of the world’s iconic and endangered species and landscapes, which benefits us all. This official status is vital in Guinea. Habitat loss has been devastating with calculations that 96% of the country’s original forest has already been cleared, and that which remains is under severe pressure. It looks like as many as 35 species have gone extinct in Guinea, from trees to minute herbs, daisies, peas and clematis, all due to human pressures. Twenty-five of these are globally unique to Guinea. So these are likely global extinctions. Darwin Initiative funding for the first two iMPAs has gained the support of local government. These two MPAs are nearly 50 times the average size of MPAs in the Philippines, with no-take replenishment zones 16 times bigger. This is a key milestone for ZSL’s project and proves that in the Philippines larger community-based MPAs make a meaningful contribution towards the Philippines’ nationally-mandated target of protecting 15% of municipal waters. At the start of May, 32 new projects shared £8.2million in the 25th round of funding from the Darwin Initiative.There has been continuous progress made by ongoing schemes backed by the Darwin Initiative, with two highlights in Guinea and the Philippines.Tropical Important Plant Areas in GuineaFollowing three years of research, European and Guinean scientists, NGOs and staff of the Guinean Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests, have evidenced 22 Tropical Important Plant Areas in Guinea. These are the first Tropical Important Plant Areas (TIPAs) that have been identified in Africa.This designation of the 22 TIPAs, which cover 3.5% of Guinea’s surface area and include more than 60% of 273 threatened species identified in the country, mean those plants will now stand a far greater chance of protection.Darwin Initiative support of nearly £300,000 over three years has helped to make sure this work takes place.Dr Martin Cheek, Senior Research Leader at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, said:last_img read more

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Authority to spend Rp 4 billion to help Labuan Bajo tourist industry

first_imgOnce the pandemic is over, the BOPLBF will start the recovery efforts by strengthening the region’s human capital and promoting its tourist attractions to woo visitors and boost the industry.“We know that we have to try anything. We can get through this situation in good shape if we work together,” Shana said.She said the normalization measures would begin next year, when economic conditions were expected to improve, she added.While the authority puts its focus on providing medical equipment and aid for tourist industry workers, a local tour guide expressed hope that the budget would prioritize the workers.“I urge the authority to disburse the Rp 4 billion in funds for tour guides, hotel workers, travel bureaus and others that are hard hit by the COVID-19. As a tour guide, I’ve lost my income, since no-one is visiting Labuan Bajo,” Muhamad Burhato told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.Labuan Bajo, located in the province of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), is one of the 10 “New Bali” destinations developed and promoted by the government to increase foreign tourist arrivals in the country.Tourism in Indonesia has been deeply affected by the pandemic, with many hotels and travel agencies closing down due to a lack of guests.The association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies (ASITA) reported that 98 percent of its 7,000 members, consisting of travel agents and tour operators, have temporarily closed their operations and furloughed employees.Meanwhile, the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) reported that 1,642 hotels and 353 restaurants had so far shut down. The association also reported that 180 tourist destinations and 232 tourist villages across Indonesia had been temporarily closed.President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on April 16 ordered his ministers to disburse a stimulus package for businesses in the hard-hit industries of tourism and the creative economy to help them survive the economic impact of COVID-19.He urged his Cabinet to support the tourist industry and said he believed it would bounce back after the pandemic is over by 2021.“We must take advantage of the tourism boom that will rise after COVID-19 is over,” the President said. (mpr)Topics : The Labuan Bajo and Flores Tourism Authority (BOPLBF) will spend up to Rp 4 billion (US$257,549) to cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the hard-hit tourist industry in the region, the agency’s top official has said. BOPLBF’s president director Shana Fatina said the agency had prepared a three-step program to reignite the region’s tourism, which consisted of emergency, recovery and normalization measures.“We can’t deny the fact that our hospitality and tourism services industry has grounded to a halt since both foreign and domestic tourists have stopped visiting,” Shana said in a press release issued on April 21.As part of the emergency program, the authority will provide medical equipment and humanitarian aid for workers in tourism and carry out labor-intensive programs to employ furloughed workers.The authority would also start collecting data from all involved in the tourist industry to assess the economic losses caused by the COVID-19 crisis, while simultaneously establishing a media center alongside the local administration to help disseminate information regarding the pandemic.last_img read more

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Take a hammer to your auction day fears

first_imgMore from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus13 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market13 hours agoRay White New Farm auctioneer Haesley Cush talks to new owners Susan McNeil and Hugh Patterson at the auction of 139 Sirius St, Coorparoo. (AAP image, John Gass)Mr Cush’s advice for buyers nervous about buying under the hammer was to speak to agents who specialise in auctions and attend auctions to see the process play out. He said that when it came to auction day, potential buyers didn’t even have to be the ones raising the paddle as they could enlist the help of a buyer’s agent, a friend or family member, or they could bid via the phone or internet. Will Ranken, Westpac’s general manager of home ownership, said buyers could increase their confidence by doing their homework and being well-prepared. “To ensure the best chance of success, home hunters should observe several auctions before they bid, thoroughly research the property they’re interested in and ask the selling agent for comparable sales,” he said. Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 1:44Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -1:44 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD540p540p288p288p180p180pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenHow to bid at auction for your dream home? 01:45Queenslanders are shying away from auctions with a study finding more than half of buyers in the Sunshine State are too scared to buy property under the hammer. The latest Westpac Home Ownership Report found prospective homeowners in Queensland were apprehensive about auctions, with 55 per cent admitting they were too scared to buy at an auction and 48 per cent saying they weren’t confident they would know what to do. Auctioneer Haesley Cush (pictured) said he wasn’t surprised by the report’s findings because of the small percentage of properties Queensland sold at auction. He said the lack of exposure to auctions, especially across generations, meant buyers were reluctant to trust an unknown process. Ray White auctioneer Haesley Cush in action (AAP image, John Gass)“In other states where there are higher proportions of properties going to auction, you have less reluctance from buyers to engage with auctions,” he said. “Though I think if you surveyed buyers in Brisbane’s inner city suburbs you would find a higher number would be prepared to buy at auction, as they are more familiar with the process.’’Mr Cush said buyers shouldn’t be afraid of the auction process as it was the most transparent way of purchasing a property. “If you buy via private treaty, you have to put in an offer, fill out a contract and wait for the owner’s response. If there’s another buyer, you have to guess what price they’re going to pay and you don’t have the right of reply.“At an auction, you get to yell out your price, you don’t have to fill out any paper work for your offer, just register to bid, and you don’t have to worry about the validity of other buyers as they’ll be yelling out their prices too.” center_img “Home for Sale by Auction. For Sale sign with auctioneeraas gavel and a chrome house key fob, with house key. Copy space.”Mr Ranken said it was important for buyers to do their research to understand other loan services available to prospective buyers, such as a bridging loan or portability loan. The Home Ownership Report also identified education gaps among Queensland buyers when it came to home finance, with many admitting to not fully understanding key financial concepts.Almost half said they weren’t sure what equity was, 65 per cent didn’t know what comparison rates were, and 38 per cent admitted they did not completely understand the purpose of an offset account. However the findings showed 81 per cent of surveyed Queensland buyers were taking steps to educate themselves on home financing by turning to professionals (76 per cent) and leveraging digital resources (42 per cent) to better understand what’s involved in buying or financing a home.**** HAESLEY’S TOP TIPS TO CONQUER YOUR AUCTION FEARSlast_img read more

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Five-star United give Moyes first win

first_imgRobin van Persie wasted no time in picking up where he left off last season with the final goal in Manchester United’s 5-1 win over the A League All Stars in Sydney. A delicate pass from Giggs sent Welbeck beyond the All Stars defence just past the half hour and the England forward scored. After netting only twice last season, Welbeck needs to make a positive start this term, especially as Wayne Rooney’s future is open to such debate and Javier Hernandez is going to miss the remaining three games in the Far East. Welbeck was a man on a mission and Michael Beauchamp denied him with a brave sliding block before the forward blasted into Covic but the ball ricocheted wide off the keeper’s legs. The hosts improved after the break, with Besart Berisha pulling one back with an understrength shot Anders Lindegaard was unable to prevent creeping in at the corner. United’s reply was instant, and yet again Lingard supplied the finish, a brutal effort from 12 yards. Welbeck turned home Van Persie’s corner not long after the Dutchman’s introduction and he almost completed his hat-trick with a shot that rolled narrowly wide. But it was left to Van Persie to have the final say, the back-to-back Golden Boot winner taking no time to get into the groove once more. Press Association After the false start in Bangkok last weekend, it completed a satisfactory evening for the Red Devils, who fly to Japan on the next leg of their tour on Sunday for matches in Yokohama and Osaka. And for Moyes it was a welcome first win, with Warrington-born youngster Jesse Lingard having the honour of scoring United’s first goal for their new manager in front of 83,127 at ANZ Stadium. That an Australia national side missing its European contingent was facing South Korea in an East Asian Cup encounter at virtually exactly the same time as the remainder of the A League was in action underlined the scratch nature of Ange Postecoglou’s team. Little wonder they struggled defensively, with Danny Welbeck exchanging passes with Lingard before firing an early chance straight at Ante Covic. It was not long before the same pair were combining to score the first goal of Moyes’ time in charge. Showing imagination to dummy Ryan Giggs’ pass, Welbeck allowed the ball to run on to an unmarked Lingard. The 20-year-old kept his nerve to put the visitors in front from 10 yards. Thomas Broich fizzed a shot over from the edge of the area but this never looked like being a repeat of last Saturday’s stuttering display. A late arrival on United’s pre-season tour, Van Persie was only introduced for the final half hour after a heavy week’s training. But it was long enough to claim the assist for Danny Welbeck’s second before atoning for an uncharacteristic miss by driving home from close range almost immediately afterwards. last_img read more

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