Pollution, deforestation and desertification are just a few of the threats facing some of the world’s poorest populations. Ravaged environments undermine a country’s food production, public health and resilience to natural disasters, and threaten economic development, safety and the rule of law. Healthy and well-managed ecosystems, on the other hand, provide the conditions for green growth and jobs, and a better quality of life.

EU support for development is thus anchored in the need to protect and conserve environments and ecosystems for the wellbeing of all people. Its work in this area is guided by its commitment to global environment and climate change agreements, and EU internal policies.

The European Commission’s directorate-general for International Development and Cooperation provides support and financing for developing countries to increase their capacity to protect and manage natural resources.  This includes working with governments, public and private sector, and civil society organisations to combat illegal logging; manage and secure protected areas that are home to endangered wildlife such as gorillas, rhinos and elephants; remedy and clean up polluted sites, and build local skills to develop a sustainable green economy, among many other areas.

EU support for the environment - including climate change, sustainable energy and water - represented 5.7 % (2.71 billion) of total funding for development managed by DG International Cooperation and Development (49.67 billion) in the period 2007-13.

The main beneficiaries were countries in the African, Caribbean and Pacific regions, receiving 45% of all funds. These were followed by countries neighbouring the EU (9% for ENP East and 6% for ENP South), Asia (11%), Latin America (7%) and Central Asia (1%). The remaining 21% of funds were directed at all countries.


Selected results achieved with EU support through projects and programmes completed between mid-2014 and mid-2015

 Environment, Ecosystems, Biodiversity and Wildlife

  • 7 countries - Kenya, Ghana, Mauritius, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa - have developed or are in the process of developing their National Green Economy Strategy and Action Plan.
  • 59 social and environmental enterprises have been awarded a SEED award for entrepreneurship in sustainable development in Africa and have received support accordingly. 49 of them have consolidated, develop or increased their business activities.
  • In 4 countries - Mozambique, Niger, Tanzania and Ecuador - Sustainable Land Management (SLM) practices have been mainstreamed at policy level, for example in the Mozambique National Agriculture Investment Programme, or the Tanzanian Integrated Investment Framework (IIF). Involving a wide range of stakeholders in a consultative manner, the governments of 9 countries (Ecuador, Guatemala, Lao PDR, Mozambique, Niger, Senegal, Tanzania, Rwanda and Palestine) included climate change related financing into national processes supporting SLM.
  • 4 multi-stakeholder management systems in Indonesia, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Tanzania have been promoted and strengthened, to better understand how an ecosystem approach to fisheries can overcome barriers to effective integrated small-scale fisheries management. In Indonesia, for example, the revitalization of the traditional marine resource stewardship system (the awik-awik regulation of natural resources) was revitalized and highly successful.
  • 12 studies and toolkits were produced to assess and monitor forest governance at global level or for mobilizing investments, designing appropriate benefit sharing arrangements and rethinking strategies to deal with artisanal mining in critical ecosystems. These studies include amongst others 1) Study on drivers of deforestation in the Congo Basin (2011); 2) 'Assessing and Monitoring Forest Governance: A user’s guide to a diagnostic tool' and 3) 'Making benefit sharing work for Forest Dependent Communities'.
  • In 16 countries, the sound management of chemicals have been mainstreamed at policy level - in 10 countries, the sound management of chemicals has been mainstreamed in legislation (Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Moldova, Trinidad & Tobago, Peru, Brazil, Uruguay and St Vincent & the Grenadines). In 4 of these countries (Uganda, Moldova, Trinidad & Tobago, Zambia) the sound management of chemicals has also been mainstreamed in policy or ministry level plans. In 6 countries (Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Senegal, Belarus, Barbados, Albania), chemicals have been mainstreamed in policy or ministry level plans.
  • 12 000 persons (3 600 women and 8 400 men) have benefitted from the Guiana Shield facility in northern Brazil, eastern Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname and eastern Venezuela. The Guiana Shield facility facilitates collaborative information platforms at multiple scales for the sustainable development of the Guiana Shield eco-region.