The grants under Baa Atoll Conservation Fund (BACF) have been awarded to the winning applicants. A total of 7 projects won the grant out of 26 proposals submitted during 2013/2014 round. The grants were awarded in a special ceremony held in Eydhafushi multipurpose building last night. Minister of Environment and Energy Mr. Thoriq Ibrahim inaugurated the ceremony and handed over the certificates to the recipients.
In 2013/2014 round BACF was open for small scale projects relating to the 3 thematic areas and priority areas were for activities that conserve and restore the environment while enhancing people’s well-being and livelihoods, taking into consideration gender, vulnerability and equality concerns.
Seven projects that won the grants are:
- Introduction and Training Program on Hydroponics by Dharavandhoo Development Cooperative Society (Livelihood, Education/Awareness).
- Training Course on Outboard Engine Repair and Maintenance by FEYLI of Eydhafushi (Livelihood).
- Save Turtle Forum by Kendhoo School (Education /Awareness, Conservation).
- Kihaadhoo Goes Organic by FAAM Foundation of Kihaadhoo (Education/Awareness, Livelihood).
- Erection of Monument by Kudarikilu Council (Livelihood).
- Eco friendly fertilizer production by Maalhos Women’s Development Committee (Livelihood).
- Training Course on Lacquer Works by Thulhaadhoo Council (Livelihood).
The Baa Atoll Conservation Fund supported by UNDP, Global Environment Facility and the Government of Maldives was launched in Baa Atoll Eydhafushi on June 13, 2012. The Conservation fund was established to finance projects to conserve the environment in Baa Atoll as well support livelihood activities. In the launching ceremony of the BACF, Azusa Kubota from UNDP handed over a cheque for US$250,000 as a contribution to the fund, on behalf of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Treasur,y Ismail Shafeeq, also handed over a cheque for US$50,000 dollars to the fund.
Baa Atoll, which includes Hanifaru Bay, an area world-renowned for sighting whale sharks and manta rays, was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in June 2011, after more than five years of lobbying by the government.
The process which led to the declaration was supported by the Atoll Ecosystem-based Conservation (AEC) Project, led by the government with support from the UNDP and funding from the GEF. The AEC works to establish protected areas and promote economically and environmentally sustainable livelihood practices for ecosystem conservation in Baa Atoll.
The project received US$2.7 million dollars from the UNDP and US$1.3 million dollars from GEF.
World Biosphere Reserves are places where conservation, research and development successfully interconnect. They integrate biological and cultural diversity, combining core protected areas with zones where sustainable development – and innovative approaches to it – are fostered, tested and developed by locals and enterprises alike.