BESTbelt - More power for the European Green Belt

Planting local fruit and nut trees on degraded land promotes biodiversity, protects the soil from erosion and ensures additional income for the local population. © Sandra Wigger/EuroNatur

Connecting and protecting unique landscapes throughout Europe by empowering local stakeholders is the focus of the new BESTbelt pilot project. In the framework of the European Green Belt (EGB), BESTbelt provides not only funding for conservation projects and sustainable development but also training and guidance on project management. Furthermore, BESTbelt is addressing the younger generation of European conservationists by fostering the exchange of information and establishing networks.     


BESTbelt background

To unlock the local potential across the 24 countries along the EGB, the European Commission is providing 1.5 million Euro over the next four years. Based on the positive experience of the EU BEST Initiative, the European Parliament – on initiative of the MEPs Jutta Paulus and Nicolae Ștefănuță – established the idea of promoting a new project in the framework of the EGB with long-term, sustainable perspectives for local actors.

In its role as Chair of the European Green Belt Association, the official contractual partner of the project is EuroNatur, working closely together with the BUND Department Green Belt, BUND Mecklenburg-West Pomerania and the Karelian Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences as project team. Cooperation with the Karelian Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences will continue informally until further notice. However, due to current circumstances, the first call for projects will suspend Russian applicants.The Board of the European Green Belt Association functions as steering committee of the project.


BESTbelt is financially supported by the European Union


BESTbelt call for proposals

One of the main elements of BESTbelt is the installation of a small grant scheme. 800,000 Euro will be available for two calls for proposals. Applicants are invited to apply for funding in the fields of biodiversity conservation, restoration and sustainable development. In addition to the financial support, applicants receive training and counselling on how to elaborate a meaningful project proposal and how to effectively implement the planned measures. Due to the current circumstances, the first call for proposals is suspended for Russian applicants. Find out more details on the call for proposals.


BESTbelt network

Besides the calls for proposal, BESTbelt offers the chance to discuss ecological and social challenges along the EGB. Especially the potential of green jobs along the EGB and opportunities for young job seekers will be explored and discussed through a comprehensive report and local fora. Additionally, it is planned to foster the engagement of the younger generation in conservation and restoration practice through the implementation of European Green Belt Youth Camps.

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