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Increased aid for overseas environment projects



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MT37 Date: 5 J u n e 1 9 9 1

Increased aid for overseas environment projects

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The Minister for Trade and Overseas Development, Neal Blewett, today- announced that Australia will provide over $10 million to assist environment projects in developing countries.

“Today’s announcement marks Australia’s support for World Environment Day, and reinforces the Government’s commitment to sustainable development in its overseas aid program," he said.

Dr Blewett said that $9.3 million would provide continuing support over the next five years for a major forestry project in Nepal. This would be the fourth phase of the Nepal Australia Community Forestry project, considered by the Nepalese Government to be the most successful donor sponsored forestry project currently under way in that country.

The project has so far established over 14,000 hectares of plantations on land which was previously forested, but which became degraded and suffered from soil erosion.

“This community forestry project targets the poorest people and addresses the needs of women,” Dr Blewett said. “Village level consultations ensure that people living in the project area are involved in decision making and see the economic advantages of participating in

sustainable forestry development.

“The project aims to improve rural welfare and self reliance through increased availability of forest products for subsistence use and generation of higher cash incomes from forest based activities.

“Work includes establishing tree nurseries and planting seedlings, with the participation of women particularly encouraged. Planted areas are protected and maintained, with certain villagers being responsible for weeding and watching over the new forest."

Funds totalling $513,000 will support the work of non-government organisations (NGOs) through the NGO Environment Initiative, part of the overseas aid program’s Environment Assistance Program.

“The Government recognizes the vital role of community groups in promoting environmental awareness and protection in developing countries,” Dr Blewett said.

“Community-based environment projects can complement the activities undertaken as part of Australia’s official program of development cooperation.

“The innovative proposals put forward since the introduction of the NGO Environment Initiative in September 1989 are testimony to the

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enthusiasm and commitment of Australian NGOs working overseas in the environment field."

The ten projects funded this year encompass a range of activities in a num ber of different countries, including priority areas such as environmental protection and resource management.

This year’s allocation of funds brings the total amount of support for the NGO Environment Initiative to over $1 million since its inception two years ago.

The projects receiving support are listed separately.

Australian assistance to community forestry in Nepal and to NGOs through the NGO Environment Initiative form part of Australia’s development cooperation program, administered by the Australian International Development Assistance Bureau (AIDAB).

CANBERRA

For further information, contact Ali Gillies, Director, AIDAB Public Information, on (06) 276 4960.

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NGOs receiving Australian Government support through the NGO Environment Initiative

Environmental Checklist - Australia (Association for Research and Environmental Aid) Publication and distribution of an “Environmental Checklist" compiled in 1989/90 in consultation with NGOs.

Extension to Pacific Region Environment Project - PNG & Solomon Islands (Australian Foundation for the Peoples of the South Pacific) Technical advice and support to village communities to help improve

their forest management and utilisation, in PNG and Solomon Islands.

Sugarworkers Organic/Permaculture Training Program - Philippines (Australian People for Health Education and Development Abroad) Project in the Philippines to improve community knowledge regarding practical methods of soil fertilisation.

Publication of an Environmental Monitor - South Africa (Community Aid Abroad) Project in South Africa to increase environmental awareness at grass roots level.

Erosion Control and Reforestation - Philippines (Foster Parents Plan of Australia) Philippines project to establish forest cover for denuded watershed areas.

Family Agroforestry Project - Uganda (International Christian Aid Relief Enterprises Ltd) Project to encourage the wider use of agroforestry techniques in Uganda.

Medicinal, Fruit and Forest Plants Nursery - India (Rainforest Information Centre) Project to assist in the propogation of endangered medicinal plant species.

Pacific Ecoforestry project - Pacific (Rainforest Information Centre) Project to establish three model village ecoforestry management plans in Solomon Islands.

Analysis of the Tropical Timber Trade - PNG (World Wide Fund for Nature) Project to develop recommendations with a view to maximising ecological and economic sustainability of the tropical timber trade in PNG.

Saving Our World - Philippines (Young Women's Christian Association of Australia) Project to address the issues of population growth and recycling opportunities in the Philippines.

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Regional Environmental Law and Awareness Project - Pacific (Environmental Defenders Office) Project to increase the awareness of regulatory options concerning environmental development.

Information Networking with S.E. Asian NGOs - Asia/Pacific (Ideas Centre) Project to assist NGOs network through the establishment of a computer network system.

Protecting Forests by Using Less Fuelwood - Kenya (International Christian Aid Relief Enterprises) Project to introduce fuel efficient technology and training programs to reduce pressure on forests.