About Us

EU and UK Overseas

From the poles to the tropics, the European overseas include 34 entities: 9 Outermost Regions (ORs) and 25 Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs). They are linked to the United Kingdom and 5 EU Member States: Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. Found in every ocean and diverse biogeographical regions they are home to a unique diversity of species and ecosystems of global significance, which are highly vulnerable to human impacts and increasingly the impacts of climate change.

More about EU and UK Overseas

The OCTs are the following: Anguilla, Aruba, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Curação, Falkland Islands (Malvinas)*, French Polynesia, Greenland, Montserrat, New Caledonia, Saint Barthelemy, Sint Maarten, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, St. Pierre and Miquelon, Turks and Caicos Islands, Wallis and Futuna Islands, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, Saba, Cayman Islands, French Southern and Antarctic Territories, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, Ascension Island, Tristan da Cunha.

* A dispute exists between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Malvinas).

Information on the OCTs and their relationship with the EU can be found on the Overseas Association Decision or the Association of the OCTs (OCTA) website.

Tristan da Cunha, Atlantic Yellow Nosed Albatross © Stewart McPherson

BEST Initiative

The need of a EU dedicated mechanism for the Overseas was underlined in the Message from the 1st EU Overseas Biodiversity and Climate Change Conference held in La Reunion in July 2008 (Message from Reunion Island). The European Commission and the European Parliament then supported the development of the “BEST Initiative” on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Territories of European Overseas. Several calls for projects were organised and a BEST III consortium led by IUCN developed useful regional ecosystem profiles mobilising several networks of expertise and stakeholders in all EU Overseas.

The need for a dedicated European financial mechanism for supporting projects in EU Overseas was reiterated at the 2nd EU Overseas Biodiversity and Climate Change Conference (La Guadeloupe Island, 2014) as its Message called for a dedicated mechanism to better support actions and ease access to the available European funds for the Overseas Territories.

From 2011 to 2018, BEST has financed 90 projects worth a total of EUR 18 million.

More information on the overall BEST Initiative can be found on the European Commission (DG Environment) and IUCN websites.

In 2020, Life4BEST and BEST 2.0+ programmes took over following the end of BEST RUP and BEST 2.0, respectively covering the ORs and the OCTs. Both programmes support field actions, which aim to enable, empower and strengthen local authorities and civil society organisations committed to local development, biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of ecosystem services, through the implementation of grant schemes accompanied by capacity building activities.

Montserrat - Rainforest © Stewart McPherson

BEST 2.0+

BEST 2.0+ is a programme financed by the European Commission (EC) – DG DEVCO, as part of the Biodiversity4Life initiative. It continues the EU BEST initiative and is a direct follow up of the BEST 2.0 Programme. The objective of BEST 2.0+ is to promote the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable use of ecosystem services, including ecosystem based approach to climate change adaption and mitigation, in the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs). The OCTs are located in the Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Pacific, Polar and Subpolar, and South Atlantic regions.

BEST 2.0+ aims to fulfil its objective by enabling, empowering and strengthening local authorities and civil society organisations which are committed to local development, biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of ecosystem services in OCTs through the implementation of a grant scheme accompanied by capacity building activities. The grant scheme takes the form of one call for proposals, which is designed to provide effective support for small actions on the ground at the local, as well the regional level for the period 2020-2022. It makes sure that the scheme reflects the actual local needs and demand, and provide more support to local stakeholders for unlocking their potential.

Finally, BEST 2.0+ aims to increase the visibility of the OCTs as demonstrators of ecosystem-based approaches and key contributors to the achievement of EU and international biodiversity targets.

More information on funding opportunities can be found here.