Press release of the Ministry of the Environment and Parks & Wildlife Finland of Metsähallitus
In the beginning of next year, an exceptionally broad group of actors will join their forces to implement a record large biodiversity project. With EUR 50 million in funding, this eight-year Priodiversity LIFE project is the largest project to combat biodiversity loss ever implemented in Finland. The aim is to collect best practices and find new forms of funding to preserve biodiversity.
“Biodiversity loss cannot be halted without action, and seamless collaboration will be needed for this. We cannot find solutions to climate change or biodiversity loss with public funding alone, instead, an even broader funding base is needed that also includes private investments and actions for biodiversity,” says Minister of Climate and the Environment Kai Mykkänen.
The total budget of the project is EUR 50 million, of which EUR 30 million comes from the EU LIFE programme. The instruments of the Priodiversity LIFE project include regional biodiversity programmes and restoration through extensive and effective sets of measures. All measures will make use of the practices that have already been proven the best, develop new practices and introduce the best ones to be used nationwide.
Nature management in large areas, wishes of landowners taken into account
Restoration and nature management aim for large entities that are valuable in terms of biodiversity. These may include both nature conservation areas and areas outside these. Restoration and management actions will focus on specific areas and sites to maximise their impact with respect to biodiversity and costs. The key focus will be on areas that are the most valuable for biodiversity, but areas connecting and surrounding them and buffer strips are included as well. Participation in the actions under the project is always voluntary for landowners.
The restoration and nature management measures to be carried out are part of the Helmi Habitats Programme. Helmi is a joint programme of the Ministry of the Environment and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry that aims to tackle the greatest threat to our natural environments, i.e. the deterioration of habitats. The programme improves the state of degraded habitat types and habitats of species in the whole country. The types of sites included in the programme are waterfowl habitats, mires, forests, semi-natural grasslands, small water bodies and shores.
More work and new forms of funding to preserve biodiversity
Priodiversity LIFE offers work for people who have expertise in restoration and nature management. Through outsourced services, it will also create new learning and employment opportunities for contractors. At this point the employment effect in the participating organisations is 461 person-years, which will also enable to make new recruitments. These are already under way e.g. in the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment.
During the eight-year project period new forms of funding for combating biodiversity loss will be sought as well. The aim is that at the end of the project the funding for combating biodiversity loss will come from increasingly diverse sources, which can have permanent impacts on the funding for maintaining biodiversity.
More impact through societal dialogue and competence sharing
Over the next eight years the competence of those working in the natural resource sector will be further enhanced, which will improve the quality and impact of nature management.
The project will focus on education and competence sharing in such a way that the best and most cost-effective practices for combating biodiversity loss will be disseminated widely. Regional biodiversity programmes will be drawn up together with key stakeholders in eight counties. Each of these will identify the relevant sites for biodiversity and use the experiences gained to create the best operating models. The best ones of these will be used to prepare learning materials, and neighbouring municipalities will also be helped to get started.
The Prime Minister’s Office will lead the work to develop cooperation between the ministries in matters related to biodiversity and to offer training for decision-makers to ensure that biodiversity issues will be incorporated better into policy making in the different sectors of society. The ministries will also cooperate to develop the monitoring of public funding for biodiversity and impact assessments.
Organisations participating in the project as it starts on 1 January 2024:
Metsähallitus (Parks & Wildlife Finland coordinator, Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd), Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Finance, Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (Southeast Finland, Lapland, Pirkanmaa, North Ostrobothnia, North Savo, Southwest Finland), Finnish Environment Institute, Natural Resources Institute Finland, Finnish Museum of Natural History, Finnish Forest Centre, Finnish Food Authority, Finnish Association for Nature Conservation and WWF Finland.