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The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has pledged $6.17 million over four years towards a United Nations University (UNU) project called People, Land Management and Environmental Change (UNU/PLEC).

UNU/PLEC is a demonstration and capacity-building project that aims to conserve biological diversity in managed agricultural ecosystems. Its members work in close cooperation with small-scale farmers and pastoralists. They are documenting and learning from the indigenous ways that these farmers use to preserve biodiversity on lands that lie at the margins of forests, semi-arid regions, mountains, wetlands and land corridors. These plant-saving strategies can then be used to help other communities where biodiversity is at risk.

The project works through locally-based clusters which have already been established in several areas: West Africa, East Africa, South-East Asia, Papua New Guinea and the Amazon. UNU/PLEC creates an innovative developing-country network, enabling its members in each of these clusters to communicate easily, exchange information and learn from each other.

The funding provided by the GEF will finance a major expansion of the work done by UNU/PLEC's regional clusters, especially in the setting up and development of demonstration sites where they seek out, measure, and demonstrate sustainable and conservationist practices evolved by local farmers. Capacity building and networking among the members will also be enhanced.

The Washington-based GEF provides funding to projects that will have global benefits in one of four areas: biological diversity, climate change, international waters and the ozone layer. UNU/PLEC responds to the first area - the conservation of biological diversity. GEF activities are implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank.

For further information, please contact:
UNU Public Affairs Section
Tel.: (03) 5467-1243 or -1246
Fax: (03) 3406-7346

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