News & Views News Darwin Plus call for 2018 made, and grants from 2017 round announced The Darwin Plus 7th round was announced on 11th July. Details for applicants are here. In announcing the call, Environment Secretary Michael Gove MP said “Protecting and enhancing biodiversity in the UK’s Overseas Territories will help to make crucial activities such as agriculture, fisheries, forestry and tourism more sustainable.” Emphasis will be placed on commitments set out in UK Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan in UK Overseas Territories around the globe. The Secretary of State added “We must protect our oceans and marine life from plastic waste if we are to be the first generation to leave our environment in a better state than we found it” and exemplified this by one of the projects funded earlier this year in the 6th round: a scheme to reduce and monitor plastic pollution on the island of St Helena in the South Atlantic. It will establish a recycling programme for waste plastic. As part of this project, local school children and communities will be engaged, through an educational outreach element, in a marine debris monitoring programme along St Helena’s coastline St Helena Government’s Director of Environment & Natural Resources, Derek Henry, said: “This project provides a fantastic opportunity for St Helena to become involved in reducing the amount of plastic that enters our marine ecosystem. It will involve the whole community and will educate and set up the processes for monitoring and reducing plastic waste to create a better marine environment around our Island.” The island has a huge array of fish and marine life along with coral ecosystems. Plastic pollution in the South Atlantic Ocean could threaten these species and their habitats. During June, the St Helena National Trust Marine Team, the St Helena Government Marine Section and four Prince Andrew School students walked to Sharks Valley on the island for a beach clean-up. More than 1,000 plastic bottles, 1,540 pieces of polystyrene, 50 fishing buoys/floats and 124 flip–flops and shoes were collected by the volunteers. The 13 successful bidders funded in Round 6 of the Darwin Plus awards (which are dedicated to projects in the UK Overseas Territories) are: Updates on current projects are published in their quarterly newsletters. The fund is administered by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for International Development (DFID) and uses the UK Government’s Official Development Assistance.