EC will hold the first Auction Floor for environmental projects

The European Commission's cooperation office, EuropeAid, will hold its first ever "Auction Floor" conference in Brussels on March 13th 2009. A total of 86 projects aiming at protecting biodiversity, conserving forests and promoting sustainable energy as well as fighting climate change, desertification in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe will be presented.

“Auction Floor" is an ambitious and innovative initiative, which aims to find potential donors for high quality environmental projects by bringing together development actors (civil society organisations, research centres etc.) and a wide range of potential donors: local authorities, EU member-states as well as private sector foundations.

Following a European Commission's cooperation office (EuropeAid) call and the subsequent evaluation process the number of projects identified exceeded the possibilities for financing by the Commission. Therefore, 86 environmental project proposals, with financial volumes between 0.4 M€ and 3 M€ which could not receive Commission financing due to budget limitations are given a second chance to be financed at the Auction Floor.

Almost 400 participants are registered for this conference, including representatives from universities, research foundations, international organisations, NGOs, Member States agencies, private foundations and private sector organisations. At the conference, match-making between potential donors and projects will be facilitated through networking.

"The EU has set itself the goal to remain actively engaged in ensuring sustainable development in all four corners of our planet. International cooperation is critical given current pressure on existing resources and challenges to global energy supply and security. Each of the projects presented at the Auction floor deserves being implemented and thus this unique initiative was born to present these projects and the evaluation done by the Commission to potential donors. Thus we hope not only to help to find funding for these projects, but also to facilitate networking between actors in the development arena by sharing the results of the Commission's selection process", said Benita Ferrero-Waldner, European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy.

For potential donors, making the implementation of these projects possible, is not only an opportunity to establish strong partnerships with civil society organisations, but is also an opportunity to put words into action as far as the protection of the environment is concerned.

If successful, the Commission could consider extending the initiative to finance projects under its other thematic programmes.