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Halting and reversing global biodiversity loss has never been as urgent as now. Ecosystems support all life on earth and the healthier they are, the healthier we and our planet are. It’s time to restore nature, and we at BirdLife believe the most effective way to do so is through a local to global approach.

Eastern Europe and Central Asia offer massive opportunities for nature to recover through protecting its large areas of wilderness and restoring degraded habitats. Our new programme, Recovering Nature in the East, or simply RENATE, will focus on strengthening BirdLife Partners in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and step up our collective impact to protect and restore landscapes across this region.

Healthy wildlife populations make healthy ecosystems. Our recently released Wildlife Comeback Report shows the urgency to prioritise the comeback of wildlife across Europe. The good news is that quite a number of wildlife species have made a spectacular return across Europe over the last four decades – proof that nature is resilient and can recover under the right conditions. Increasing the legal protection of sites and species, creating corridors between protected areas and the conservation action to support prey species have all contributed to this recovery.

In Georgia last year, a Caucasian leopard was spotted for the first time in 12 years. The leopard’s return is partly thanks to the habitat restoration efforts in the region. Our national Partner SABUKO, through their work within the Endangered Landscape Project, has helped reconnect more than 2000km2 of habitats and wildlife corridors essential for this elusive animal. Further west, our Kazakh Partner, ACBK, through the Altyn Dala conservation initiative, is helping to conserve and enhance its steppes. Home to some of the most intact grassland habitats in the world, more than 97% of the Saiga Antelope’s population can be found in the country. Since the start of the initiative, the Saiga Antelope populations in Kazakhstan have made an astonishing recovery from less than 50,000 in 2005 to over 1,300,000 in 2022. RENATE will make it possible to achieve more successes like this.

Victor Tyakht – Shutterstock

Restoring landscapes is also crucial to support food security, to mitigate and to adapt to climate change and to stop the decline of biodiversity loss. Additionally, it is also key for the prosperity and the well-being of people.

Through RENATE, BirdLife will further empower and strengthen the capacity of our Partners, who in turn will increase their conservation impact through the development of protected area networks and large-scale landscape restoration. In short, this major financial investment will be a real game-changer for our Partners across the Caucasus, the Balkans and Central Asia.

The programme is funded by the Sigrid Rausing Trust and supporting Partners: BirdLife Finland, BirdLife Österreich, BirdLife Schweiz, BirdLife Sverige, MME and NABU.

Picture credit: Great Bustard (Otis tarda) – Yves Adams

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Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.