Overseas Countries
and Territories Association



BEST - Voluntary scheme for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

BEST – voluntary scheme for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Territories of European overseas – aims to support the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable use of ecosystem services including ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation in the EU Outermost Regions (ORs) and Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs).

The European Commission expressed its willingness to develop a specific programme to help the OCTs conserve their environment and biodiversity. Because of the limited access of OCTs to the LIFE programme, the BEST 2.0 programme was developed. It is financed under the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) which is one of the EU funding instruments for cooperation and external aid. 

Key facts of the programme

Although the BEST 2.0 programme is not an EU horizontal programme as such, projects funded under this programme have also been considered in the report since the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) is funded from the EU budget (unlike the European Development Fund) and this programme was designed to benefit the OCTs.  

The total budget of the BEST 2.0 programme for the period 2014-2020 was EUR 8 million for grants (EUR 10 million in total including grants, capacity building and management costs).

The last call of the programme was published in September 2020, with EUR 1.3 million of additional funding.

The BEST programme is expected to continue in the same form in the programming period 2021-2027. As soon as more information is released we will share it here.

Relevance of programme for OCTs

EU Overseas biodiversity is exceptionally rich and is recognized as being of international importance. ORs and OCTs are part of biodiversity hotspots and are key actors for the implementation of international and regional conservation targets and to foster regional cooperation in crucial areas of the world.

How is the programme managed ?

Until 2020, the BEST initiative was implemented by a consortium led by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). News of the implementation strategy after 2021 will be updated here.