Future of Icelandic Nature in Doubt

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Future of Icelandic Nature in Doubt

By Alëx Elliott
Little ringed plover

Photo: Wikipedia.

The future of the Icelandic nature project, Natura is in danger because the European Union has canceled its grant following Iceland’s suspension of its accession talks.

The EU canceled its IPA grants to Iceland at the end of 2013 after the new government indicated the country’s membership negotiations will not be continuing in the near future.

Natura Ísland is now in negotiations with the Icelandic government to finance the last stage of the project. The Icelandic Institute of Natural History received an IPA grant to map the nature and biosphere of Iceland and zone the country into habitat types.

“The situation is that we fully embarked on the project in 2012 and have worked steadily since and the situation now is that we have realistically finished 90 percent of all the fieldwork,” Jón Gunnar Ottósson, the director of the institute, told RÚV. “The previously collected data has been archived and only the processing and analysis remains. We have therefore finished about two thirds of the total project and a lot of money has already gone into the project – about ISK 500 million.” The institute’s IPA funding for the project runs out at the end of May and the IPA grant is the very reason the project was started, meaning alternative funding needs to be found if the project is to be completed.

“We are now in negotiations with the ministry to try and find a solution to this because it’s a frightening prospect to not be able to complete the project when so much money has already gone into it, so little is left to do, and not only because the money would have been wasted, but also because of the benefit to the whole country of finishing the project.”

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