Want to save the African blackwood tree? You should have been at the EU’s first-ever environmental auction in Brussels earlier today. The auction, put on by EuropeAid, put 86 projects up for sale to governments, foundations, and companies. All proposals in the auction were considered worthy of attention by the EU, but EuropeAid lacked the necessary cash to fund them. So it came up with the next best thing: outsourcing the projects. Deals between projects and donors are being worked out directly–EuropeAid only serves as a matchmaker.
Proposals up for auction included a replacement effort for mangroves in Tanzania, renewable energy projects in Tajikistan, and of course, a save-the-blackwood-tree program.
Last year, the EU funded 46 projects worth €64.5m–presumably, the auction effort will land millions more in funding. Regardless of the outcome, government project auctioning seems like an idea that the US and other cash-strapped nations should keep an eye on.