"A happy day for Danish nature." Photo: Jens Nørgaard Larsen/Scanpix
The Danish government and two private foundations reached agreement on Monday on an “important milestone” in protecting Denmark’s nature that has been under discussion for months.
With a start capital of 875 million kroner ($151 million), the Danish Nature Fund (Den Danske Naturfond) will help to restore and protect nature areas throughout the country.
“The Danish Nature Fund is an innovative and important milestone in the fight for Denmark’s nature. Our land is some of the most intensively used in all the world, many of our animals and plants are threatened and nature has been on the retreat. With the fund, our nature will get a helping hand so we can reverse the trend to the benefit of all Danes,” the environment minister, Kirsten Brosbøl, said in a press release.
The fund’s stated goals are to strengthen natural diversity through improvements and protection of natural habitats, to clean the country’s rivers and lakes, to work toward a reduction of greenhouse gases and to strengthen popular support for nature protection efforts.
The nature organisation Natur & Samfund called the creation of the fund “a happy day for Danish nature” but criticised its ambitions as too broad.
“We hope that the purpose will be clarified so that is perfectly clear that the Danish Nature Fund should primarily focus on purchasing land for nature purposes and financing the compensations that will be associated with natural restoration and the conversion of large areas into untouched nature,” Natur & Samfund’s chairman, Michael Stoltze, wrote in a blog post.
Two private foundations – Villum Fonden and Aage V. Jensens Naturfond – agreed to kick in 250 million and 125 million kroner respectively to the Danish Nature Fund, joining a 500 million kroner commitment from the state.
The environment minister said she wants to see the fund grow even larger.
“I truly hope that the Danish Nature Fund will become a popular fund that many others will want to support. I hope that the business community, other funds and the Danish people will contribute with both small and large amounts,” Brosbøl said.
The Danish Nature Fund will be self-owned and operated and politically independent and the funds will be built up from 2015-2018.