Press release: the Sicily Environment Fund is live

The Sicily Environment Fund (SEF) is live! The organisation will raise funds by private donors and business partners and will join forces to support the best environmental initiatives in Sicily.  2>

SEF has been created by a group of Sicily lovers dedicated to preserving and protecting nature in Sicily.  It is part of the Conservation Collective, a global network of locally-focused environmental foundations. Currently,  the Conservation Collective comprises 16 local environmental foundations across four continents and continues to grow. Since 2021,  the Tuscany Environment Foundation has been active in Italy.

SEF is born out of the Aeolian Islands Preservation Fund (AIPF), which since its set up in 2015, supported around 40 projects over 5 years,  promoting relevant initiatives and partnership, investing to preserve, sustain and restore the Aeolian natural environment. Now we seek to widen the  geographic remit and increase the potential for environmental impact to the entire Sicilian region.

Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean, is a biodiversity hotspot, offering a great diversity of habitats and ecosystems from marine and coastal to inland and high-mountainous. Many of the species and habitats are protected by Habitat Directive and international conventions.

The coastal and marine environment hosts  rare species and of conservation interest, such as fin whales, sperm whales, striped dolphins and common bottlenose dolphins, but also the common eagle ray, the sandbar shark and the shortfin mako shark.  The Sicilian islands are an important stopover  for migratory birds and host large colonies of species of community importance. Moreover, Sicily has one of the highest floristic diversity values in Italy and in the entire Mediterranean region, some of them at risk of extinction. 

Over the years, there have been efforts of environmental activists, scientists, institutions and civil society organisations to protect the natural heritage and raise awareness on the main environmental challenges that are threatening the region. Yet, numerous issues need further support in order to be overcome and achieve effective conservation targets.

The SEF aims to build local coalitions and bring about long-lasting positive environmental and social impact in the region and will make an invaluable contribution by awarding grants to the most effective local projects and grassroots organisations such as non-profit organisations, associations, clubs or unions, research centres, social cooperative enterprises and other local bodies. The applicants must display strong and effective leadership and emphasise an integrated bottom-up approach, by involving local communities and ensuring benefits for both nature and people. The proposed projects shall be clear and compelling, with the objective to create measurable and sustainable long-term results.

Main contact: Gaia Agnello
For press inquiries: Ambra Messina