Overseas Territories Discuss The Environment

May 22, 2017

Minister of the Environment Sylvan Richards joined representatives from 12 other UK Overseas Territories [UKOTs] and Crown Dependencies [CDs] on the Channel Island of Alderney.

Designates came together from as far afield as Pitcairn and the British Virgin Islands on 27 and 28 April to discuss the future of the environment in their jurisdictions.

The aim of the meeting was to develop the benefits of joint and collaborative working, and discuss common priorities and approaches to negotiations with the UK Government.

Minister Richards on the far right

OT and CD Environment Meeting May 22 2017 1

Minister Richards said, “It was very useful to meet with other Environment Ministers and Officers to identify our collective challenges. Many of the challenges we face are similar, so sharing information and identifying goals will allow us to speak as one about common issues, and with greater impact.”

Pictured below: Mr John Young, Planning Officer, States of Alderney • Mrs Catherine Wensink, Executive Director, UKOTCF • Dr Sandra Besson, Deputy Director of the BVI London Office, • Ms Sarah Barnsley, Conservation Officer, UKOTCF record of meeting and support • Mrs Ann Pienkowski, Hon. Environmental Education Coordinator, UKOTCF – videoing the meeting and support • Mr Willie Peggie, Director for Environment / Deputy Chief Officer, States of Jersey • Mr Victor Brownlees, Chief Executive, States of Alderney • Mr Chris Carnegy, UK Representative Tristan da Cunha, on behalf of the Island Council • Hon. Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister of Environment, Food & Agriculture, Isle of Man • Hon. Kedrick D Pickering MD, Deputy Premier & Minister for Natural Resources & Labour, British Virgin Islands • Mr Adrian Lewis, Designate Acting Chief Executive, States of Alderney • Ms Marva J. O’Brien, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of the Environment, Government of Bermuda • Hon. Sylvan Richards MP, Minister of the Environment, Government of Bermuda • Ms Norma Paris, Chair of General Services Committee, States of Alderney • Dr Liesl Mesilio-Torres, Chief Executive Officer, Gibraltar Department of the Environment, Heritage & Climate-Change • Mr Stephen Warr, Senior Environment Officer, Gibraltar Department of the Environment, Heritage & Climate-Change • Deputy Barry Brehaut, President of the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure, States of Guernsey • Mr Richard Lole, Chief Executive for the Department of Environment, Food & Agriculture, Isle of Man • Dr Richard Axton, Chairman of Council, La Société Sercquaise, on behalf of Sark Agriculture and Environment Committee of the Chief Pleas of Sark • Deputy Steven Luce, Minister for the Environment, Jersey • Dr Mike Pienkowski, Chairman, UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum

OT and CD Environment Meeting May 22 2017 2

Minister Richards was joined by Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the Environment, Marva-Jean O’Brien.

This was only the second meeting of its kind; the first having been hosted by the Government of Gibraltar in 2015, at which Bermuda was not represented.

The 2017 meeting was chaired jointly by Victor Brownlees, Alderney’s Chief Executive, and Dr. John Cortés, Minister for the Environment of Gibraltar and was made possible by the work of the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum [UKOTCF], a UK-based NGO dedicated to ensuring conservation across these jurisdictions.

“The UKOTs and Crown Dependencies all have their own identity and governing structure, with no representation in the UK Parliament; however they all form part of the nation-state of the UK,” the Ministry said.

“The exact relationship between the UK Overseas Territories [UKOT] and the Crown Dependencies [CDs] with the UK differs for each, though the UK is generally responsible for defence, international relations including international conventions, and also reserve powers in respect to their legislation.

“Combined, the UKOTs and CDs are home to a large concentration of endemic [found nowhere else] and endangered species. There are thought to be over 100,000 native species – 300 of which are thought to be endemic species restricted to a single location.

“The Ministers’ Council has published its statement, which has been sent to those UK Government ministers with responsibilities in this area. The statement made a number of key points, a few of which are highlighted here:

  • In terms of the UK’s responsibility for global biodiversity, the UKOT ecosystems are of great economic importance.
  • The statement welcomed current initiatives by UKOTCF and partner organisations in the territories to empower local people to become champions of the natural environments on which their economies and well-being depend
  • The territory ministers expressed pleasure at the joint working by territory governments with UKOTCF and other NGOs, both to monitor progress in environmental conservation and to undertake some of the actions that achieve this. However, they were concerned at the lack of continuity or a coordinated approach to the territories by the UK Government.
  • The statement notes that the departure of UK from the European Union will remove a major funding source.
  • The territory ministers identified other possible negative consequences on their environments as a result of ‘Brexit’, and called on the UK Government to act to mitigate this. Such measures include assistance to territories to join other international agreements, and providing strong support to Gibraltar in resisting damage to its marine environment. Gibraltar has been successful in using EU procedures to resist these – but there is the possibility that this will end with ‘Brexit’.

click here banner environment 2

Read More About

Category: All, Environment