The rich environmental assets of Britain’s Overseas Territories (OTs) will be preserved through a Government fund of around £2 million a year, Environment Minister Richard Benyon announced in Hyderabad today.
The Overseas Territories Environment and Climate Fund will see around £2 million a year dedicated to environmental and conservation projects in the UK’s OTs.
Money from the Overseas Territories Environment and Climate Fund will be given to a variety of projects ranging from protecting endangered species, to tackling climate change, to helping communities improve their local environment and their livelihoods.
Announcing the new fund at the Convention on Biological Diversity, Richard Benyon said:
“Our Overseas Territories are home to many plants and animals that are found nowhere else in the world. These unique species are particularly precious at a time when we are suffering such a high rate of biodiversity loss around the globe.
“The UK has a responsibly to protect the vulnerable wildlife and habitats in our OTs, and this fund will help us do just that; otherwise rare species like the Cayman Brac Parrot will be lost forever.”
Foreign Office Minister Mark Simmonds said:
“I am delighted to welcome the launch of this new fund. It is an excellent example of how we are meeting our White Paper commitment to provide co-ordinated Government support to the Overseas Territories and a signal of how important we consider the environments of the Overseas Territories to be. I have high hopes that this fund will lead to many innovative and creative projects which will result in better sustainable environmental management in the Overseas Territories.”
The OTs are home to many species and environments found nowhere else in the world - including an estimated 90 per cent of the biodiversity found within the UK and OTs combined. They are internationally recognised for their exceptionally rich and varied natural environments, including the world’s largest coral atoll in British Indian Ocean Territory.
The new fund will make it simpler for the UK’s OTs to access funding through one dedicated source. It will operate under the banner of Defra’s Darwin Initiative, and will bring together existing UK Government funding on OT environmental projects from Defra, DfID and the FCO.
A call for applications has gone out today (17 October).
The new Overseas Territories Environment and Climate Fund will be administered alongside the Darwin Initiative. It will continue to be accessible to OT Governments, NGOs, research institutions, the private sector and other stakeholders.
The fund aims to provide a simpler and more co-ordinated mechanism to support OT natural environment issues replacing OT funding available currently under Defra’s Darwin Initiative plus the OT Environment Programme (OTEP) funding previously provided by DfID and FCO.**
More details will be found on the Darwin Initiative website http://darwin.defra.gov.uk/
There are 14 UK Overseas Territories, 11 of which have permanent populations.
- Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands are all in the Caribbean.
- Bermuda is in the North Atlantic Ocean.
- The Falkland Islands and the Territory of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha are located in the South Atlantic.
- Pitcairn, with a population of less than 60 people, is the only Territory in the Pacific.
- Gibraltar is the only Territory in the EU. The Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekilia in Cyprus are an Overseas Territory but are not formally part of the EU.
- The remaining Territories, ie the British Antarctic Territory, the British Indian Ocean Territory, and South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands (in the South Atlantic) do not have permanent populations.
- More information on the OTs can be found on the FCO website www.fco.gov.uk.