Policy paper

The environment in the United Kingdom’s Overseas Territories: UK government and civil society support

This publication was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

This paper sets out the array of environmental issues in the UKOTs and the advice and support which is available to the Territories from Defra.



The United Kingdom has responsibility for 14 Overseas Territories (UKOTs)*, which are spread throughout the globe and support a diverse range of ecosystems and habitats, and sustain a large number of rare and threatened species. It is clear that UKOTs face environmental challenges. Conserving and sustainably using biodiversity, control and eradication of invasive alien species, protecting the marine environment, adapting to climate change, proper management of waste, and sustainable environmental management, are all issues for the UKOTs which need action.

Following recommendations made by the Government’s National Security Council in 2011 Defra has produced a paper on the advice and support available to the UKOTs in areas of its competency. The Defra Paper outlines the array of environmental issues in the UKOTs and the advice and support which is available to the Territories from Defra, its Agencies and Civil Society on these issues. The paper outlines two overarching objectives for the environment that align with wider Government objectives for the UKOTs developed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) -  the lead department for the UKOTs. These objectives are underpinned by priorities for action, which are then further supported by ten broad commitments.

The process of government departments developing their papers has been co-ordinated by the FCO. Defra’s paper, along with those from other Government Departments, will inform the development of a White Paper on the UKOTs to be published in Spring 2012.

_* _The UKOTs consist of: Turks and the Caicos Islands; Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; The Pitcairn Islands; Montserrat; Gibraltar; the Falkland Islands; the Cayman Islands; the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT); the British Virgin Islands; the British Antarctic Territory; Bermuda; Anguilla.