Biodiversity in Overseas Territories: UK Call for Evidence launched

biodiversity in overseas territories
© iStock/Mark Kostich

The UK government has announced a Call for Evidence to gather data on biodiversity preservation in UK Overseas Territories.

The Call for Evidence is set to last 10 weeks and is aimed at supporting ongoing work to reduce climate change and promote biodiversity in Overseas Territories, including Bermuda, Gibraltar and the Cayman Islands. The UK’s Overseas Territories account for more than 90 per cent of British terrestrial and marine nature, with around 3,300 native species; and the Call for Evidence is intended to streamline existing funding streams and develop new ones in order to preserve these species, many of which are particularly vulnerable to the ill effects of climate change.

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said: “Britain’s Overseas Territories contain some of the world’s most important and fragile ecosystems. As I said in the recent Spring Statement, there is a clear link between biodiversity and economic growth, so acting now to protect and nurture the biodiversity of the Overseas Territories is not only a down payment on our pledge to leave the environment in a better condition than we found it, but also supports sustainable economic growth in these island territories.”

The Call for Evidence comes as part of the UK’s 25 Year Environment Plan and includes the continued maintenance of the Blue Belt programme, which will distribute £20 million (€23.15 million) between 2016 and 2020 to ensure the preservation of marine biodiversity in Overseas Territories.

Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, the UK’s Minister of State for the Overseas Territories, said: “Governments around the world must act now to preserve animal and plant species and halt irreversible damage to our planet before it is too late. The UK Government is working to do just this, from our Blue Belt programme which will protect over four million square kilometres of ocean around the British Overseas Territories by 2020, to our leadership on fighting the illegal wildlife trade, to this new call for evidence which will help safeguard the rich biodiversity of our Overseas Territories. The long-term protection of these fragile and unique ecosystems is absolutely vital.”

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