The Environmental Audit Committee is today launching a new inquiry on sustainability in the UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs).
The 14 UK Overseas Territories are home to some 260,000 people. They contain more biodiversity that the entire UK mainland, including 74 critically endangered species. The UK Government is accountable for biodiversity in the UKOTs under international conventions. In June 2012, the FCO published The Overseas Territories: Security, Success and Sustainability, the first White Paper on UKOTs since 1999.
The inquiry will specifically examine:
- The extent to which UK Government strategy on the UKOTs embodies the principles of sustainable development and appropriately trades-off environmental protection, social development and economic growth;
- How the UK Government is fulfilling its responsibilities to protect biodiversity in the UKOTs;
- How the UK Government is helping the UKOTs adapt to the impact of climate change;
- Whether the recommendations in our 2008 Report, Halting biodiversity loss, on safeguarding biodiversity and practising joined-up government to further conservation have been implemented;
- Whether UK Government strategy on the UKOTs is consistent with the conclusions and commitments on protecting biodiversity reached at the recent United Nations Rio+20 conference;
- How weaknesses in civil society and governance in the UKOTs impact on conservation; and
- How the introduction of ‘Marine Protected Areas’ could safeguard the marine environment in the uninhabited territories.