AboutZoos, Since 2008


Recent IUCN report rec­om­mends EU to main­stream over­seas bio­di­ver­sity policy

pub­lished 30 July 2011 | mod­i­fied 23 Decem­ber 2011

In a recently pub­lished report the IUCN has iden­ti­fied some crit­i­cal issues that ham­pers imple­men­ta­tion of the Con­ven­tion on Bio­log­i­cal Diver­sity (CBD) in Europe’s over­seas ter­ri­to­ries. The rich­ness and value of their bio­log­i­cal diver­sity, and the con­sti­tu­tional and insti­tu­tional pecu­liar­i­ties of the over­seas enti­ties of the Euro­pean Union, made the Inter­na­tional Union for Con­ser­va­tion of Nature (IUCN) decide to con­duct an in-​depth review of the sta­tus of imple­men­ta­tion of the CBD and of spe­cific strate­gies and plans as part of CBD-​determined National Bio­di­ver­sity Strate­gies and Action Plans (NBSAP) at national lev­els. The CBD is a global treaty signed by 193 State Par­ties includ­ing the EU Mem­ber States.

There are 30 over­seas enti­ties that are linked to the Euro­pean Union (EU). Six EU Mem­ber States, Den­mark, France, the Nether­lands, Por­tu­gal, Spain and the United King­dom still have (some) legal con­trol over these geo­graph­i­cal areas (see list below). These areas spread across all oceans and are home to a unique bio­log­i­cal diver­sity and ecosys­tems. There­fore, these Euro­pean ORs and OCTs are of cru­cial impor­tance for bio­di­ver­sity at a global scale. They are located in bio­di­ver­sity hotspots, such as the Caribbean Islands, Mada­gas­car and Indian Ocean Islands, New Cale­do­nia and Polynesia-​Micronesia. They rep­re­sent major wilder­ness areas in the Guyana Shield, and polar ecosys­tems and fish stocks in Green­land, the Falk­land Islands (Malv­inas), the French South­ern and Antarc­tic Ter­ri­to­ries (TAAF) and South Geor­gia and South Sand­wich Islands. Together, they host more than 20 per­cent of the world’s coral reefs and lagoons, and a lot more species than main­land EU. For exam­ple, New Cale­do­nia alone has about as many endemic species as the entire Euro­pean con­ti­nent, French Guiana includes an area of Ama­zon rain­for­est the size of Por­tu­gal, and the Cha­gos arch­i­pel­ago in the BIOT is home to the largest coral atoll in the world.

The pur­pose of the study was to iden­tify the cur­rent sta­tus of the imple­men­ta­tion of the CBD includ­ing exist­ing strate­gies and action plans in the EU over­seas enti­ties, and if there are lessons to be learned with regard to best prac­tices and imped­i­ments that are iden­ti­fied. To name a few crit­i­cial issues that were identified:

  • As national poli­cies and plans are not always trans­lated at local level or the com­pe­tency is del­e­gated, there is fre­quent absence of bio­di­ver­sity pol­icy and plan­ning instru­ments, which means that bio­di­ver­sity con­sid­er­a­tions and objec­tives are not main­streamed in local devel­op­ment processes.

  • This is rein­forced when there is insuf­fi­cient invest­ment by the respon­si­ble EU Mem­ber State to sup­port the devel­op­ment and imple­men­ta­tion of bio­di­ver­sity action plans and equivalent.

  • Because of their pecu­liar sta­tus, the OCTs are not eli­gi­ble for the same kind of tech­ni­cal and finan­cial sup­port as their geo­graphic neigh­bours, even when their needs and con­di­tions are very sim­i­lar. This rep­re­sents one of the main prac­ti­cal obsta­cles to gen­uine and effec­tive coop­er­a­tion between EU over­seas enti­ties and inde­pen­dent coun­tries within their respec­tive regions.

Nev­er­the­less, the over­seas enti­ties have been able to make remark­able progress towards the achieve­ment of the goals and tar­gets of the CBD Pro­gramme of work on Island Bio­di­ver­sity, and their achieve­ments need to be bet­ter rec­og­nized and their efforts more effec­tively supported.

One of the report’s rec­om­men­da­tions is that the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion should con­sider the estab­lish­ment of an inte­grated pol­icy frame­work for EU over­seas enti­ties and play a cen­tral role in ensur­ing the rel­e­vance and coher­ence between EU bio­di­ver­sity and ecosys­tems poli­cies and the CBD’s post-​2010 revised and updated strate­gic plan.

(Source: web­site IUCN, 13.07.2011)

List of Europe’s over­seas territories

Over­seas Coun­tries and Ter­ri­to­ries (OCTs)1:

— Anguilla
- Aruba
- Bermuda, British Antarc­tic Ter­ri­tory (BAT)
- British Indian Ocean Ter­ri­tory (BIOT)
- British Vir­gin Islands (BVI)
- Cay­man Islands
- Falk­land Islands (Malvinas)
- French Polynesia
- French South­ern and Antarc­tic Ter­ri­to­ries (TAAF)
- Green­land
- May­otte
- Montser­rat
- for­mer Nether­lands Antilles
- New Caledonia
- Pit­cairn
- Saint Helena
- Tris­tan da Cunha and Ascen­sion Island
- Saint Pierre and Miquelon
- South Geor­gia and South Sand­wich Islands
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- Wal­lis and Futuna

Out­er­most Regions (ORs)1:

— the Azores
- the Canary Islands
- Guade­loupe
- French Guiana
- Madeira
- Mar­tinique
- Reunion Island
- Saint Barthélémy2
- Saint Mar­tin2

1 OCTs refer to those enti­ties which are not part of, but are asso­ci­ated with, the EU under Part IV of the Treaty of the Euro­pean Union, dis­tinct from Ors which are an inte­gral part of the Euro­pean Union under the Treaty of the Euro­pean Union.

2 that were for­merly part of Guade­loupe and have recently acquired a sep­a­rate status.

UN Biodiversity decade
WWF Stop Wildlife Crime
Fight for Flight campaign
End Ivory-funded Terrorism
Support Rewilding Europe
NASA State of Flux

Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map

Tiger map” (CC BY 2.5) by Sander­son et al., 2006.

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