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Nature Conservation: British Overseas Territories

Volume 468: debated on Wednesday 28 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what contribution the UK is making to (a) improving species conservation and (b) tackling non-native invasive species in the Overseas Territories; and if he will make a statement. (167239)

The Government’s aim is to work in partnership with the Overseas Territory Governments to assist them in achieving, among other things, the objectives set out in individual Overseas Territories Environment Charters. In doing so the Government provide access to funding to improve species conservation from a variety of sources, for example: the Overseas Territories Environment Programme (OTEP), jointly managed by the FCO and DFID; the Darwin Initiative; the International Sustainable Development Fund (ISDF); the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP); and the Flagship Species Fund, administered by Fauna and Flora International, but supported by DEFRA.

On non-native invasive species, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), the statutory adviser to Government on UK and international nature conservation, has undertaken a review of non-native species in the UK Overseas Territories. This review is being used to guide various projects relating to invasive species in Overseas Territories. In June 2007 JNCC also hosted a workshop on invasive species in the Overseas Territories bringing together a range of stakeholders to share information, and to discuss future collaboration in this area of work.

Elsewhere, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, (a DEFRA sponsored body) has undertaken a number of separate initiatives, including a programme of seed collecting initiated in four Territories (British Virgin Islands, St. Helena, Ascension and Falkland Islands), and DMA banking of the Flora of South Georgia.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what animal welfare and protection provisions apply in the Overseas Territories, with particular reference to nesting marine turtles. (167330)

Animal welfare and protection provisions are matters for individual Overseas Territory Governments. With regard to marine turtles, in 2001 DEFRA and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) jointly commissioned the Marine Turtle Research Group (MTRG) to undertake a research project on the Status and Exploitation of Marine Turtles in the UK Caribbean Overseas Territories (TCOT). The resultant report, published in 2004, outlines the diversity of legislation relating to the protection, harvest and sale of marine turtles.

In relation to the British Indian Ocean Territory, the UK is a signatory to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Conservation of Marine Turtles in the Indian Ocean and South East Asia (IOSEA). The MoU puts in place a framework through which States of the Indian Ocean and South-East Asian region, as well as other concerned States, can work together to conserve and replenish depleted marine turtle populations for which they share responsibility. Since 2002 the Government have provided voluntary contributions totalling around £150,000 to fund projects that fall under the MoU.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many extinctions of species have been recorded in the Overseas Territories in the last five years. (167359)

According to advice from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), the statutory adviser to Government on UK and international nature conservation, there has been one extinction in the last five years in Her Majesty’s Overseas Territories namely the St. Helena Olive Nesiota elliptica. The last cultivated St. Helena Olive tree, an endemic to the island of the same name, died in 2003 on St. Helena; the last wild individual died in 1994.