My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (David Miliband) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
The Government are today launching a public consultation into a proposal put forward by the Chagos Environment Network to establish a marine protected area in the British Indian Ocean Territory.
The Chagos Environment Network’s proposal The Chagos Archipelago: its Nature and the Future advocates the creation of one of the world’s greatest natural conservation areas and is a remarkable opportunity for Britain to create one of the world’s largest marine protected areas and double the global coverage of the world’s oceans benefiting from protection.
The purpose of the consultation is to seek views from stakeholders and interested parties to help the Government assess whether a marine protected area is the right option for the future environmental protection of the territory and we are, therefore, strongly encouraging as many people as possible to participate in the consultation. We are also arranging for a facilitator to travel to Port Louis and Victoria early next year to listen to the views of the Chagossian communities and other stakeholders in Mauritius and Seychelles. The consultation will run until 12 February 2010.
Copies of the consultation are available on www.fco.gov.uk, www.ukinmauritius.fco.gov.uk and www.ukinseychelles.fco.gov.uk and are being disseminated widely to interested groups.