Consultation on the Future of the Chagos Archipelago/British Indian Ocean Territory

12 February 2010 | News story
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The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) launched in November 2009 a public consultation to “assess whether a marine protected area is the right option for the future environmental protection” of the Chagos Archipelago/British Indian Ocean Territory. The consultation ends on 12 February 2010.

In response to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) consultation, IUCN and its World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) have submitted a paper based on consultation with members, partners and experts, supporting the creation of a full marine reserve in Chagos, and stressing the need for meaningful involvement of all relevant stakeholders in defining the outcome of the consultation.

The Permanent Mission of the Republic of Mauritius to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva addressed a Note Verbale to IUCN Director General expressing the position of the Government of the Republic of Mauritius on the subject. The Government of the Republic of Mauritius questions the legitimacy of the consultation process due to considerations of sovereignty, and requests IUCN not to make submissions on the matter, but reaffirms its commitment to the conservation of the Chagos Archipelago.

IUCN’s Director General addressed in a Note Verbale the concerns presented by the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Mauritius to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva, and explained the arguments and reasons of IUCN’s position, as well as its hopes in a future agreement by all parties on the establishment of the highest conservation measures in the Chagos Archipelago.

For more background on the issue and IUCN's position on the possible establishment of a marine protected area in the Chagos Archipelago, click here

A number of responses have been received in follow up to the exchanges detailed above. IUCN intends to be fully transparent and will continue to post responses on this page. An area for comments has been established below. IUCN welcomes the views of its constituents.

The Permanent Mission of the Republic of Mauritius to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva responded on the 23 February, disassociating the Government of Mauritius from the IUCN submission in the context of the public consultations launched by the British Government and reaffirming its position as outlined in the Note Verbale of 28 January 2010.

In response to the background information on the issue and IUCN’s position (“Questions and Answers”, February 2010),comments have been received from Peter Sand, member of the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law (CEL).

On 8 March 2010, IUCN’s Director General responded to H. E. Ambassador Servansing, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Mauritius to the United Nations and other international organisations, providing clarification regarding IUCN’s position on the proposed Marine Protected Area in the Chagos Archipelago.



1 Peter H. Sand IUCN-CEL
See the most recent source references in 'The Chagos Archipelago: Footprint of Empire, or World Heritage?', Environmental Policy and Law 40:5 (October 2010) 232-242
November 23, 2010 - 18:02
2 Peter H. Sand
Hopefully, the valiant new "Conservation and Human Rights Framework" jointly adopted by IUCN and other organizations (now on this Website) will also be conveyed to the Chagos Islanders, who are currently battling the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) before the European Court of Human Rights.
March 24, 2010 - 10:06
3 Allen Vincatassin
@Snoxell.Do you think that if Mr Bancoult is resettled one day in Peros Banhos he will not be able to do fishing?You and others have used this as an excuse to have an unfair campaign against the wish of our people. Perhaps the Mauritians might employ you on Chagos if you make them win.
March 5, 2010 - 17:36
4 David Snoxell
Thks Allen for your suggestion. Perhaps the FCO would let me move to Chagos. The fact is that all Chagossian groups support an MPA that provides for local fishing. I assume you do too.
March 5, 2010 - 12:55
5 Allen Vincatassin
Dear Mr. Snoxell The Chagos Conservation Network is engaging with us because we made our own decisions to work with them and get involved with the MPA consultation. We do not let people like you to tell us what to do, nor the State of Mauritius to rule us in future. You need to pack up and leave.
March 4, 2010 - 22:23
6 charles sheppard
The Indian Ocean people need Chagos to remain in best possible condition (whoever may or may not live there or govern it), as much because of the dire state of most of the ocean as to the good condition in Chagos. There is no other similar place in the region where this could happen.
March 3, 2010 - 06:20
7 Venen Paratian
The Chagos have been stolen and plundered. Today, in order to sustain military presence, a green blanket is being unfolded. Any project for a Protected Marine Area should be discussed, agreed and monitored amongst neighbouring countries of the Indian Ocean. IUCN please open your eyes.
February 28, 2010 - 06:01
8 David Snoxell
Mr Church, an MPA that did not make provision for local fishing would reinforce the existing legal ban on return, It would signal that Chagossians are not welcome in their homeland. There are plenty of good fish in the sea for those that return.
February 27, 2010 - 10:17
9 Linda Wilson
Of course pursue the military to obey the law, both in the Chagos and elsewhere, but why shouldn't IUCN promote a protected area which excludes the military base, given that everyone knows the military wont accept a protected area on their base here or anywhere else and a runway is not ideal habitat
February 26, 2010 - 20:00
10 Peter H. Sand
Dear Linda, my point regarding the Diego Garcia military base (that part of the 'real world' which IUCN curiously fails to address in its response) is very simple indeed: Don't exempt it from the environmental rules which everybody else in the proposed MPA will have to observe. Period.
February 26, 2010 - 19:22
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