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

12 February 2010 | News story

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.