In 2008, IUCN together with the Government of France and the Regional Council of Reunion Island convened the first conference on EU overseas entities. This meeting gathered, for the first time, all EU overseas entities, their governments, the European Commission, experts and civil society with the aim to establish a joint strategy and action plan to counter biodiversity loss and the impacts of climate change.
In 2010, IUCN launched the EU Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories Programme with the support of the Government of France to advance the implementation of the Message from Reunion Island - a series of concrete actions to protect biodiversity, economies and diverse ways of life of Europe overseas.
The objectives of the Programme are:
- to raise awareness of Europe overseas' biodiversity and climate change issues with the EU and the international community to facilitate their integration into policies and programmes,
- to actively promote collaboration in those regions where Europe overseas are located, and
- to support the capacity-building of Europe overseas in biodiversity conservation and adaptation to climate change.
The activities of the Programme include:
1. Information exchange, dialogue, advocacy and coordination between Europe overseas actors:
promoting Europe overseas via a range of communication tools (website, newsletter, online discussion forum, twitter)
convening a Europe overseas multi-stakeholder working group on biodiversity and climate change,
facilitating dialogue and joint activities between Europe overseas and countries in their regions, and
advocating Europe overseas' biodiversity and climate change issues in EU and international fora.
2. Strategic and technical reviews in Europe overseas to inform EU and international policies and programmes:
reviewing the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Europe overseas,
reviewing the extent of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and MPA networks and connectivity in the Europe Overseas,
reviewing the impact of invasive species in Europe Overseas, and
reviewing the impact of climate change Europe Overseas
to name a few.
3. Fostering a sustainable partnership:
- Contributing to the implementation of the BEST Initiative through a BEST III consortium coordinated by IUCN and the management of the BEST 2.0 Programme. The BEST initiative provides support for the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable use of ecosystem services, including ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation in the EU overseas entities.
- Fostering political dialogue and commitment to a sustainable partnership dedicated to the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable use of ecosystem services including ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation.