Communities from the Austral Islands, a remote archipelago comprising of five inhabited islands south of Tahiti have announced they want to create what would become the World’s largest ocean sanctuary – 1 million square kilometres (386,000 square miles) around French Polynesia, 163,000 square kilometres (63,000 square miles) larger than the current largest sanctuary of United Kingdom’s Pitcairn Islands.
The European Bureau for Conservation and Development (EBCD) organised the final conference of NetBiome-CSA last Wednesday 6th of April entitled “Boosting Biodiversity Research Cooperation – A NetBiome Roadmap for European (sub)Tropical Overseas”.
Filmmaker and geographer Stewart McPherson spent three years visiting all UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) in order to research, film and document the wealth of flora and fauna in these remote regions. Hours of footage taken across Britain’s most remote outposts have been edited into a series of documentary films that aim to raise awareness of the wildlife and conservation of the territories.
The IUCN Regional Conservation Forum for Europe, North and Central Asia, held on 14-16 December 2015 in Helsinki, delivered the Message from Helsinki to support mainstreaming biodiversity and inspiring new generations through a series of actions. Special focus was placed on the management of marine ecosystems that are under strong pressure from overfishing, pollution and ocean acidification and a special attention was called for the EU Overseas (Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories).
This year begins on a very positive note from the British government who have announced the future establishment of a marine reserve almost as big as the UK in the Atlantic waters of Ascension Island. Home to large colonies of tropical seabirds, green turtles and some of the largest marlin in the world, it is the latest remote island marine reserve to be declared after the creation of the Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve in March 2015.
“Sentinels of climate change and large oceanic entities” are what islands represent at the frontline of climate change. A reality echoed by representatives from islands at COP21. Also emphasised was how addressing climate change impacts was a matter of national security, as people’s health, food and water supplies are at risk, as well as infrastructures and the islands’ physical and cultural integrity.
The second newsletter of the EU BEST initiative is now online!
At the forefront of the impacts of climate change, islands ask for their concerns to be heard and offer solutions and commitments towards adaptation and mitigation.
Important sustainable development and biodiversity conservation projects in Europe’s Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) in the Polar/Subpolar, South Atlantic, Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Pacific regions are now able to seek funding.
EU Overseas entities host most of the EU’s biodiversity and give it the largest marine territory in the world. Preserving their species and ecosystems is key to sustaining economies well beyond regional boundaries and to meet conservation targets at national, European and international levels. Read more in BEST newsletter!