Developing Strategies for Action to Implement Environment Charters
Developing the pilot strategies
On 26 Sept 2001, the Governments of most UK Overseas Territories and the Government of the UK signed Environment Charters, which include statements of principles and commitments by both parties in respect of integrating environmental conservation into all sectors of policy planning and implementation. The first commitment of the UKOTs was to formulate a detailed strategy for action, and HMG’s first commitment was to help build capacity to support and implement integrated environmental management. Informal feedback from the Territories both to the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office and UKOTCF indicated that the first need was for facilitation in developing these strategies for action. Following discussions between UKOTCF, FCO, and some of the UKOT Governments, UKOTCF undertook a facilitation project to develop a strategy for action to implement a first example UKOT to serve as a model to others, with support from FCO. The facilitation exercise comprised a series of activities covering 2-3 week periods in territory, between which the facilitators analysed the results of consultations and discussions, clarified points as necessary with local colleagues, and prepared for the next round of consultations. The Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands (the partners in the pilot) subsequently adopted the resulting strategy.
The Forum worked also to help some other UKOTs to make use of this model. As part of this exercise, and as the main general output from the project, the Forum facilitators, Dr Mike Pienkowski and Mrs Dace McCoy Ground, produced guidelines on the production of strategies for action to implement the Environment Charters. This was to provide guidance to the other UKOTs, based on the TCI pilot exercise, together with information available on the earlier stages of approaches elsewhere. These guidelines were not intended as a “recipe book”, not least because the situations in different UKOTs differ. Furthermore, UKOTCF believes that some measure of facilitation is likely to be needed in all cases. However, the guidelines should reduce the amount of work needed in each case.
The guidelines may be downloaded as a pdf file (1102 kb), and this is advised because formatting is more likely to be retained on different platforms.
They are available also as a Microsoft Word document (2200 kb). This was intended mainly for facilitators who wished to extract some of the matrices, to modify for use in other UKOTs.
The facilitators acknowledge the support and help of the Government and all stake-holders in the Turks & Caicos Islands, FCO, and personnel in other UKOTs for discussion.
UK Government later stopped providing support for Environment Charter development, but later realised that this is crucial approach. Accordingly, several years later, they initiated the “mainstreaming” programme – which was functionally almost identical and incorporated many similar techniques to those developed earlier by UKOTCF.
Strategies for Action to Implement Environment Charters
Turks and Caicos
The Government of St Helena volunteered to be the first UKOT to try to apply the guidelines and asked UKOTCF to facilitate the development of a Strategy for Action there. This was achieved during late 2004 and early 2005, with Dr Mike and Mrs Ann Pienkowski as facilitators, with some of the costs being met by UK Government’s Overseas Territories Environment Programme (OTEP). The resulting Strategy for Action to implement St Helena’s Environment Charter was welcomed in March 2005 by St Helena’s Legislative Council, which commended the Strategy to St Helena’s Executive Council for formal adoption. Pending the latter, the document must be considered as a draft, although it is already in use. It can be downloaded here as a 633 kb pdf file.