Banner image: Workshop on Environmental Impact Assessment provided pro bono by UKOTCF and Treweek Environment Consultants, at the request of Montserrat and UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. Copyright: UKOTCF

We often organise seminars and training events on issues, which are topical or are identified by partners as helpful to them in their work.

Environmental and biodiversity protection post-Brexit (2016) 

At the request of HM Government of Gibraltar (HMGoG), a meeting was organised on 28 October 2016 at Gibraltar House in London. Several senior representatives of some of the largest and most influential conservation-management organisations in the UK attended. The meeting was an initiative of HMGoG to share information on challenges that Gibraltar and the UK have in common, in order to coordinate work that aims at ensuring that environmental and biodiversity protection do not suffer post-Brexit.

Meeting of Gibraltar Government and UK NGOs on ‘Brexit’, chaired by Dr John Cortés (at head of table), Minister for the Environment, and organised by UKOTCF; Copyright: Emma Cary

The meeting was attended by representatives from: the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), the National Trust, the Wildlife Trusts, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, as well as UKOTCF. The National Trust for Scotland and the Green Alliance were not able to attend but will be involved in the process. The Gibraltar Government gave a presentation and there was wide discussion on challenges and possibilities. Contact between the groups will continue.

 

Multilateral Environment Agreements

Sign-up ‘clinic’ Gibraltar (2015) 

During the Gibraltar Conference 2015 , a ‘clinic’ was held to provide information and guidance on how UKOTs and CDs might go about signing up to Multilateral Environmental Agreements, particularly the Convention on Biological Diversity;UKOTCF had long fulfilled a similar role in relation to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance.

Presentations were given by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on an introduction on extension of MEAs to UKOTs [pp 239...]; the Isle of Man Government on their journey towards signing up to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) [pp 243...]; and the South Georgia and South Sandwich Island Government on their experience in sign up to the CBD by the South Georgia and South Sandwich Island Government, in March 2015 [pp 245...]. The discussions were an opportunity for Falklands colleagues to raise queries about their possible sign-up, which occurred a year later. 

Environmental Impact Assessment 

Workshop on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) principles and practice, Gibraltar (2015)

Following the main conference held in Gibraltar in 2015, Dr Jo Treweek, of Treweek Environmental Consultants, led a workshop on Environmental Impact Assessment. Participants had a wide range of experience in this area, from little experience to those sitting on an environmental advisory board or conducting EIAs and those doing scoping, screenings and reviews within Government departments. The presentation is included in the Gibraltar proceedings [pp 399...]

 

Workshop on Environmental Impact Assessment: principles and practice, Montserrat (2015) 

In autumn 2014, knowing that EIA training would form part of the Gibraltar conference, FCO’s Director of Overseas Territories pointed informed us that Montserrat had more need for guidance on this and other environmental planning than any other UKOT – and indeed many other places. He offered to cover the costs of special work in Montserrat on this aspect if we could put it together. With an added request from Montserrat’s new Minister of Environment (a new Government had been elected in Montserrat in autumn 2014) and other local interests, we managed to implement this training at short notice, in January 2015.

Hon. Claude Hogan opens the EIA workshop at hosted at the Montserrat National Trust offices; Copyright: UKOTCF

Unfortunately, UK Government cuts meant that FCO could not deliver the intended funding. However, we and partners met the cost. (In the following year, the Darwin Plus project provided some resources for the necessary further expansion of this work, and other aspects.) The workshop had strong local participation at all levels, and the opening half-day was attended by all Ministers in the new Government.

 

Launch of Environmental Audit Committee report (2014) 

In 2013, we provided written and oral evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry into Sustainability in the UK Overseas Territories. Much of the written and oral evidence to the EAC is already on its website .

On 16th January 2014, at the request of EAC, UKOTCF organised a workshop on the day that the report was launched. This was attended by the Chair and two other MP members of EAC, together with two of their staff, as well as a wide range of personnel from UKOT governments and NGOs (including some by Skype from the UKOTs), UK Government and British-based NGOs, and others. The report of that workshop is available here. Forum News 42 also includes summaries of the EAC’s report and the workshop.

 

Workshop on UK Government’s White Paper (2012) 

On 2nd October 2012 UKOTCF organised a workshop, with a wide range of participants from Britain and the UKOTs, to discuss aspects of UK Government’s 2012 White Paper which affect the environment and how to move forward from this.

The workshop followed on from workshops organised by UKOTCF in 2010  and 2011 on biodiversity strategies, trying to complement the UK Government biodiversity 'strategy' for UKOTs – which was really a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between UK ministries, rather than a strategy in the usual sense – and attempting to relate this to other commitments, such as the Environment Charters and the Aichi Targets. The reports of these workshops are available at the links to the years above.

The 2012 workshop arose from concerns that the UKOTCF’s network believed exist with the environmental aspects of UK Government’s White Paper The Overseas Territories: Security, Success and Sustainability.

Following the publication of the White Paper, UKOTCF put considerable effort into analysing the White Paper and produced a review and a look at priority needs.