UKOT & CD Governments sign agreement on environmental co-operation.
The photograph (courtesy of Lian Camilleri, HM Government of Gibraltar) shows the territories present and initially signing. From left: Assistant Minister (Deputy Gregory Guida) & Minister (Deputy John Young) Jersey, Minister Montserrat (Hon. Claude Hogan), President States of Alderney (Mr William Tate), Representative Tristan da Cunha (Dr Stephanie Martin), Minister Guernsey (Deputy Barry Brehaut), Representative Gibraltar (Dr Liesl Mesillo), Representative Sark (Shakira Christodoulou), Secretariat UKOTCF (Dr Mike Pienkowski). Other territories have indicated their wish to sign, and this will be arranged soon.
Acknowledging that the natural environment has no boundaries, Ministers and other representatives from the UK family of small islands met during the Wilder Islands conservation conference hosted by Alderney, and agreed the Blue Island Charter. The Charter provides a statement of principle on a number of initiatives previously discussed by the UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies Environment Ministers Council as well as other islands. These stressed working together on common issues which we all face.
UKOTCF, as secretariat to the Environment Ministers Council, is pleased to have been able to facilitate progress, working particularly with HM Government of Gibraltar which initiated the process and the States of Alderney which hosted the signing.
Some key issues which the UK family of territories intend to pursue include moving towards a ban on single use plastics and, in general, controlling the impact of the Island’s activities upon the terrestrial and marine environment. Crucially, this would be facilitated by supporting each other through open communication and education.
The various territories are also actively exploring the possibility of creating a joint biodiversity fund to support inter-island work. This fund would also be open to contributions from other parties, including governmental, corporate and private sources.
This charter demonstrates the will and intent of islands to work together for the benefit of all, to safeguard the environment and promote active collaboration on matters such as climate change. It portrays a level of commitment in promoting environmental governance in a manner rarely seen on a global scale.
A copy of the final text can be seen here.