Minister for Environment and Climate Change Prof John Cortes last week chaired a virtual meeting of the Council of Environment Ministers from the UK Overseas Territories (OTs) and Crown Dependencies (CDs).
The Council was set up at a meeting in Gibraltar’s Garrison Library in 2015, and has met at least annually since.
The meeting was attended by Environment Ministers, or equivalents, and senior officials from all the territories in question, as well as their London representatives, and the UK Overseas Territories’ Association (UKOTA), with the secretariat provided by the UK Overseas Territories’ Conservation Forum (UKOTCF).
The Rt Hon Lord Benyon, UK DEFRA Minister of State (Minister for Biosecurity, Marine and Rural Affairs) attended the meeting and participated in the discussions. These covered a wide range of topics, including representation in Conferences of the Parties of environmental conventions and agreements, biodiversity, funding for environmental projects, and management of protected areas.
All present considered the meeting to be useful and successful and agreed to increase the frequency to at least every six months.
Minister Cortes commented: “All the OTs and CDs are very different from each other in many ways, but also share many common challenges, problems and opportunities. These meetings of the Council have proved extremely useful in pushing the environmental agenda both in our small jurisdictions and also in the UK.”