Conference Highlights Contribution of Overseas Entities to Biodiversity Conservation and Climate Change Challenge

20 December 2011: A conference on “Islands and Overseas Entities' contribution to biodiversity conservation and the fight against climate change” was held at the European Parliament, and aimed to raise awareness on the importance of overseas entities and islands' assets to take up these challenges.

This conference followed a meeting hosted by the French Presidency of the EU in 2008 in La Reunion, titled “Strategies to Counter Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss," where six EU member States (the UK, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Denmark) and 34 overseas entities, recognized the significance of these territories for climate change adaptation and mitigation.

In a video message delivered at the December 2011 conference, Ahmed Djoghlaf, UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Executive Secretary, noted that the contribution of the biological assets of overseas territories is critical to ensuring the successful implementation of the decisions of the 10th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the CBD, such as the Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing, noting in particular the sustainable management of biodiversity and ecosystem services in these territories.

The goal of the conference was to create political momentum at the EU and international levels for the recognition of islands and overseas entities' assets and values. The conference will be followed by technical activities at the European and regional levels to set strategic priorities for measures recently approved by the European Parliament, such as the BEST Open Call for Proposals to promote conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services in Europe overseas, and the new EU Cohesion Policy for the post-2013 period.

The conference will also lead to a ministerial meeting in the European Parliament at the end of 2012 with the goal of enacting EU commitments before the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 18) to the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC). [EBCD Press Release] [IUCN Press Release]