The United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association [UKOTA] released a video highlighting the impact of climate change on the islands, noting that “together with the UK we represent the world’s fifth largest marine estate” and “over 90% of the UK’s biodiversity.”
A statement from the United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association [UKOTA] said, “A worldwide family of small communities are guardians of the sixth-largest marine estate on earth and are on the front-line of climate change. This event will explore how the UK Overseas Territories are taking action to counter and mitigate the effects of global warming by safeguarding precious marine environments.”
“We, the Governments of the United Kingdom Overseas Territories, are custodians of internationally important habitats which span the globe from the Antarctic to the Caribbean, the South Atlantic to the Indian Ocean. Together with the UK we represent the world’s fifth largest marine estate; over 90% of the UK’s biodiversity; and are essential to the UK meeting its pledge by 2030 to protect 30% of the world’s oceans.
“Climate change will have a profound impact upon our environments, economies and societies, a failure to act will impact not just us, but our children and all generations to come. To overcome the climate crisis facing our communities we must increase global solidarity and align our actions.
“As coastal and island communities, our economies rely upon maintaining healthy, sustainable marine and terrestrial environments. We commit to take action to protect our fisheries resources and to conserve and, wherever possible, restore our marine ecosystems and biodiversity.
“Building on the good work already undertaken by the Overseas Territories, we reaffirm an alliance to take action to tackle the harmful effects of plastic pollution and marine litter, often as a result of other countries which have impacted our shores.
“Our biodiversity, terrestrial and marine, support not only our wellbeing, but also contribute to our uniqueness, our nature-based fight against climate change and are important to those of us where tourism makes an important contribution to our economies.
“It is imperative that all nations prioritise their response to prevent further acceleration of human-induced global warming, and collectively commit to developing preventative measures to ensure the surface temperature does not exceed an increase of 1.5C.
“We, as individual Territories, pledge to work with the UK Government to develop Territory-led actions that tackle the specific challenges climate changes poses for each of us, to use our oceans and natural resources sustainably, for the benefit of current and future generations, and to take action to protect and restore our biodiversity.
“As Overseas Territories we pledge to work with others in a spirit of cooperation to secure meaningful outcomes from COP26 that will make a tangible difference in tackling the impacts of climate change in our territories.”