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Background to the UKOTCF - 1
Brief Overview of the Organisation
Conservation in the Overseas Territories
Growth and Development
Brief Overview of the Organisation

The UKOTCF brings together non-governmental organisations and institutions involved with furthering conservation of the natural heritage in the Overseas Territories. Other participants with similar interests are encouraged to play a role. The Forum advises governments and others in the UK and the Overseas Territories on these matters.

UK Overseas Territories have their own identity and governing structure and are not represented in the UK Parliament; however, they form part of the nation-state of UK. The exact relationship between Overseas Territories and the UK differs for almost all the Territories, but generally the UK is responsible for defence and international relations (including international conventions), as well as other aspects in some Territories, and is expected to provide general advice and support in most aspects of government. The UK also has reserve powers in respect of legislation.
Conservation in the Overseas Territories
In 1986, the British Association of Nature Conservationists (BANC) commissioned a short desk study of conservation in what were then called the Dependent Territories funded by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-UK). The aims of this study were to pull together the scattered information on the natural history of the Territories and to find out where the responsibility lay for conservation within the UK Government. At that time there was a growing interest amongst NGOs and also within International Branch of the Nature Conservancy Council (NCC), the statutory body for nature conservation in Great Britain, in promoting conservation in the Dependencies (now Overseas Territories). NCC sponsored the compilation of data held by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources Conservation Monitoring Centre (IUCN/CMC -now the World Conservation Monitoring Centre - WCMC) which was made available for the study. The Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG) Kew made available plant conservation bibliographies. Part of the growing interest was stimulated by production of the International Waterfowl & Wetlands Researh Bureau (IWRB - now Wetlands International)/IUCN Wetland Directories which led to interest in the Ramsar Convention, and contact between the UK Department of the Environment (DoE) and the Dependencies concerning wetland sites. The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) had some input to the BANC/WWF UK study by nominating contacts in each Territory.

The result of the short review was the publication of "Fragments of Paradise" in 1987. This included a series of recommendations for action in each Territory and 3 general recommendations. The first of these was that a co-ordinating body should be established for NGOs. This recommendation was taken up with the formation of the NGO Forum for Nature Conservation in the UK DTs (later the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum - UKOTCF). Initial members were BANC, International Council for Bird Preservation (ICBP) British Section, WWF-UK and the Marine Conservation Society, which each paid subscriptions to establish the Forum. The intention was that matching funds would be found from Government sources but this did not happen. And so for the next few years the Forum existed on an annual budget of £2500, a lot of voluntary support and goodwill of the member organisations. WWF-UK's programme for the conservation of biodiversity in the Dependent Territories was developed as a response to "Fragments of Paradise". The priority areas for support by several member organisations continue to be guided by discussion within the Forum.

PACIFIC Pitcairn Islands
INDIAN OCEAN British Indian Ocean Territory
SOUTH ATLANTIC British Antarctic Territory
Falkland Islands
St Helena and its associated islands:
- Tristan da Cunha
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
British Virgin Islands
Cayman Islands
Turks and Caicos Islands
EUROPE Cyprus Sovereign Base Areas
Bailiwick of Guernsey *
Bailiwick of Jersey *
Isle of Man *

* - these three areas are 'Crown Dependencies' but have fairly similar status to Overseas Territories

The UK Overseas Territories are listed and grouped for convenience (but without legal implications) into broad geographical areas.
Background 2
The UKOTCF is a Registered Charity (1058483) - keen to develop partnerships with business or commercial organisations