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July 2nd, 2008
EU Outposts Battle Climate Change and Biodiversity loss

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PR — For the first time ever, the EU’s overseas territories will come together to fight climate change and species loss on Reunion Islands. Ranging from tropical islands to polar regions the EU’s overseas outposts will propose a new dimension to EU environmental policy. They will work on developing effective policies and action for climate change adaptation, sustainable energy, biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management in EU overseas entities and beyond.
These regions are on the front line when it comes to the effects of climate change. They also boast some of the richest biodiversity in the world. New Caledonia has 2,423 endemic species – France has only 353. To survive, they need to work on adapting to the effects of climate change, conserving species and making sure that remaining natural habitats are protected.

KEY ISSUES:

  • Islands: Overseas Europe has more than 350 tropical, temperate and polar islands. Having developed in isolation they are the most productive playgrounds of evolution. But they are under threat. In the last 400 years, 75 percent of all species extinctions have been on islands.
  • Invasive species: These remain the single biggest cause of species loss on inlands. Rats introduced when islands were discovered are a major threat to many indigenous birds. 
  • Climate change: The EU’s overseas entities are amongst the first regions to be hit by climate change. This is where we must find solutions to climate change.

HOW IT’S HAPPENING: The conference is an event of the upcoming French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and will bring together the EU’s seven outermost regions and 21 overseas countries and territories, as well as governments from the EU and Small Island Developing States, international and regional organizations, research institutes, civil society and the private sector. The conference is organized by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), the Regional Council of Reunion Island, the French Observatory for the Impacts of Global Warming (ONERC) and the French Ministry of Internal Affairs, Overseas and Territorial Collectivities.

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