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Overseas Territories: birds left stranded

Many at risk

Urgent action is needed to save threatened birds inhabiting Europe’s 21 Overseas Territories (OTs), say conservationists in Europe and based in the EU’s overseas countries and territories.

In the March issue of World Birdwatch magazine, conservationists from LPO (BirdLife in France), RSPB (BirdLife in the UK) and BirdLife's European Division put forward their concern over the inadequate financial support offered to Overseas Territories for efforts to conserve some of the world’s most threatened birds.

Altogether the French OTs hold 109 bird species of global conservation concern, of which 72 are globally threatened. explains LPO’s Bernard Deceuninck in the article Out of sight, out of mind.This puts France ninth in the list of countries with the greatest number of threatened species, ahead of New Zealand but behind India.

The article points to an imbalance in funded support, with Overseas Territories having eligibility for EU funds supporting infrastructure development and agricultural subsidies but not toward environmental actions to mitigate the damaging effects of this development.

…we have funding for roads and airports and agriculture but none for habitats. stresses Bernard in the article.

In the UK, Overseas Territories hold 47 bird species of global conservation concern, 34 of which are threatened with extinction. In the last four centuries, more than 20 endemic species have become extinct, rating the UK among the top five for bird extinctions.If efforts to protect them are not strengthened, even more of these species risk extinction in the next few decades. highlights Sarah Sanders, editor of the 2006 report Important Bird Areas in the United Kingdom Overseas Territories.In the UK, Overseas Territories hold 47 bird species of global conservation concern, 34 of which are threatened with extinction. In the last four centuries, more than 20 endemic species have become extinct, rating the UK among the top five for bird extinctions.

If efforts to protect them are not strengthened, even more of these species risk extinction in the next few decades. highlights Sarah Sanders, editor of the 2006 report Important Bird Areas in the United Kingdom Overseas Territories.

Phillippe Raust of Société d’Ornothologie de Polynésie (MANU, BirdLife in Polynesia) underlines further the feelings of many conservationists working on the Overseas Territories themselves:

We have a total of 23 globally threatened breeding bird species…Five of them are Critically Endangered and eight Endangered… ..and yet, like the other European Overseas Territories, we have no money from France, no money from the EU, low resources at the administrative level and a territory as wide as Europe to survey and protect…

4th July 2014