The Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, Richard Ronan MHK along with the Chief Executive Richard Lole, represented the Isle of Man at a meeting of environment Ministers and representatives in Gibraltar.
Opened by Gibraltar's Chief Minister, Hon Fabian Picardo QC and hosted by Environment Minister Hon Dr John Cortes, the meeting followed a conference on 'Sustaining Partnerships', aimed at promoting stronger environmental links between UK Overseas Territories, Crown Dependencies and other small island nations.
The conference on conservation and sustainability was hosted by the Government of Gibraltar and the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum (UKOTCF), an international organisation which works with these jurisdictions to promote conservation and environmental protection.
Minister Richard Ronan MHK said:
'The ministerial meeting brought together Ministers and representatives who had participated in the conference from Gibraltar, Monserrat, Alderney, Falkland Isles, British Virgin Islands, Tristan da Cunha and the Isle of Man.
'We discussed some of the outcomes from the conference including implementation of Environment Charters, resourcing education and awareness, safeguarding the natural environment and biodiversity, good environmental governance and legislative frameworks. We resolved to continue these vital ministerial meetings periodically.'
At the conference, the Isle of Man delegation had the opportunity to share the Island's conservation achievements with an international audience.
Principal Biodiversity Officer for DEFA, Liz Charter as Chairman of the UKOTCF, introduced the first conference session and delivered a workshop about international conventions. In it, she highlighted the Island's positive experience of having the Convention on Biological Diversity extended to the Island.
Senior Biodiversity Officer for Fisheries, Dr Fiona Gell gave a presentation about the Ramsey Marine Nature Reserve and discussed the importance of working with the fishing industry to gain support for marine conservation initiatives.
Minister Ronan continued:
As host of the conference, Gibraltar presented a great model for a thriving economy underpinned by strong environmental protection and sustainability policies.
'It was rewarding to see the expertise of our senior staff recognised in such an important international forum.'
The conference was attended by Government and Non-government delegates from as far afield as St Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands, Falkland Islands, Channel Islands and the Cyprus Sovereign Airbases. There were representatives from the UK Government Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs, as well as organisations such as the International National Trust Organisation, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.