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UK Overseas Territories

The long-established MCCIP Scientific Integrity and Independence Risk Management Scheme (SIIRMs) model was applied to this first MCCIP overseas project. The aim of this initial piece of MCCIP work was to build climate change baselines in the six UKOT regions, and identify priority issues

The UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) constitute a small land area with large marine provinces, which collectively represent the 5th largest marine estate in the world. Extending from the polar ocean to tropical seas, they reflect a highly diverse range of environments and people.

Focusing on six key regions (Polar, Pacific, South Atlantic, Mediterranean, Caribbean and Mid-Atlantic, and Indian Ocean), more than 60 leading experts from all 14 UKOTs prioritised and highlighted their most important ecological and societal climate challenges.

A summary of the priority issues identified across all six regions is available in this infographic.  

Indian Ocean
The British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) is the only UK Overseas Territory in the Indian Ocean and includes the Chagos Archipelago.
The UK Overseas Territory of the Pitcairn Islands is a chain of four small islands (Pitcairn, Oeno, Henderson and Ducie).
The UK Polar Overseas Territories comprise two geographically and environmentally distinct territories: (1) South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI), and (2) the British Antarctic Territory (BAT).
South Atlantic
The areas referred to as the South Atlantic UK Overseas Territories (SAOT’s) are comprised of Ascension Island, Falkland Islands, Tristan da Cunha and St Helena Island.
Caribbean and Mid-Atlantic
There are six UK Overseas Territories in the Caribbean and Mid-Atlantic comprised of the islands of Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos. 
There are two UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) in the Mediterranean comprised of Gibraltar and the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia in Cyprus.

MCCIP appointed regional co-ordinators to engage with scientists, and representatives for their UKOTs. At regional workshops, a ‘long list’ of climate-change impacts on biodiversity and society were assessed and ranked, based on the proximity (urgency) and magnitude (severity) of each impact. A set of priority climate-change issues were identified for each of the six regions, written up as independently peer-reviewed reports, and summarised online. An infographic provides a snapshot of priority climate change issues identified across all regions.    


This work was delivered by a dedicated working group including the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who funded this work, the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom (chair), Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, the United Kingdom Overseas Territory Association, Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Marine Management Organisation, and Great British Oceans. This group collaborated with over 60 leading experts from across the UKOTs who produced the regional review papers.

A full list of contributors is provided here and image credits are also available.