Founded in 1987, the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum (UKOTCF) is a UK-based non-government organisation, which exists to protect and to promote biodiversity and other heritage conservation in the UK’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies (UKOTs and CDs). It does this by supporting capacity building; strategic planning; deployment of specialist volunteers; developing and running conservation and education projects with local partners; sharing ideas and experiences and providing advice to decision-makers. It involves bringing together, as its Member and Associate Organisations, over 30 conservation and science bodies in the UKOTs and CDs, as well as a wide network of bodies and supporting organisations in the UK and elsewhere. It is the only organisation whose sole activity relates to conservation across all UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies – and has no competing interests to their priorities.
One of its most important priorities is providing for exchange of experience, information and skills between UKOTs, CDs and others, including through our specialist regional Working Groups for the Wider Caribbean, Southern Oceans and Europe Territories, comprising local groups, former governors, scientists and others with an interest and relevant expertise. These Working Groups monitor progress and challenges in their respective regions and seek to ensure that, as needs are identified, help is found and directed where needed.
It has organised a series of international conferences, which have taken place in London (1999, jointly organized with UK Government), Gibraltar (2000 and 2015), Bermuda (2003), Jersey (2006) and Cayman (2009), each bringing together over 100 conservation practitioners as well as 50 local representatives as an opportunity to present work, discuss challenges and ways to overcome them.
It has also organised meetings of the UKOTs/CDs Environment Ministers Council, in order for them to share experiences on environmental matters and ways to overcome challenges, which threaten their wildlife and habitats. These have taken place in Gibraltar (2015), Alderney (2017) and Isle of Man (2018).
Information is shared via a website, a newsletter Forum News, circulated worldwide twice yearly, to a wider audience on-line; through an Annual Reports; and newsletters on projects.
More information, including some key projects it has undertaken with partners in the UKOTs, and CDs is available at www.ukotcf.org.uk, which also includes “virtual tour” slide-shows of the territories.