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Biodiversity workshop held on the Rock

A two-day workshop on the development of a new biodiversity strategy for the UK's Overseas Territories, including Gibraltar, was opened on Wednesday by the Minister for the Environment, Dr John Cortes and the Deputy Governor, Marc Holland.

The workshop has been organised and funded by the UK's Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Technical officers from the Government's Department of the Environment along with scientists and representatives from the Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society (GONHS); University of Gibraltar; Gibraltar National Museum and the Environmental Safety Group took part in the workshop which aims to provide a greater insight on the high-level priorities for protecting Gibraltar's biodiversity and how the UK Overseas Territories Biodiversity Strategy can help meet Gibraltar's biodiversity management plans, policies and programmes.

To complement the ongoing engagement, DEFRA and the JNCC have recently opened a ‘Call for Evidence’ to invite the public to have their say on the priorities for protecting biodiversity in the UK Overseas Territories including Gibraltar.

To access the ‘Call for Evidence’ visit: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/biodiversity-in-the-uk-overseas-territories/uk-overseasterritories-biodiversity-strategy/

Earlier in the week Dr Cortes held a working meeting with the visiting team where a wide range of subjects related to biodiversity were discussed. They also took the opportunity to visit the Botanic Gardens, Tovey Cottage Interpretation Centre and wildlife sites around Gibraltar, including at sea.

“Over 90% of the UK’s biodiversity is in the overseas territories, and the work in these, including Gibraltar, is placing the importance of this biodiversity firmly on the map,” said Dr Cortes who co-chairs the OT Environment Ministers’ Council.

“DEFRA and JNCC are increasingly recognising the value of in-territory expertise and facilitating exchanges between the territories, as well as providing funding opportunities for biodiversity work here. Gibraltar will continue to play its part in sharing its experience and expertise in developing a strategy for biodiversity protection and enhancement throughout the overseas territories.”

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