Saving the environment

Bermuda has been selected as the host location for the third UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum environmental conference, Government announced yesterday.

Environment Minister Dennis Lister said the conference will be held at the Elbow Beach hotel from March 22 to March 27 in 2003.


Bermuda has been selected as the host location for the third UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum environmental conference, Government announced yesterday.

Environment Minister Dennis Lister said the conference will be held at the Elbow Beach hotel from March 22 to March 27 in 2003.

Over 100 delegates are expected to participate. "Next year's conference will provide a forum for government environmental agencies and NGOs to discuss key conservation issues, to highlight success stories, exchange ideas and to forge partnerships," Mr. Lister said.

"Bermuda will be an ideal venue. I am confident that Overseas Territories and other small island communities that share similar environmental problems will benefit from our experiences and our history of planning and conservation initiatives. We too can learn from the success of environmental programmes tried and tested elsewhere."

Mr. Lister said the cost of the conference would be shared by participating NGOs, the Ministry and the UK Government - a ?70,000 commitment from the Deputy Governor's office has already been secured. "The lion's share of the conference budget will be devoted to travel and accommodation costs for invited representatives from Overseas Territories, our Caribbean counterparts and other small island states," said Mr. Lister.

The first two UK Conservation Forum conferences were held in London (1999) and Gibraltar (2000).

Dr. Annie Glaspool of the Bermuda Zoological Society attended both the previous conferences.

She said that the topics for the conference next year were determined by a survey of expected participants and one of the main areas of discussion would be pollution.

Other topics include global warming and the effects of rising sea levels and coastal erosion. The conference organising committee includes Dr. Glaspool, Amanda Outerbridge of the National Trust and Andrew Dobson of the Audubon Society. Mr. Lister also used yesterday's Press conference to announce that the second Environmental Youth Conference will take place next week at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI).

One hundred students will take part in lectures, workshops and field trips with the goal of developing student action plans for the environment. The students will also be addressed by delegates from the Panchavati Green Movement of Delhi, India. This student-driven environmental group battles pollution in India and organised over half a million students in their first year to join the cause to assert their constitutional rights to clean air, clean water, eco-friendly energy, green spaces and a noise-free environment. 2002 is Bermuda's Year of Biodiversity Action and the Minister said that a draft Action Plan for the Island would be released in early June.

"A series of public meetings will follow, leading to the publication of Bermuda's Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan later in the year," Mr. Lister said.

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