Europe overseas: Valuable, Vulnerable, Vital

22 April 2011 | Project description

IUCN builds partnerships for Europe Overseas to meet biodiversity and climate change challenges. The European Union (EU) has hundreds of small islands and large stretches of land spread across the four corners of the Earth from polar to tropical latitudes.

These territories – forming a network across regions of global ecological importance (the Caribbean, Oceania, Western Indian Ocean, Macaronesia, South Atlantic and polar regions) and covering a total area of 4.4 million km2, equivalent in size to continental Europe – are a source of wealth, pride and a unique identity.

However, their natural wealth is increasingly vulnerable to, among others, the impacts of climate change. Hosting a large diversity of species and ecosystems and being of crucial importance for global biodiversity, Europe overseas and the regions they are located therefore showcase a cross section of the likely impacts of climate change on global ecosystems and on a large variety of taxonomic groups. Threatened to be among the first affected by climate change, Europe overseas could be among the first to adapt to its effects and to develop and implement innovative response measures, where an ecosystem-based adaptation is an important component.

IUCN’s EU Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories Programme mainly focuses on encouraging and facilitating regional, EU and international collaboration to enhance Europe overseas capacity to manage effectively their exceptional biodiversity and adaptation to climate change impacts. It also contributes to dialogue between the EU, EU Member States and Europe overseas on the protection of their precious biodiversity and diverse ways of life and leads in the efforts to build partnerships to protect this heritage.

Contact: Programme Team or view the Programme's web pages for more information.