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Terrestrial Protected Areas for South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

News Item 2021

The Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI) has today announced its intention to designate Terrestrial Protected Areas that will cover the entire landmass of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, through the launch of its Pathway to Protection programme

The creation of Terrestrial Protected Areas complements the Marine Protected Area, which covers the whole 1.24m km2 maritime zone and is an exemplar in delivering world-class protection, coupled with sustainable use. This is a model that works for nature and works for society. Bringing a similar rigour to the 3,800 km2 landmass marks an important step in consolidating existing protection measures and careful management and enshrining them in law.

Chief Executive of JNCC, Dr Gemma Harper said: "JNCC is excited to be a part of the next chapter in the conservation of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. The Government of SGSSI has shown real commitment to the protection of species such as Albatrosses and Petrels through its highly successful Marine Protected Area and the intention to create territory-wide terrestrial protected areas. We look forward to working with the Government of SGSSI to deliver the next stage of the project, as part of our commitment to working with our nature-rich Overseas Territories."

The United Kingdom’s Overseas Territories have long been acknowledged as being rich in biodiversity and geodiversity. They host a diverse range of terrestrial and marine environments that together make a significant contribution to global biodiversity, including a large number of rare and threatened species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world, and a vast array of tropical and cold-water coral reefs.

JNCC has been working with the UK’s Overseas Territories for over 20 years. We provide technical assistance to support their biodiversity and wider environmental management strategies; and scientific advice to the UK Government, which provides support to the Overseas Territories to manage their environment and enhance economic security and disaster resilience through a variety of policy initiatives and funding programmes.  We also facilitate regional partnerships to share approaches and understanding, and have an officer based permanently in the Falklands who provides links into the South Atlantic and adjacent South American states. Through our approach we emphasise capacity building as a means to reducing Territories' dependence on outside assistance in developing and implementing environmental management programmes and policies.  

As part of JNCC’s technical assistance to GSGSSI we provide advice on albatross and petrel conservation to support implementation of the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP). Plans to develop terrestrial protected areas will not only make a significant contribution to GSGSSI’s aspirations for the conservation of native flora and fauna but also contribute to achieving ACAP objectives.

More information is available in the GSGSSI's full press release

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