[Coral-List] News from the Chagos Archipelago
RichardPDunne at aol.com
Fri Nov 15 12:22:06 EST 2013
NEW SCIENCE ADVISER FOR CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have just announced
that Dr Mark Spalding is the new Science Adviser to the British Indian
Ocean Territory (BIOT) Commissioner. Mark replaces Charles Sheppard who
held the position for 10 years.
Many of you will know Mark - he is a Senior Marine Scientist on the
Global Marine Team with the Nature Conservancy and a Visiting Fellow in
the Department of Zoology at Cambridge University. He is a co-author of
the much respected UNEP/GCRM 'Reefs at Risk' publication. He has
extensive research experience from the Chagos. For further biographical
details see: http://www.zoo.cam.ac.uk/directory/dr-mark-spalding
Mark Spalding's appointment is good news, not only for the scientific
impartiality that he brings to the post but because his appointment has
such wide support, including amongst the Chagossian community. He
strongly believes that the future of the Chagos Marine Protected Area
demands that all stakeholders, including Chagossians, should be involved.
There is perhaps no coincidence that this new appointment has been made
at this time as the British Government moves forward with its pledge to
commence a new Resettlement Feasibility Study for the Chagos together
with a fresh Policy Review.
CHAGOS REFUGEE GROUP 30TH ANNIVERSARY AND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
Two weeks ago the Chagos Refugee Group celebrated its 30th anniversary
since its founding in 1983. Celebrations and an International Conference
were held in Mauritius. The Conference was opened by the President of
Mauritius and speakers addressed the scientific, political, and legal
aspects of the future use of the Chagos, including the possibility of
resettlement. Chagossians made it clear that they wished to continue the
high level of environmental protection of their islands. An initial
resettlement of the island of Diego Garcia, which houses the US Military
base and is not within the MPA was viewed as a real possibility.
Legal challenges to the MPA also continue. The Court of Appeal in London
is due to hear the Chagossian challenge on 31 April 2014. The Mauritian
case is also due to be heard by an International Tribunal for the Law of
the Sea (ITLOS) sometime next year.
For those of you who wish to keep up with the news please see:
Richard P Dunne
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