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Island conservation issues in international conventions and agreements


In this review, I look at governance beyond the national level and consider how well island conservation issues are addressed in international conventions and agreements, both global and regional. I focus primarily on small island developing states (SIDS) and look at conventions to which they are parties, in which their needs are specifically mentioned and which have actions directly targeted to SIDS. I also discuss the evolution of international soft law in agreements and action plans to respond to island issues, the role of the secretariats that have been set up by international conventions to support SIDS conservation action and the protection and recognition provided to island protected areas listed under international conventions. The review shows that international governance has increasingly responded to island needs for biodiversity conservation, often with the active participation of SIDS themselves. However, the multiplication of international agreements and their requirements has often surpassed the capacity of island countries to implement them, requiring further adaptations in order to address this problem. The regional organizations of SIDS help to provide an interface with global conventions and international organizations. There remain a number of gaps and challenges that still need to be addressed in order to halt the erosion and hopefully encourage the restoration of island biodiversity.

Corresponding author
Correspondence: Dr Arthur Lyon Dahl email:
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Environmental Conservation
  • ISSN: 0376-8929
  • EISSN: 1469-4387
  • URL: /core/journals/environmental-conservation
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