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UK Minister Visits

Huw Irranca-Davies, Minister for the Natural and Marine Environment, Wildlife and Rural Affairs at the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) gave a speech yesterday at the Conference of the United Kingdom Overseas Territories Conservation Forum (UKOTCF) at the end of a productive visit to the Cayman Islands.

Minister Huw Irranca-Davies arrived in Grand Cayman on Tuesday 2nd June and embarked on a full two-day programme in which he was able to witness UK Government sponsored projects from the Darwin Initiative as well as those funded by the Overseas Territories Environment Programme (OTEP).

Gina Ebanks-Petrie, the Director of the Cayman Island's Department of Environment and her team gave a guided tour of the Botanic Park and various areas of the North Sound pointing out the specifics of the local eco-system and the fragility of the islands from the effects of climate change and natural disasters.

The visit included lunch with the newly appointed Environment Minister, Mark Scotland and a meeting with the Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush. Minister Irranca-Davies stressed the importance of the National Conservation Bill and expressed his hope that the new government would soon enact this important legislation. Climate change was also discussed and the UK Minister was impressed by the Leader of Government Business' knowledge of the subject and commitment to addressing the problem.

Huw Irranca-Davies is Minister for the Natural and Marine Environment, Wildlife and Rural Affairs within DEFRA. His portfolio is extensive and can be viewed on the DEFRA website. He was elected to the parliamentary seat of Ogmore in the South Wales Valleys in the by-election of February 14th 2002.

The UKOTCF Conference concluded on Thursday 4th June following a productive meeting of representatives from the UK and Overseas Territories at which a full range of biodiversity issues was discussed. For the Conference agenda and more information about the UKOTCF please go to