Sustainable development, conservation and the protection of the environment for future generations are central considerations to future development of the Falkland Islands, and this commitment is laid out in The Islands Plan.
In order to facilitate sustainable future physical development of the Islands, The Falkland Islands Development Plan has been introduced which, for the first time, sets Island-wide planning policy for guiding development and the use of land. This is in two parts: The Falkland Islands Structure Plan and the Stanley Town Plan. Both have a timeframe from 2001 to 2016.
The first Environment Charter, laying out mutual responsibilities of the UK and its Overseas Territories was signed on 26 September 2001 by Councillor Mike Summers, representing the Falkland Islands Government, and Baroness Valerie Amos, Minister of UK Overseas Territories.
In addition, Sea Lion Island and Bertha’s Beach, East Falkland, are each Ramsar sites under the 1971 Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Supporting this drive are a number of conservation charities, the largest of which is Falklands Conservation, a UK registered charity with offices in both the Falkland Islands and the UK. HRH The Duke of York is patron. Financial supporters include Falkland Islands Government (FIG) to help Falklands Conservation:
Restore habitats by replanting tussac grass and eradicating rats;
provide nature reserves as protected sanctuaries;
undertake research and survey seabird populations;
lobby for effective environmental protection;
rescue oiled seabirds;
publish wildlife guides;
run a wildlife club for young Islanders.
Environmental protection is supported by legislation, such as the Conservation of Wildlife & Nature Ordinance (1999) and the Marine Mammals Protection Ordinance 1992. National Plans of Action have been implemented to limit the incidental catch of seabirds such as the black-browed albatross by trawlers and longline fishing vessels.
The Falkland Islands Biodiversity Strategy 2008-18 was approved by Executive Council in December 2008 and is supported by the Falkland Islands State of the Environment Report 2008. The strategy outlines conservation priorities for the Falkland Islands over this 10 year period and was reviewed in 2011.