The Caribbean Islands are composed of 30 nations and overseas entities: 12 independent nations, 3 U.S. territories (Puerto-Rico, US Virgin Islands, Navassa Island) and 15 European Overseas entities that are politically attached to France, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The region is considered as a biodiversity hotspot of international importance, which encompasses over 7,000 islands, islets, cays and reefs ranging in size from just 5 km2 to over 100,000 km2.
BEST – an initiative to promote conservation in European overseas
The Caribbean region comprises one of the seven regions in the world, in which European Union (EU) Overseas entities are located: from the Arctic to the Antarctic, in the Atlantic, the Pacific, and Indian Ocean, and even in parts of the Amazon. Combined their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) make the largest marine area worldwide, covering 15% of the ocean. They host 20% of coral reefs and lagoons, provide the last refuge to 6% of globally threatened and endangered species and are acknowledged as biodiversity hotspots for their immense diversity of species, ecosystems and landscapes. Together, the 9 EU Outermost Regions (ORs) and 25 Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) host more than 70% of Europe’s biodiversity.