UK issues statement on importance of UK Overseas Territories, commenting on UBO registers and Russia sanctions
25 May 2023
On 12 May 2023, the UK Minister for the Overseas Territories (OTs), elected leaders, and representatives of the Overseas Territories met at the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC). Key partnership principles were reaffirmed, emphasising the integral role of the OTs within the UK. Collaboration, mutual interest, and shared values were highlighted. A new UK government strategy on the OTs was also announced, with assigned ministers responsible for each government department's relationship with the OTs. The principle of self-determination for the people of the OT was emphasised.
As relevant to this blog, the JMC discussed:
- UK – OT cooperation including the response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the UK having commended the OTs for their strong commitment to implementing and enforcing sanctions against Russia.
- A technical working group on beneficial ownership transparency is set to be established. The idea being to share expertise on, and consider issues around, the implementation of publicly accessible registers of company beneficial ownership (UBO registers) that contain the necessary safeguards to protect the right to privacy.
- Challenges regarding law enforcement, economic resilience, and financial transparency. The UK committed to supporting law enforcement in the OT and assisting with economic diversification and resilience.
- A new annual dialogue on tackling illicit finance has been launched, demonstrating enhanced cooperation and a commitment to defending financial systems. Continued cooperation on international financial standards is to be assured between the UK and the OTs.
- The importance of environmental protection and addressing climate change was recognised, with support for biodiversity conservation projects and the commitment to limiting global temperature rise. The UK government and the Overseas Territories will develop a new joint Biodiversity Strategy and continue cooperating on climate change and biodiversity summits.
Overall, the JMC reaffirmed the deep partnership between the UK and the Overseas Territories and expressed a commitment to strengthening this relationship further.
The press release can be found here.