Wednesday 30 August 2017

FALKLAND ISLANDS: About Falkland Islands The Treeless Islands

The Falkland Islands are a self-governing British Overseas Territory.

Under the 2009 Constitution, the islands have full internal self-government; the UK is responsible for foreign affairs, retaining the power to protect UK interests and to ensure the overall good governance of the territory.

The Monarch of the United Kingdom is the head of state, and executive authority is exercised on the monarch's behalf by the Governor, who in turn appoints the islands' Chief Executive on the advice of members of the Legislative Assembly.

Both the Governor and Chief Executive serve as the head of government.Governor Colin Roberts was appointed in April 2014;Chief Executive Barry Rowland was appointed in October 2016. The UK minister responsible for the Falkland Islands since 2012, Hugo Swire, administers British foreign policy regarding the islands.

The Falkland Islands are a self-governing British Overseas Territory.Under the 2009 Constitution, the islands have full internal self-government; the UK is responsible for foreign affairs, retaining the power to protect UK interests and to ensure the overall good governance of the territory.

The Monarch of the United Kingdom is the head of state, and executive authority is exercised on the monarch's behalf by the Governor, who in turn appoints the islands' Chief Executive on the advice of members of the Legislative Assembly.

The Governor acts on the advice of the islands' Executive Council, composed of the Chief Executive, the Director of Finance and three elected members of the Legislative Assembly,with the Governor as chairman.The Legislative Assembly, a unicameral legislature, consists of the Chief Executive, the Director of Finance and eight members,five from Stanley and three from Camp elected to four-year terms by universal suffrage.

All politicians in the Falkland Islands are independent; no political parties exist on the islands.Since the 2013 general election, members of the Legislative Assembly have received a salary and are expected to work full-time and give up all previously held jobs or business interests.

Due to its link to the UK, the Falklands are part of the overseas countries and territories of the European Union.The islands' judicial system, overseen by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, is largely based on English law,and the constitution binds the territory to the principles of the European Convention on Human Rights.Residents have the right of appeal to the European Court of Human Rights and the Privy Council.

Law enforcement is the responsibility of the Royal Falkland Islands Police (RFIP),and military defence of the islands is provided by the United Kingdom. A British military garrison is stationed on the islands, and the Falkland Islands government funds an additional company-sized light infantry Falkland Islands Defence Force.

The territorial waters of the Falklands extend to 200 nautical miles (370 km) from its coastal baselines, based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea; this border overlaps with the maritime boundary of Argentina.

The Falkland Islands are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean on the Patagonian Shelf. The principal islands are about 300 miles (483 kilometres) east of South America's southern Patagonian coast, at a latitude of about 52°S.

The archipelago, with an area of 4,700 square miles (12,000 square kilometres), comprises East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 smaller islands.

As a British overseas territory, the Falklands have internal self-governance, and the United Kingdom takes responsibility for their defence and foreign affairs. The islands' capital is Stanley on East Falkland.

The United Kingdom and Argentina both claim the Falkland Islands. The UK's position is that the Falklanders have not indicated a desire for change, and that there are no pending issues to resolve concerning the islands.The UK bases its position on its continuous administration of the islands since 1833,except for 1982 and the islanders' right to self-determination as set out in the UN Charter.

Argentine policy maintains that Falkland Islanders do not have a right to self-determination, claiming that in 1833 the UK expelled Argentine authorities and settlers from the Falklands with a threat of greater force and, afterwards, barred Argentines from resettling the islands.

Argentina persits that it acquired the Falklands from Spain when it achieved independence in 1816, and that the UK illegally occupied them in 1833.

In 2009, British prime minister Gordon Brown had a meeting with Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, and said that there would be no further talks over the sovereignty of the Falklands. In March 2013, the Falkland Islands held a referendum on its political status, with 99.8 percent of voters favoured remaining under British rule.

Argentina does not recognise the Falkland Islands as a partner in negotiations; consequently, it dismissed the Falkland Islands' sovereignty referendum.

The population of 2,932 inhabitants in 2012, primarily consisted of native-born Falkland Islanders, the majority of British descent. Other ethnicities include French, Gibraltarian and Scandinavian. Immigration from the United Kingdom, the South Atlantic island of Saint Helena, and Chile has reversed a population decline.

The predominant and official language is English. Under the British Nationality Falkland Islands Act 1983, Falkland Islanders are British citizens.

Falklands culture is based on the cultural traditions brought by its British settlers, and it has also been influenced by the cultures of Hispanic South America.Some terms and place names used by the islands' former Gaucho inhabitants are still applied in local speech.The Falklands' predominant and official language is English, with the foremost dialect being British English; nonetheless, inhabitants also speak Spanish and other languages.The Falkland Islands are a very social place, and stopping for a chat is a way of life.

The Falkland Islands take their name from the Falkland Sound, a strait separating the archipelago's two main islands.The name Falkland was applied to the channel by John Strong, captain of an English expedition which landed on the islands in 1690. Strong named the strait in honour of Anthony Cary, 5th Viscount of Falkland, the Treasurer of the Navy who sponsored their journey.

The Viscount's title originates from the town of Falkland, Scotland—the town's name likely comes from a Gaelic term referring to an enclosure lann,but it could less plausibly be from the Anglo-Saxon term folkland or land held by folk-right. The name Falklands was not applied to the islands until 1765, when British captain John Byron of the Royal Navy, claimed them for King George III as Falkland's Islands.The term Falklands is a standard abbreviation used to refer to the islands.

At the twentieth session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Fourth Committee determined that, in all languages other than Spanish, all UN documentation would designate the territory as Falkland Islands (Malvinas). In Spanish, the territory was designated as Islas Malvinas (Falkland Islands).The nomenclature used by the United Nations for statistical processing purposes is Falkland Islands (Malvinas).

The climate of the islands is cold, windy and humid maritime.Variability of daily weather is typical throughout the archipelago.Rainfall is common over half of the year, averaging 610 millimetres (24 in) in Stanley, and sporadic light snowfall occurs nearly all year.

The temperature has historically stayed between 21.1 and −11.1 °C (70.0 and 12.0 °F) in Stanley, with mean monthly temperatures varying from 9 °C (48 °F) early in the year to −1 °C (30 °F) in July.Strong westerly winds and cloudy skies are common.Although numerous storms are recorded each month, conditions are normally calm.

The Falkland Islands are a biogeographical part of the mild Antarctic zone,with strong connections to the flora and fauna of Patagonia in mainland South America.Land birds make up most of the Falklands' avifauna; 63 species breed on the islands, including 16 endemic species.

There is also abundant arthropod diversity on the islands.The Falklands' flora consists of 163 native vascular species.The islands' only native terrestrial mammal, the warrah, was hunted to extinction by European settlers.

The islands are frequented by marine mammals, such as the southern elephant seal and the South American fur seal, and various types of cetaceans; offshore islands house the rare striated caracara. The Falklands are also home to five different penguin species and a few of the largest albatross colonies on the planet.Endemic fish around the islands are primarily from the genus Galaxias.

The Falklands are treeless and have a wind-resistant vegetation predominantly composed of a variety of dwarf shrubs.

Virtually the entire land area of the islands is used as pasture for sheep.Introduced species include reindeer, hares, rabbits, Patagonian foxes, brown rats and cats.The detrimental impact several of these species have caused to native flora and fauna has led authorities to attempt to contain, remove or exterminate invasive species such as foxes, rabbits and rats. Endemic land animals have been the most affected by introduced species.

The extent of human impact on the Falklands is unclear, since there is little long-term data on habitat change.

The economy of the Falkland Islands is ranked the 222nd largest out of 229 in the world by GDP (PPP), but ranks 5th worldwide by GDP (PPP) per capita.The unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in 2010, and inflation was last calculated at 1.2 percent rate in 2003.Based on 2010 data, the islands have a high Human Development Index of 0.874 and a moderate Gini coefficient for income inequality of 34.17.

The local currency is the Falkland Islands pound, which is pegged to the British pound sterling.

Economic development was advanced by ship resupplying and sheep farming for high-quality wool.The main sheep breeds in the Falkland Islands are Polwarth and Corriedale.

During the 1980s, although synthetic fibres and ranch underinvestment hurt the sheep-farming sector, the government established a major revenue stream with the establishment of an exclusive economic zone and the sale of fishing licenses to anybody wishing to fish within this zone.

Since the end of the Falklands War in 1982, the islands' economic activity has increasingly focused on oil field exploration and tourism.

The port city of Stanley has regained the islands' economic focus, with an increase in population as workers migrate from Camp. Fear of dependence on fishing licences and threats from overfishing, illegal fishing and fish market price fluctuations have increased interest on oil drilling as an alternative source of revenue; exploration efforts have yet to find exploitable reserves.

Development projects in education and sports have been funded by the Falklands government, without aid from the United Kingdom.

The primary sector of the economy accounts for most of the Falkland Islands' gross domestic product, with the fishing industry alone contributing between 50% and 60% of annual GDP; agriculture also contributes significantly to GDP and employs about a tenth of the population.A little over a quarter of the workforce serves the Falkland Islands government, making it the archipelago's largest employer.

Tourism, part of the service economy, has been spurred by increased interest in Antarctic exploration and the creation of direct air links with the United Kingdom and South America.Tourists, mostly cruise ship passengers, are attracted by the archipelago's wildlife and environment, as well as activities such as fishing and wreck diving; the majority are based in accommodation found in Stanley.

The islands' major exports include wool, hides, venison, fish and squid; its main imports include fuel, building materials and clothing.

The Falkland Islands are a homogeneous society, with the majority of inhabitants descended from Scottish and Welsh immigrants who settled the territory in 1833.The 2006 census listed some Falklands residents as descendants of French, Gibraltarians and Scandinavians.

That census indicated that one-third of residents were born on the archipelago, with foreign-born residents assimilated into local culture. The legal term for the right of residence is - belonging to the islands.The British Nationality Act of 1983 gave British citizenship to Falkland Islanders.

A significant population decline affected the archipelago in the twentieth century, with many young islanders moving overseas in search of education, a modern lifestyle, and better job opportunities,particularly to the British city of Southampton, which came to be nicknamed Stanley north.

In recent years, the island's population decline has steadied, thanks to immigrants from the United Kingdom, Saint Helena, and Chile.In the 2012 census, a majority of residents listed their nationality as Falkland Islander 59%, followed by British 29%, Saint Helenian9.8%, and Chilean 5.4% .A small number of Argentines also live on the islands.

The Falkland Islands have a low population density.According to the 2012 census, the average daily population of the Falklands was 2,932, excluding military personnel serving in the archipelago and their dependents.A 2012 report counted 1,300 uniformed personnel and 50 British Ministry of Defence civil servants present in the Falklands.

Stanley with 2,121 residents is the most-populous location on the archipelago, followed by Mount Pleasant 369 residents, primarily air-base contractors and Camp 351 residents.The islands' age distribution is skewed towards working age (20–60). Males outnumber females (53% to 47%, and this discrepancy is most prominent in the 20–60 age group.

In the 2012 census most islanders identified themselves as Christian 66%, followed by those who had no religious affiliation 32%. The remaining 2 percent were adherents of other faiths.Christianity is diverse, with Anglicans, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses, Lutherans and Seventh-day Adventists having the most adherents. Among other religions, the Bahá'í Faith has a strong local following.

Education in the Falkland Islands, which follows England's system, is free and compulsory for residents aged between 5 and 16 years.Primary education is available at Stanley, RAF Mount Pleasant for children of service personnel and a number of rural settlements. Secondary education is only available in Stanley, which offers boarding facilities and 12 subjects to General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) level.

Students aged 16 or older may study at colleges in England for their GCE Advanced Level or vocational qualifications. The Falkland Islands government pays for older students to attend institutions of higher education, usually in the United Kingdom.

Tourism Observer

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