EU Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories (or Europe overseas for short) range from small islands to large stretches of land and are located across all major regions of the globe from tropical to polar latitudes.
These territories cover an area of 4.4 million km², equivalent in size to continental Europe, and have a combined Exclusive Economic Zone of over 15 million km², the largest in the world.
They are found in:
- biodiversity hotspots (the Caribbean Islands, Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands, the Mediterranean Basin, New Caledonia, Polynesia-Micronesia),
- major wilderness areas (Guyana shield), and
- key regions for polar ecosystems and fish stocks (Greenland, Falkland Islands (Malvinas), French Southern and Antarctic Territories, South Georgia).
Europe overseas has more endemic animal and plant species than are found on the whole of continental Europe. New Caledonia alone has about as many endemic species as the entire European continent, and French Guiana includes an area of Amazon rainforest the size of Portugal. Europe overseas also host more than 20% of the world's coral reefs and lagoons.
The biodiversity of these entities is highly vulnerable to human induced impacts such as habitat destruction, alien invasive species, overexploitation of natural resources, pollution, and increasingly the impacts of climate change. They share these threats with other countries of their regions.