Action Needed To Reimagine Recreate And Restore The Caribbean Ecosystems

Protecting our Region’s ecosystems is critical for our very survival.  Ecosystems support the provision of water, contribute to good health, sustain the livelihoods and well-being of our Caribbean people. We need to ensure they are maintained and protected for generations to come. Restoration is an important response to reduce further degradation of our ecosystems.   This means we must move from exploiting nature to protecting and healing it.

World Environment Day, observed annually on 5th June, raises awareness of the problems facing our environment.  These problems include pollution, land degradation, unsustainable consumption, sea-level rise, food insecurity and exploitation.  Our commemoration of World Environment Day helps to initiate and drive change in consumption patterns and environmental policy.

This year’s theme “Ecosystem Restoration” focuses on resetting our relationship with the environment and calls for us to conserve, prevent, halt and reverse the damage to ecosystems and maintain their rich biodiversity.

This year also marks the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030) which calls for the protection and revival of ecosystems all around the world with the aim of halting the degradation of ecosystems and restoring them.

“CARPHA is happy to support the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. The CARICOM Region is an environmental gem because of its unique blend of marine and land ecosystems. Our inhabitants and visitors alike enjoy the benefits and CARPHA will do all in its power to support and sustain this treasure,” said Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director of CARPHA.

CARPHA through its Environmental Health and Sustainable Development Department (EHSD) seeks to protect the environment and preserve the environmental health and wellbeing of the Caribbean people. In collaboration with regional and international partners, CARPHA promotes and provides technical assistance for sustainable management of resources in its Member States. Projects including the European Union/CARIFORUM Project – Strengthening Climate Resilient Health Systems in the Caribbean, the IWEco Project- Integrating Water, Land and Ecosystems Management in Caribbean Small Island Developing States, and Caribbean Aqua-Terrestrial Solutions Programme (CATS)/GIZ use a ridge-to-reef approach to pollution prevention, livelihoods enhancement and resilience to climate change.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a reminder of the close relationship between humans and the health of the environment.  Scientists have indicated that to prevent future outbreaks of zoonoses (disease transferred from animals to humans) like COVID-19, we must address the threats of loss of habitat (deforestation and fragmentation of our ecosystems).  Pathogens thrive in the presence of such changes to the environment and also when ecosystems are under stress from human activity and climate change.

We need to create a balanced relationship with the ecosystems we depend on.

CARPHA urges all sectors of society to take positive and urgent action towards protecting, conserving and restoring our ecosystems.  Let us come together to Reimagine our lives and practices, help Recreate and Restore our ailing ecosystems, so they last for the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration and beyond.

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