Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS) — Two projects regarding conserving biodiversity and climate change adaptation will be the focus of attention when the Department of Environment hosts a launch event at the Ocean Terrace Inn (OTI) at 9:30 a.m., tomorrow (August 26).
The project entitled Conserving Biodiversity and Reducing Habitat Degradation in Protected Areas and their Areas of Influence is expected to improve ecosystem representation in the protected areas system and establish or strengthen protected management operations at key sites. It will also strengthen institutional, policy, legal or regulatory information and financing frameworks at the protected area system level. As such, the management ofthe Central Forest Reserve National Park and the Royal Basseterre Valley National Park will be strengthened, while there will be the establishment and operationalization of the proposed Nevis Peak National Park and Camps River Watershed Area, Booby Island Nature Reserve, Sandy Point Marine Park, the Narrows Marine Park and the Keys Marine Park.
This four-year project will be implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and funded by the Global Environment Fund (GEF) to the tune of US$3.3 million. The investment by GEF is expected to pave the way for the legal establishment of five new protected areas, two terrestrial and three marine.
Randolph Edmeade, Director of the Department of Physical Planning and Environment and National Project Director noted the benefits, including employment opportunities.
“The project will assist the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis in establishing, staffing and equipping a Protected Area Agency, the first government unit dedicated to protected areas in the country’s history,” he said. “This Agency will oversee and manage the overall protected area system as well as the specific protected area units.”
The second project is the national re-launch of the Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Land Management Project in the Eastern Caribbean which is a European Union (EU) Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) funded project implemented by the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission across the nine (9) OECS member states.
This project aims to improve the region’s natural resource base resilience to the impacts of climate change through effective and sustainable land management (SLM) frameworks and practices and specific physical adaptation pilot projects in relevant areas and sectors. Funding is EC$38 million over a period of four years. Both projects will conclude in 2018.
Eavin Parry, Environmental Scientist in the Department of Physical Planning and Environment explained the advantages.
“St. Kitts and Nevis is expected to reap significant benefits from this project across several sectors,” he emphasized. “For example, the government has already procured a range of land management related hardware, software and equipment that will be used to improve SLM practices. In addition, the project proposes to enhance SLM institutional and regulatory frameworks at the national level which would include: national dialogue on SLM, develop and support adaptation of harmonized legislation and regulation for SLM, the implementation of institutional mechanisms established in the national land policies/strategies, the provision of training on SLM policies, as well as the enhancement of SLM human and technical capacity at the national level.”
Successful implementation of both projects will help to transform the environmental management landscape in St. Kitts and Nevis while assisting the Federation in meeting its international obligations under the multilateral environmental agreements related to biodiversity conservation, climate change and land management.