Thursday, July 25, 2024


In June 1992, representatives of over 175 countries gathered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. One of the most important agreements to come out of this "Earth Summit" was the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The Convention was designed to help member countries reduce the loss of biodiversity and share in the benefits arising from new uses of genetic resources. St. Lucia -- one of the first countries to sign the treaty at the Earth Summit -- ratified the agreement on 28 July 1993

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) marks an historic commitment. It is a commitment by the nations of the world to conserve biological diversity, to use biological resources sustainably and to share equitably the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. It is the first global agreement to address comprehensively all aspects of biological diversity - genetic resources, species and ecosystems. While the Convention does not tell member countries how to conserve and use sustainably their biological resources, it does express general goals that countries should strive to achieve with respect to genetic resources, species and ecosystems. For example, among other goals, it also calls upon nations to include all ecosystems within a network of protected areas and to establish the capacity to conserve economically important genetic resources. It calls upon developed countries to provide financial and technical assistance to help developing countries conserve and use their biological resources sustainably.

Saint Lucia's Obligation Under Article 6 of the Convention

To assist in the complex task of using sustainably and conserving their biodiversity, the Convention, in its Article 6, requires all member countries to develop a national strategy and action plan. The purpose of these plans is to identify important problems, evaluate the most urgent and practical actions to remedy those problems, prepare a detailed plan of action to implement those remedies, and establish a mechanism for the on-going monitoring and review of the plan's implementation. While the CBD does not specify how these strategies

and action plans should be developed, experience in other countries indicates that broad participation is likely to increase public support for proposed actions to use sustainably and conserve biodiversity. In November 1997, a Steering Committee established by the Government of St. Lucia and comprising representatives from all relevant sectors began work on the development of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. A National Steering Committee was assembled under the direction of a Coordinator to assess the status of biological resources in St. Lucia and to identify important management, policy, and information needs. National experts were commissioned to conduct country studies in six main sectors (forest ecosystems, fresh water ecosystems, coastal and marine ecosystems, agricultural biodiversity, tourism, and socio-economic factors) to assess the current status of biological diversity, and identify issues, needs, gaps and actions. Four public consultations were held involving a wide range of stakeholders, leading to two broad-based national consultative meetings held in March and August 1999. It is on the basis of these studies and consultations, augmented by the contributions of individual experts and agencies and by the deliberations of the National Steering Committee, that the initial Strategy and Action Plan was prepared.

This plan was endorsed by the government of Saint Lucia in September 2000, printed and widely disseminated to stakeholders. Since then through various funding agencies including from the government of the country, most of the projects of the NBSAP have been completed. Consequently, under the European Union Special Framework of Assistance suite of projects for 2003, otherwise known as EU/SFA 2003, Integrated natural resources program, funding was obtained to implement a biodiversity management systems improvement project. Through this development, the national biodiversity strategy and action plan was reviewed and updated to a draft second national biodiversity strategy and action plan through technical small group consultations and two major national consultations, one each in the north and south of the island.

Biodiversity Unit of the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy,
Science and Technology | Choc, Castries, Saint Lucia
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