Saint Lucia observes International Day for Biological Diversity
Thursday, May 23, 2019
by GIS
SAINT LUCIA HAS TARGETED SEVEN KEY CROPS THAT WILL ENSURE AGRICULTURAL SUSTAINABILITY.

The United Nations proclaimed May 22 as the International Day for Biological Diversity, to help increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.

This year’s observance is being held under the theme, “Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health.”

Saint Lucia's focal point for the Convention on Biological Diversity is the Department of Sustainable Development within the Ministry of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development. The minister responsible for that portfolio, Hon. Dr. Gale Rigobert noted the crucial role that plants, animals and micro-organisms play in providing sources of food and medicines for millions of people around the world.

Agriculture Minister, Hon. Ezechiel Joseph, said maintaining the natural balance of ecosystems is crucial.

“Sustaining the balance of biodiversity, that is, the plant, animal and microorganisms within our environment, ensures a sustainable food source, healthy water supply and the preservation of our resources for future generations,” the minister said. “My ministry has taken steps to diversify agricultural production and create niche products which support and complement our tourism product.”

Activities for the International Day for Biological Diversity 2019 kicked off with a community education and sensitization campaign to raise awareness of the sixth national report detailing the status of the country’s biodiversity; and to highlight Saint Lucia’s progress toward meeting national conservation targets.

According to the agriculture minister, Saint Lucia is currently focusing on seven key crops which, when used correctly, can result in self-sufficiency and sustainability within the country's agricultural sector.

“As we observe our 26th anniversary as a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity, under the theme—Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health—I challenge you to explore ways in which you can do your part to conserve and protect our unique biodiversity,” he said. “Let’s work together to maximise the use of our precious resources. They can improve our lives and well-being, stimulate economic growth and create wealth for the people of Saint Lucia.”

The Department of Sustainable Development will continue to collaborate with local and regional partners to raise awareness of the International Day for Biological Diversity, through a Biodiversity Lecture Series during the week of May 22. There will also be a food and health Fair in collaboration with the OECS Secretariat.