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Biodiversity’s potential role in revitalizing Saint Lucia’s pandemic-strained economy

Saint Lucia’s Department of Sustainable Development, the Division of Forestry and the OECS Commission jointly observe the International Day for Biological Diversity with a Biodiversity Exhibition at the Vigie Complex yesterday. Exciting and engaging scenes are unfolding on location with students from nearby schools and the general public gathering to see displays of live and documented flora and fauna endemic to Saint Lucia and the Lesser Antilles, in addition to products and services made through sustainable use of natural resources.

This year’s event is meant to increase public understanding of biodiversity’s value in supporting human and societal needs and influence a generation to prioritize sustainable use, conservation and restoration of our natural habitats. Saint Lucia recently ratified the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization- a global agreement that implements obligations of the Convention on Biological Diversity which include conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

“This agreement will allow for Saint Lucia and Saint Lucians to benefit from the use of our genetic resources and the associated traditional knowledge.” says Sustainable Development Minister Hon. Shawn Edward in his Biodiversity Day Address, “As the world struggles to recover from and adapt to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, biodiversity can be used as a platform to revitalize our economy. As we endeavour to rebuild, biodiversity can be a foundation and can serve as the answer to many sustainable development challenges including solutions to climate change, health issues, solid waste, food and water security, sustainable livelihoods, and nature based solutions.”

“Building a shared future for all life” is the theme for this year’s International Day for Biological Diversity, chosen to continue developing momentum and support for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework at the upcoming UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) later this year. This framework builds on the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and sets out an ambitious plan to implement broad-based action to bring about a transformation in society’s relationship with biodiversity, ensuring that by 2050 the shared vision of ‘living in harmony with nature’ is fulfilled.

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With Saint Lucia now collaborating at this global level, Hon. Edward says it is an “…opportune time to not only reevaluate the abundant resources nature provides and how they supply our basic needs for food, good health and survival, but also a time to consider the threats posed to biodiversity. Before taking action to address these threats, we must first understand the issues so we can determine feasible and sustainable solutions.”

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