The Government of St. Lucia through the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, to formalise collaboration on biodiversity and food security.
Permanent Secretary in the Sustainable Development Ministry, Sylvester Clauzel said the goal of the MoU is to enhance Biodiversity Management for Wealth Creation. Clauzel said the aim is also to create greater Socio-Economic Development in Saint Lucia through the island’s rich biodiversity.
“Government has over the years attempted to put measures in place to ensure that these resources are conserved and sustainably used. These include various laws, policies and establishing and strengthening all institutions,” Caluzel added.
The permanent secretary said government is however becoming increasingly aware of instances whereby the island’s natural and sometimes endemic resources are being exploited overseas and government do not receive the benefits even through sharing of profits.
“It is clear that we are not obtaining the benefits that can be derived from our own biological resources and related to additional knowledge to further support much needed economic activities,” he stated.
According to him, St Lucia’s rich biological resources hold much potential for exploration and development of new products, services and industries, especially drawing upon the traditional knowledge of the country, related to its biological resources.
Sustainable Development Minister Dr James Fletcher in his remarks said the island’s biological resources offer an ideal opportunity to lift the country from its financial difficulties by contributing to wealth creation.
UWI Centre of Excellence for Food Security and Entrepreneurship Director Professor Leonard O Garro says UWI is fully committed to the joint venture and will work assiduously to ensure that measures are put in place to create a framework by which government can gain finances from its rich biodiversity.
“It is a pleasure that we will be providing expertise for enhancing the ecological, commercial and economic value of your natural resources. We will be working to set up active working groups to evaluate and advocate programmes dedicated to biotechnology and a green economy,” the UWI director stated.
The goal of the MOU is for the parties to consolidate, develop and detail their cooperation with regard to the management of biological resources.
Saint Lucia is also undertaking concurrent developments that merge well with the Green Economy initiative, and help the country progress in a manner that factors social, economic and environmental considerations equally into the mix of its development paradigm.
In addition, St Lucia has engaged in setting up systems for bio-safety management to protect human and animal health and the environment from any possible negative impacts of genetically modified organisms.
A bio-safety framework is being implemented to allow safety in the creation, transport, handling and use of the products of modern biotechnology.