We would like to say thanks to all who participated in the public consultation for the “Conserving Biodiversity and reducing habitat degradation in protected areas and their areas of influence” project. The public consultation was conducted by Ms. Shemica Maloney, Legal Consultant for the Update of the National Conservation and Environment Management Act NCEMA. Coordination was done by the Project Coordinating Unit: Mrs Claudia Drew, National Project Coordinator and Ms. Phynora Ible, Project Administrative Assistant.
Participants came from all sectors of society to include, Lawyers and Legal Assistants, Teachers, Departments of Fisheries, Marine Resources, Agriculture, Physical Planning and Environment, and Private sector, Developer, NGOs and media.
A major outcome of the project is the establishment of a Protected Areas Agency to govern all the terrestrial and marine protected areas. NCEMA will give legitimacy to the Protected Areas Agency once on stream. The seven areas under this project are:
Established – the Central Forest Reserve National Park and the Royal Basseterre Valley National Park
Proposed – The Narrows Management Area, Bobby Island Nature Reserve, Sandy Point Marine Park, Key Marine Park and, Nevis Peak National Park and the Camps River Watershed Area.
The public consultation discussed some of the following issues:
- Establishment of Protected Area Agency as an independent statutory body. Inclusion of OECS Model Environmental Framework Legislation.
- The inclusion of the OECS Model Environmental Framework Legislation.
- The threat of burning fields to biological diversity and whether criminal charges should be laid against persons responsible.
- Inclusion of the 2010 OPAAL project recommendations.
- Concerns over the feasibility of visitor fees being charged and whether they will be enough to sustain the Protected Areas Agency. Expression that user fees have to be charged for visitors and researchers.
- The Advisory Board to administer the Act.
- Whether the Board should remain a Commission as it is currently being referred to or change to a Council, Committee or other name. Council was most favorable.
- Composition of the Advisory body for the Council – should take into consideration skill-sets and not just posts.
- Protection for ghauts and ponds as areas of special interest.
- Environmental or Protected areas Trust Fund
- Publication and the process of declaring/designating protected areas
- Minister to designate Protected Areas
- Development and how Protected Areas can negatively impact development/employment/economic activities.
- Legislation from Montserrat , Barbados and St. Lucia were referenced as they protected areas/environment management legislation.
*There was serious concern about the provisions in relation to the designation of certain portions of land to the detriment of ongoing and future development projects on the island.
You are welcome to forward your comments, queries, questions and concerns to the Project Coordinating Unit:
National Project Coordinator,
UNDP Barbados and OECS
Department of Environment
3rd Floor Ursula Amory Building
Corners of Central and New Streets
Basseterre, St. Kitts