Other stakeholders included officials and representatives from the Ministry of Sustainable Development and the Forestry Department in Saint Lucia, Flora and Fauna International (FFI), Saint Lucia National Trust, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Saint Lucia National Youth Council (SLNYC). Virtual participants included representatives from the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre in Belize and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). Attendees also joined from St. Kitts & Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Welcome remarks were made by the Saint Lucia National Youth Council (SLNYC), Lord John Randall and Hon. Shawn A. Edward. Minister Edward expressed his pleasure for the convening of the event and what it means for the region: “I am very excited in terms of what you have outlined, and it is going to be very, very critical for us to work with all the stakeholder agencies if we are to make any headway and achieve anything meaningful as we work toward making the planet a much better place for its citizens.”
Mr. Chamberlain Emmanuel, Head of the OECS Environmental Sustainability Division, acknowledged the relevance of the briefing in the context of the recent IPCC Climate Change report and updated UNFCCC Climate Change CoP in Glasgow, while highlighting alignment with mandates from the OECS Council of Ministers with responsibility for the Environment for action related promotion and support of nature-based solutions to combat climate change and ensure the sustainability of natural resources for future generations.
Expert presentations highlighted nature-based solutions case studies from the region and provided tools for their incorporation into national action plans and policy. Diana Francis of IICA presented a case study utilizing vetiver grass to mitigate land-based contaminants and reduce their entry into downstream marine environments, while also supporting local livelihoods through the Ecosystem-based Adaptation project. Keith Nichols of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center (CCCCC) introduced the Caribbean Climate Online Risk and Adaptation Tool (CCORAL), an online support system for climate resilient decision making that can be leveraged to support implementation of NBS policies and projects.
A discussion with stakeholders following the briefing highlighted other initiatives on nature-based solutions being undertaken by the OECS to support ocean governance and blue economy through the Caribbean Regional Oceanscape Project (CROP), and the Building Resilience in the Eastern Caribbean through Reduction in Marine Litter Project (ReMLit). Several comments also focused on the importance of including environmental education for communities and youth as a critical component for successful nature-based solutions, policies and projects. Immediately after the briefing, many stakeholders convened to discuss opportunities and challenges for implementing nature-based solutions in Saint Lucia with the ICCF Group.
The briefing was preceded by a meeting between ICCF officials and the OECS Director General, Dr. Didacus Jules on August 11, who applauded the work of the ICCF and welcomed opportunities for deeper collaboration with the OECS in advancing shared aspirations.
The ICCF Group is an organization that supports political will for conservation based in Washington D.C. The ICCF Group Caribbean Program supports the conservation priorities of the Parliaments of Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada and Saint Lucia, by collaborating with nonpartisan coalitions of policymakers. The programme brings together stakeholders and creates a platform for engagement on conservation, supporting Members of Parliament to make informed decisions and lead the way in forming sound, nonpartisan, conservation policies that benefit their respective nations and the region as a whole.