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New plan

by Barbados Today
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Barbados’ two-decade-old Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan has been updated, given Cabinet’s nod, and should go before Parliament soon.

That disclosure came on Wednesday from Assistant Project Coordinator in the Biodiversity Unit of the Ministry of the Environment Rohann Payne during the launch of a new Clean and Green recreational site in Mount Standfast Gardens, St James.

He said the last plan laid in Parliament in 2002 was outdated and officials had formulated a new one to ensure that the island’s plants, animals, and ecosystems are conserved, protected, and enhanced and that progress is tracked using measurable targets, in keeping with its United Nations (UN) obligations.

“As you can imagine, what was relevant in 2022 would no longer be relevant now and, as such, [my unit] has been working for the past four to five years to upgrade that strategy. We recently had it endorsed by the Cabinet, so in the very near future we will be laying an updated Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan in Parliament, and we will begin to roll out some general information,” Payne disclosed.

He said the new action plan will feature easy-to-read, simplified, and targeted information for the public.

“It will help the average person to understand that there is a great wealth of living resources in Barbados. We are within the Caribbean in what they call a biodiversity hotspot, which means we have a disproportionately high amount of biological resources,” Payne noted.

The Barbados Government ratified the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) since March 10, 1994 and, as a result, is committed to ensuring that the country maintains compliance with its obligations under the Convention. As part of this compliance, the first National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan was submitted to the CBD Secretariat on December 6, 2002.

Meantime, also speaking at the launch Minister of Environment and National Beautification Adrian Forde urged Barbadians to make a greater effort at soil conservation, given a decline in arable land on the island.

Minister of Environment and National Beautification, Adrian Forde

“The evidence is there to suggest that, thus far, 52 per cent of arable agricultural soil has been degraded all around the world. If we continue on this current trajectory, by the year 2070 we will have little or no arable land in the world,” he cautioned.

“I am saying today, it’s the [time] for us to recognise and be sensitised to that phenomenon, and it is also an opportunity for us to say that we can do better. So, I am asking Barbadians to start composting, start to regurgitate the soil, start to put in more plants for soil conservation because deforestation is now a thing that is going to affect . . . not only the plants that we are talking about but us human beings as well.”

shamarblunt@barbadostoday.bb

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