Minister of the Environment and National Beautification Adrian Forde says Government is prioritising areas to meet the island’s 2035 biodiversity conservation goals.
He gave this indication on Tuesday while outlining the priority targets contained in the revised Barbados National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2020.
This comes just over 28 years after Barbados ratified the United Nations Convention on biological diversity.
Introducing the Barbados Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2020 resolution in Parliament, Forde said the policy document was designed to serve as a guide for the management and conservation of biodiversity in Barbados both on land and sea.
Forde said it was designed to protect the island’s flora and fauna and address a range of issues including garbage pollution, reforestation and the use of substances such as herbicides and pesticides.
Outlined in the 85-page document are 12 priority targets, 11 of which are to be achieved by 2030 and one by 2035.
The minister said in order to achieve some of the goals officials will implement education and awareness drives, venture into communities to learn about and document information on various plant and animal species and work closely with the University of the West Indies to ensure more research.
Forde said that by the end of this month the country will receive a shipment of citronella plants, which he is hoping will eventually help to replace mosquito fogging.
“This is the type of conversation we need to have as a country if we are serious, not only about mitigating the existential threats, but preserving our biological diversity,” said Forde, who urged residents to practise proper disposal of their garbage and chemical waste.
The plan proposes that by 2030 Barbadians should be more aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably. Also by then, Government, businesses and stakeholders at all levels would have taken steps to achieve, or have implemented plans for sustainable production and consumption and have kept the impacts of use of natural resources well within safe ecological limits.
Also contained in the plan are proposals that areas under agriculture, aquaculture and forestry are managed sustainably ensuring conservation of biodiversity; that pollution, including from excess nutrients, be brought to levels that are not detrimental to the ecosystem function and biodiversity; that invasive alien species and pathways are identified and prioritised, priority established species are managed and measures are in place to prevent the introduction and establishment of new invasive alien species.
In the next eight years it is also expected that the genetic diversity of cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and of wild relatives, including other socio-economically as well as culturally valuable species, is maintained, and strategies be developed and implemented for minimising genetic erosion and safeguarding their genetic diversity and that all traditional and scientific knowledge and technology relating to biodiversity is documented so that it is improved, widely and equitably shared, transferred and applied.
By 2035, it is expected that the rate of loss of all of Barbados’ natural habitats, including forests, would be decreased. (MM)