Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): Minister of Environment, the Honourable Eric Evelyn, hailed the newly launched environmental project, “Improving Environmental Management through Sustainable Land Management in St. Kitts and Nevis”, as critically important to the Federation.
“I believe that right now is probably the best and most critical time to implement this project. This launch comes on stream at a point in time where our Government has been confronted with the daunting task of diversifying and addressing some of the challenges in the agricultural sector in order to create an environment where our people are confident in the source of our food and its abundance,” said Minister Evelyn during the project launch on Thursday, February 17, 2022, at the Credit Union Conference Center (CUNA). “Ladies and gentlemen, this project presents a tremendous opportunity to become an excellent complement to our mandate for increasing food security. I would however want to add that for us to achieve our food security objectives, we must address this through an ambitious, green environmental lens.”
The minister noted that as strange as it may seem, the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic were not all bad.
“In fact, one of the things that it did was to highlight some of the weaknesses in our food supply chain and made us confront the challenges of how we operate in that arena. It became painfully clear over the last two years that we need to critically bolster our levels of domestic food security. Ladies and gentlemen, food security will never be achievable and sustainable unless we address some of the land management issues plaguing our Federation,” said Minister Evelyn. “The vulnerabilities that we experience are part and parcel of our DNA as a small island developing state. This is underscored by the fact that our beautiful lands are subjected to both natural and manmade pressures. We are constantly threatened by natural disasters, soil erosion and deforestation. Drought is an annual, yearlong reality that affects all of us….”
Minister Evelyn recognized all entities who are partnering with St. Kitts and Nevis on the project.
“I wish at the outset to sincerely thank the Global Environment Facility for its generous funding and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), for kindly agreeing to support us in the implementation of the project. The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis is not only deeply appreciative of the provision of these resources, but we also warmly welcome the opportunity to partner with these important international agencies as we seek to address the persistent land degradation issues that we have been grappling with for many years,” said the minister.
Ursula Parilla, Regional Director of IUCN, noted that the project is in line with the organization’s vision that values and conserves nature. Additionally, she noted that the project seeks to “support the country to reorient all sectors of the economy towards sustainable resource use, policies and practices, which together, can provide economic opportunities for the country’s population, while also sustaining ecosystem services…”