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Contact: John Emmanuel

Tuesday, March 25, 2003 - The Ministry of Physical Development, Environment and Housing has teamed up with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) to host a four-day workshop on ‘Capacity Building for Integrated Environment Assessment and Reporting.’

The workshop, taking place at the Bay Gardens Hotel, groups together various practitioners in the field of the environment. Chief Sustainable Development and Environment Officer, Bishnu Tulsie says given the lack of consensus on the work being done by the various organizations involved in environmental management, it was felt that a ‘State of the Environment report’ was needed, as a prelude to a wider action plan.

That concept has gone down well with the International Institute for Sustainable Development represented at the by Darren Swanson. “Our mission at the International Institute for Sustainable Development is to champion innovation, enabling societies to live sustainable and the geo-process together with the integrated environmental assessment method that it employs is definitely an innovation that is in pursuit of sustainable development,” said Swanson.

Mr. Swanson explained, “Sustainable development is a complex journey and the only way to really successfully navigate that journey is through a continual process of learning and adaptation and I think that’s what we are going to do over the next four-days.”

Saint Lucia’s efforts in placing increased significance on protecting the environment have continued unabated with civil society following the lead of government. Minister for Physical Development, Environment and Housing, Honourable Ignatius Jean, says the facts when considered points to a society that recognizes the importance of the environment to personal and collective development. “This recognition is not misplaced as the environment is the basis for our survival,” he said. He told the grouping that, “without a healthy environment, we cannot have a healthy society. Without clean air or water, we will suffer untold problems with our beaches and near shore eco-systems directly supporting our brand of tourism.”

The Ministry along with the Statistical Department for the first time in 2002 published a compendium of environmental statistics. It is hoped that the report will provide much needed data in guiding government’s decisions in areas that impinge on the environment. The primary purpose of the training will be to develop the capacity of the Government of Saint Lucia in initiating a national level integrated environment assessment and reporting programme, adapting the approach and methodologies of the Global Environment Outlook of the United Nations Environment Programme. UNEP is being represented at the workshop by Kakuko Nagatani-Yoshida.

The four-day workshop comes to a close on Thursday.

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