Monday, October 24, 2005 - The Sustainable Development Unit of the
Ministry of Physical Development, Environment and Housing is intensifying its
efforts to efficiently implement the wide range of multilateral environmental
agreements (MEA’s) to which Saint Lucia is a signatory. The latest effort took
the form of a one-day workshop on Wednesday, October 19th, 2005 at the Bay
Gardens Hotel in the north of the city, Castries.
Minister for Physical Development Housing and Environment, Honourable Ferguson
John, says ratifying these international agreements which are critical to global
and national survival, require much on the part of small island developing
states like Saint Lucia.
Among the costly requirements, he says, are passage of appropriate legislation
in some cases, attendance at international negotiations and submitting regular
progress reports. He says under many of the agreements that Saint Lucia has
ratified, it has been possible to secure technical support and resources for
capacity building in order to better address the relevant environmental issues.
However, the Environment Minister says, “Obligations placed upon signatories to
these conventions can often be significant and may go far beyond the requisite
direct financial contributions.” Minister John says becoming party to a MEA “is
a commitment to take on the responsibility of doing all that is necessary to
fulfil its aims and objectives as required.”
Saint Lucia is party to over twenty multilateral environmental agreements which
cover the use of marine space and resources to the protection of human health
and the environment from dangerous pollutants. Wednesday’s workshop formed part
of a broader mandate of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) which
seeks to build awareness of MEA’s.
“We held a regional workshop in Jamaica in 2003 in which there was support for
capacity building at the regional level but also a very strong desire to do more
at the national level. Therefore this activity represents a specific request
from the Government of Saint Lucia to collaborate in raising awareness to
implement international environment agreements at the national level,” says
UNEP representative Carl Bruch.
Saint Lucia is said to have a first rate track record in the implementation of
multilateral environmental agreements. The island’s achievements under the UN
Convention on Biodiversity and under the Montreal Protocol are often highlighted
as prime examples in the region