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St. Lucia seeks to build synergies regarding MEA's

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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

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