Minister Hamilton was launching the ‘Biodiversity and Reducing Habitat Degradation’ and the Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Land Management’ projects for the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Commenting on sustainability issues, he said, “Government should view land, not as an economic asset to be disposed of, but as an economic resource for the long term productivity potential for future generations… We must not lose sight of our own individual and collective responsibility that we are charged with to protect our environment and preserve our land.”
He expressed the view that the small size of St. Kitts and Nevis makes the country susceptible to various threats. “St. Kitts and Nevis is vulnerable because of its size, its small population, its market size, its limited resource base, its disposition to catastrophic events, and its limited watershed and threatened supplies of fresh water that we are experiencing,” the minister outlined.
In support of his point, he provided rainfall data, January to July, from years 2010 to 2015, which shows a persistent decline in the country’s rainfall for that period of the year.
2010: 54.73 inches
“The reality is that we have, as a result of this low rainfall, threatened supplies of fresh water,” Minister Hamilton emphasized before committing the support of the Ministry and Government to the effective implementation of the two projects.
The biodiversity and reducing habitat degradation project will run until August 2019. Regional funding comes from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) that has earmarked US$20.5 million to come from various donor countries and international institutions. The project is being started with US$5 million, provided by GEF and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
This project will have as significant results, the strengthening of laws and regulations that govern Protected Areas (PA), the buttressing of policy and institutional frameworks for PA system management, the operationalization of Terrestrial and Marine Protected Areas, as well as the support for increased awareness of PAs.
The Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Land Management project is one that will run until November 2018, and is funded by the European Union Global Climate Change Alliance to an amount of 10.6 million Euros. It is administered to OECS member states via the OECS Commission.
The project has been branded ‘iLAND Resilience’, and it aims at improving the region’s “natural resource base resilience to the impacts of climate change”. Under this project, St. Kitts and Nevis will implement two projects, one on each island. There will be the New River Estate Stabilization of Degraded Lands for Nevis, and the St. Kitts Water Conservation and Drought Management Project.
Also present for the launch were Henry Mangal, operations manager of UNDP Barbados, and Chamberlain Emmanuel, the OECS project technical team leader.