The Federation of St Kitts and Nevis’ protected area of biodiversity importance is the Central Forest Reserve (CFR) located in Winfield Mountain, in the village of Old Road.
The closing ceremony was organized by the OECS Secretariat and the Department of Physical Planning and Development and was held at the newly renovated Interpretation Centre en-route to the Central Forest Reserve. This centre would be used as a place of reference for visitors and citizens alike, who are interested in acquiring information and indulging in excursions into the Central Forest Reserve.
The Secretariat was represented by Mr. Keith Nichols, Head of the Environmental Sustainable Development Unit, Mr. David Popo, Programme Officer, Disaster Management and Sustainable Development and Ms. Tecla Fontenard, OPAAL Communication Specialist, all of whom gave brief remarks and spoke very highly of the project.
They each explained that the OPAAL project is a developmental plan that seeks to conserve the biodiversity of global importance in the participating countries of the OECS through increased involvement of the populace and the successful management of protected areas.
Mr. David Popo, explained that over fifty (50) nationals were able to complete training as part of the Sustainable Livelihood Project in fields such as Arts and Crafts, Fishing, Tour guiding and Agro-processing.
He further mentioned that participants were noted saying, upon completion of the Sustainable Livelihood Project they will seek to establish themselves as entrepreneurs.
The handing over of the Interpretation Centre and the unveiling of the Commemoration Plaque were also two aspects of the closing ceremony to be highlighted. These were presented to the Director of Physical Planning and Environment, Mr. Randolph Edmead.
Mr. Randolph Edmead in his remarks indicated that St Kitts-Nevis was the first OECS country to declare its OPAAL site a Protected Area. He also added, even though the OPAAL project is within its closing ceremony, work at the Central Forest Reserve will never cease as the Interpretation Centre would be put into great use and asked that citizens utilize the Centre at any time.
He then expressed thanks to the persons and organisations that assisted in making the OPAAL Project a success. The Ministry of Tourism, Department of Physical Planning and Development, the Community Members, Ministry of Sustainable Development, the Media and the OECS Secretariat were all praised for their invaluable support.
The O.E.C.S Protected Areas and Associated Livelihoods (OPAAL) project was funded by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the World Bank) acting as an Implementing Agency of the Global Environment Facility (GEF); the Fonds Français pour l’Environnement Mondial (FFEM) of the Government of France and the Organisation of American States (OAS)
OPAAL was officially launched in the Federation in 2005 by the then Minister of Sustainable Development, Senator Nigel Carty at a ceremony at Ocean Terrace Inn (OTI) in the capital city, Basseterre.