Being the inaugural event of its kind for the region, the Conference has the vision of propelling the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme forward by bringing policy-makers and experts together to provide the basis for starting the process of the creation of Biosphere Reserves in all Caribbean Small Island States. The Conference will also include a separate workshop for experts from the region and a visit to the MAB site in St. Mary’s, St. Kitts.
The Inter-Ministerial Conference Steering Committee which consists of representatives from the St. Kitts and Nevis UNESCO National Commission and the Man and the Biosphere National Committee in addition to representatives from key sectors, has the responsibility of coordinating the Conference. The event has a series of objectives including exploring ways of promoting Biosphere Reserves as tools for innovative projects bringing added value to the local socio-economical activities and galvanizing participants in discussing the creation of a regional MAB network. The Conference is also intended to facilitate discussion on the identification of required actions including guidance and technical assistance in choosing the appropriate locations for the establishment of new Biosphere Reserves.
Additional objectives include identifying specific initiatives which can be developed due to the establishment of Biosphere Reserves thus leading to the development and promotion of new products, services and employment based on conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources. Ministers of the English-speaking Caribbean will also be exposed to the unique nature of MAB Reserves as a powerful contributing factor in addressing cross-cutting national objectives linked to the four dimensions of sustainable development being: economic, ecological, political and cultural sustainability.
The Conference Steering Committee revealed that preparations were being made for a total of 99 participants, 32 of whom will come from overseas and include Ministers of Government, MAB Focal point representatives and UNESCO officials/presenters/experts.