A government statement indicated this week that at the 36th Session of the UNESCO General Conference, in November 2011, then acting Minister of Education and Information Patrice Nisbett, accepted a certificate that symbolized the designation of St. Mary’s as a Man and the Biosphere (MAB) project.
This was based on the recommendation given by the International Coordinating Council of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme which approved the Federation’s nomination, at its 23rd session in Germany last June. St. Mary’s was described as “one of the most diverse natural communities on St. Kitts” that includes “the marine area and beaches near Canada, Keys and Cayon and the surrounding tropical forests of the mountain ridgeline.”
The MAB Council commended St. Kitts and Nevis on a well prepared nomination and said it “recognized the importance of the site in terms of biological diversity ranging from cloud forests to mangroves and coral reefs.” It was further noted that St. Mary’s “could serve as an example of village participation in preserving the outstanding mosaic of natural and cultural landscape values.”
Ms. Gretchen Kalonji, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences presented the certificate to Minister Nisbett who noted the pride of the Federation, particularly, since St. Mary’s is the “first ever MAB site in the English-speaking Caribbean region” and that the designation “marks our strong commitment to the interdisciplinary research agenda and capacity building expertise that will assist the Federation to target the ecological, social and economic dimensions of biodiversity loss and the reduction of this loss.”
Similarly, Antonio Maynard, Secretary General of the St. Kitts-Nevis National Commission for UNESCO recognized the potential of the MAB programme to “contribute to promoting innovative approaches to economic development that is socially and culturally appropriate and environmentally sustainable for a small island developing states.”
The task of moving the MAB plans forward, with experts in Paris, is left to Dr. David P. Doyle, St. Kitts and Nevis’ Permanent Delegate to UNESCO.