Jamaican News

Minister Grange Calls for Protection of Biodiversity Across the Caribbean

Photo: JIS Photographer

The Honourable Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport makes a point to Everton Hannam, Secretary General, Jamaica National Commission for UNESCO (left). Also a part of the conversation were: Ambassador Marcia Gilbert-Roberts, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; Joy Douglas, Chairman, Man and the Biosphere National Committee and Katherine Grigsby, Director, UNESCO Office for the Caribbean (left to right).

The Honourable Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, has urged the National Commissions for UNESCO across the region to protect the biodiversity in their respective countries.

Minister Grange, who chairs the Jamaica National Commission for UNESCO, made the comment at the Opening Ceremony of a Caribbean regional workshop for the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme on Monday.

The Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) is an Intergovernmental Scientific Programme that aims to establish a scientific basis for the improvement of relationships between people and their environments.

The Minister bemoaned the rate of biodiversity loss saying the situation had become “much more urgent” in recent years.

According to Minister Grange, “now, more than ever, we must prepare ourselves and take the appropriate steps in the face of climate change, one of the effect of the reduction of biodiversity at an accelerated rate.”

The Minister said this was particularly urgent for our region which is vulnerable to hurricanes, flooding and earthquakes.

As a means of tackling the situation, the Minister called for an acceleration of the programme to establish Biosphere Reserves across the Caribbean.

Biosphere Reserves are ‘Science for Sustainability support sites’ – special places for testing interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and managing changes and interactions between social and ecological systems, including conflict prevention and management of biodiversity.

Minister Grange expressed disappointment that Jamaica had not yet established or declared the three Biosphere Reserves that she had announced during her previous term of office. However, she expressed optimism that the workshop to be led by experts from St. Kitts and Nevis, Guyana, Belize, Curacao, Suriname, St. Marten, the UNESCO Caribbean Office and the Montevideo Office would “help to step up the establishment of Biosphere Reserves not only in Jamaica but across the region.”

Minister Grange also said that Jamaica would use its position on the UNESCO Executive Board to push support for nations in our region towards their establishment and declaration of Biosphere Reserves.


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