Environmentalist call for greater community involvement in conservation efforts; Eco-Tourism a pathway to job creation

Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 26, 2021 (SKNIS): The protection of the eco-system remains paramount to human survival for both present and future generations, In the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, both government and non-government entities continue to champion environmental conservation as a key part of national development.

During the January 26, 2022 edition of SKNIS’s ‘Working For You’ the discussion was centered around the importance of environmental sustainability. Ms. Lynelle Bonaparte Environmental Conservation Officer within the Department of Environment spoke to the importance of community involvement in environmental conservation.

“At our recent sustainability workshop, I mentioned a co-management approach that is actually successful in Tobago. So, co-management we have both the community and the government working together but the community has to see it beneficial to them. In Tobago, there is Argyle Waterfall. The government would have setup the entire structure but the community is involved in doing the tours, craft etc. So, imagine a member of the community working and receiving income from the Waterfall would not allow illegal dumping since it would be affecting their income. I think an approach like this in St. Kitts and Nevis can work, where we help community members to see the importance of the resource that is in their community and that they must do something to protect it,” said Ms. Bonaparte.

The Department of Environment has work in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Tourism to help bring more awareness to the general public on the importance of environmental conservation across St. Kitts and Nevis.

The UNESCO Man and The Biosphere (MAB) programme has also been successful over the year in implanting strategies to protect the local eco-system and endangered species within the Federation. Project Coordinator for MAB Ms. Telca Wallace also spoke to the importance of community involvement in environmental protection and conservation.

“That is the approach we are taking in the Cayon River Ghaut, where eventually tours will be done by persons from within the community. The Cayon River is not just a water way but it has spring at different areas, we are even testing the spring water to see how clean it is, checking for contaminants and if it can be used for potable purposes… Having a tour at up the Cayon River will introduce visitors to our island to local culture and cuisine. Entrepreneurship is one of the highest things on our agenda as well, we want to create employment for persons and that Cayon water way has the potential to create a lot of employment,” said Ms. Telca Wallace.

The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has committed not only to the preservation of the environment and our natural eco-system, but Budget 2022 has been earmarked to bring transformation change to the eco-tourism sector.

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