Parliament Report: Preserving biodiversity

The implementation of the Barbados National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan is how the Government is going to ensure the survival of the country as it grapples with climate change and other environmental challenges.

That was the assurance from Minister of Environment and National Beautification Adrian Forde on Tuesday when he introduced the resolution in the House of Assembly. He explained that it was important for the government to put laws in place to protect the local ecosystem that is needed for our survival.

He said: “Our research and our studies have shown that over the years there has been habitat loss which is vital to the survival of our ecosystem. We are seeing the invasion of alien species, foreign species which seek to destroy crop life and other animal life that would operate in a symbiotic way or a natural way. We are seeing the overharvesting of species, particularly those in the Blue Economy, and pollution which continues to be a problem.”

Forde, who represents the constituency of Christ Church West Central, added that the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has given Barbados a grant of $440 000 to put a plan in place in order to preserve and conserve that biological diversity.

The importance of biodiversity, he explained, was to have all organisms exist in a specific sphere or space working together so that there can be a balanced ecosystem which preserves all life forms, human and plant alike.

“That is why you need biodiversity. The same mosquitoes that are laying eggs, those eggs in a perfect ecosystem would be used by the colloquial Bajan frog but we have killed off most of these things by spraying insecticides. You have killed out all the things that keep an ecosystem balanced.”

The twelve 12 of the plan are as follows:

By 2030, at the latest, Barbadians will be more knowledgeable about the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably.
By 2030, at the latest, the Government of Barbados , businesses and stakeholders at all levels in Barbados, will have taken steps to achieve or have implemented plans for sustainable production and consumption and have kept the impacts of use of natural resources well within safe ecological limits.
By 2030, the rate of loss of all natural habitats including forests will decrease by 25%.
By 2030, areas under agriculture, aquaculture and forestry are managed sustainably, ensuring conservation of biodiversity.
By 2030, pollution, including from excess nutrients, has been brought to levels that are not detrimental to ecosystem function and biodiversity.
By 2030, invasive alien species and pathways are identified and prioritised, priority species are controlled or eradicated, and measures are in place to manage pathways to prevent their introduction and establishment.
By 2035, anthropogenic pressures on coral reefs (e.g. nutrient loads, anchor damage, overfishing) and other vulnerable ecosystems impacted by climate change or ocean acidification, are minimised, so as to maintain their integrity and functioning.
By 2030, at least 17 percent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 percent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are designated within connected systems of protected areas and plans for effective area-based conservation measures are in development.
By 2030, pressures on known threatened species have been identified and mitigated, and conservation status has been improved.
By 2030, the genetic diversity of cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and of wild relatives, including other socio-economically as well as culturally valuable species, is maintained, and strategies have been developed and implemented for minimising genetic erosion and safeguarding their genetic diversity.
By 2030, document all traditional and scientific knowledge and technology relating to biodiversity so that it improved, widely shared, transferred and applied.
By 2030, at the latest, financial resources to conduct projects and research in the area of biodiversity should increase substantially.

Barbados ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity on March 10, 1994. The Convention has been in effect since December 1993 and its objective is to develop national strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. (JC)

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