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International Day for Biological Diversity - Address by Minister Stiell

International Day for Biological Diversity - Address by Minister Stiell

Media Release

The United Nations has proclaimed May 22 each year as the International Day for Biological Diversity to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. This year’s event was themed, "We're part of the solution #ForNature". The OECS commemorated the event with a Virtual Science Fair for primary and secondary schools within Member States and a photo competition.

Grenada’s Minister with responsibility for Climate Resilience and Environment, Minister the Honourable Simon Stiell in his official address to mark the day said:

“As Small Island Developing States, we continue to face daunting threats and challenges, including economic instability due to our open economies, debilitating natural disasters and environmental and social crises. Because we live in an island paradise, we don’t always see it, but that doesn’t mean the problem is not there. All the latest scientific studies and reports tell us we are in a biodiversity emergency. We are losing species at unprecedented rates due to non-stainable practices, and this is systematically destroying the living systems we are dependent upon for our own survival.”

Minister Stiell continued:

Now, we are tasked with seeking solutions to the pressing challenges, utilizing examples in nature, and there are many examples throughout history when nature has given us great ideas that we have used. From the design of birds’ wings on the aerodynamics of flight to sea grass beds for carbon capturing storage, to circular economies patent off energy and food webs. I believe the solutions to our current pressing crisis lie in nature.”

He concluded his remarks with three challenges to the region:

  1. To be more creative and innovative in our thinking of how to use the examples in nature to address the pressing issues we face;
  2.  To support and promote innovation in the region;
  3. To take responsibility to be an agent for change.

The OECS is currently executing two major projects dealing with the conservation of biodiversity: The Biodiversity Support Programme for ACP Coastal Environments (BioSPACE) and the Integrated Landscape Approaches and Investments in Sustainable Land Management in the OECS (ILM). Both projects are funded by the European Union.

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Joan Norville Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
Joan Norville Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
About The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States

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The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is an International Organisation dedicated to economic harmonisation and integration, protection of human and legal rights, and the encouragement of good governance among independent and non-independent countries in the Eastern Caribbean. The OECS came into being on June 18th 1981, when seven Eastern Caribbean countries signed a treaty agreeing to cooperate with each other while promoting unity and solidarity among its Members. The Treaty became known as the Treaty of Basseterre, so named in honour of the capital city of St. Kitts and Nevis where it was signed. The OECS today, currently has eleven members, spread across the Eastern Caribbean comprising Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and The Grenadines, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Martinique and Guadeloupe. 

The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
Morne Fortune
Saint Lucia