BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — To better manage the environment for future life and survival, the Department of Environment in St. Kitts and Nevis focuses on three broad pillars namely climate change, biodiversity, and ozone.
Climate Change is the changes in weather patterns that affect all sectors and human life; biodiversity deals with natural resources – plants, animals, and humans, while ozone deals with the banning of those refrigerants that destroy the ozone layer.
“From those three pillars then there are sub-sections within these relevant focus areas, recognizing that most of the Multilateral United Nations Agreements – the focal point within these agencies rest with the Department,” said Cheryl Jeffers, Conservation Officer in the Ministry of Environment and Cooperatives. “I think it was strategically done that way to ensure that there is coordination, efficiency, and avoiding duplication of those responsibilities.”
Ms. Jeffers quoted the department’s motto: “Conserve, Preserve and Protect.” She noted that it fittingly sums up the responsibilities of the department.
“In terms of conservation… we see ourselves as coordinating some of the activities because we cannot do it alone. It requires us to have that level of collaboration and consultation with everyone – civil society, government, private sector, and children,” said Ms. Jeffers. “Most of the work that we do we have an Environmental Education Officer whose, responsibility, for the most part, is to disseminate information as it relates to the environmental matters that affect us on a day-to-day basis.”
When it comes to preparation, Ms. Jeffers said the department engages in quite a lot to promote the need to conserve what is there in terms of natural resources. “In terms of preparation, we do a lot also when it comes to water efficiency, water conservation practices.”
The Central Forest Reserve encompasses all lands above the 1,000 feet contour. Ms. Jeffers said it is important to protect the area because that is where most of the island’s resources are found.
“In terms of protection, our key area for that relates to our Central Forest Reserve which is protected by law,” she said. “It is done because most of our water is generated through that activity in terms of the Central Forest Reserve, and the government saw it necessary for us to implement such a policy to ensure that the level of sustainability in terms of the forest is protected.”
Ms. Jeffers added that it serves to protect such resources because if you don’t, then persons will freely enter and remove or damage natural resources.