Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 11, 2017 (SKNIS): As the debate continues on the Appropriation (2018) Bill, 2017, Minister of Environment, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton, used the occasion to highlight the important role that the Department of Environment is playing in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.


“The Department, Mr. Speaker, is in this period of our lives perhaps one of the most important departments in the government…because of the impacts of climate change. This Department has to focus and pay attention on what’s happening worldwide, including on our own shores because of climate change,” said Minister Hamilton, while speaking to the many challenges that exist such as hurricanes, soil erosions and land degradation to name a few. “So the Department of Environment has to be conscious of this and pay attention as to how we preserve our environment.


Minister Hamilton said that the department “remains committed to leading on environmental matters such as climate change, biodiversity and biosafety”. He added that it is tasked with introducing projects to protect the environment.


“One of the department’s mandate includes initiating and implementing environment policies, also projects and programmes in order to achieve sustainable development in St. Kitts and Nevis, said the Minister of Environment, adding that in 2017 the Department of Environment played the leading role on a vast number of projects and programmes “geared towards environmental management, preservation and conservation of our natural resources.”


A major project to which the minister spoke is the Conserving Biodiversity and Reducing Habitat Degradation in Protected Areas and their Areas of Influence. The project was launched in August 2015 with the aim of expanding and strengthening the terrestrial and marine protected area system and reducing habitat destruction in protected area ecological functioning.


“The ongoing Conserving Biodiversity Project has allowed for St. Kitts and Nevis to fulfill significant aspects of its obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity,” he said. “Special areas of mention that have been successfully executed are the active management of protected areas and national park through the hiring of park rangers and conservation officers. This is one success story of the Department of Environment.”


As part of the project, the Department of Environment launched a campaign in October 2017 aimed at increasing dialogue among students, fishers, farmers, policy and decision makers and the general public on the importance of using resources wisely and conserving biodiversity by demonstrating how biodiversity is linked to life and livelihood.