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CARICOM Secretariat Official urges sustainable use of marine ecosystems as Region reopens

The CARICOM Secretariat’s Assistant Secretary-General, Human and Social Development, Dr Douglas Slater, has urged the Region to use coastal and marine ecosystems in a sustainable manner, as it emerges from the collective COVID-19 lockdown.

Speaking on Tuesday June 9th to environmental and biodiversity stakeholders, Dr Slater said the Region must harness the same levels of integration and innovation it did in responding to COVID-19, to strengthen coastal and maritime ecosystems.

He was delivering an address to the second in a series of five Webinars entitled: The way forward for the Caribbean in Shaping the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

Targeting the region’s environmental negotiators, policy advisors, decision makers and other stakeholder groups, the discussion was coordinated by the CARICOM Secretariat in collaboration with the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda as the Group of Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC) Member of the Conference of Parties (COP) Bureau of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD).

The series is supported by the wider Capacity Building related to Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) in the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP-MEAS Project). That project is being funded by the European Commission and coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme of which the CARICOM Secretariat hosts the Caribbean Hub.

The Human and Social Development chief said while economic stimulus will be necessary for post-COVID recovery, “we must resist activities that may yield a quick economic return but prove to be unsustainable in the medium to long term.”

Noting that coastal and marine ecosystems are inextricably linked to the life and livelihood of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Dr Slater noted that caring for the environment “should be the duty of every Caribbean citizen.”

“There is still much to discover, understand and monitor,” about the Oceans, the ASG stated, noting that the Community has “a ready opportunity” to engage in the design and partake in the implementation of the upcoming United Nations Decade on Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

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