A project aimed at managing the risks and costs of invasive alien species on important ecosystems, species and genetic diversity was launched in St. Kitts and Nevis on Tuesday, at the Ocean Terrace Inn Conference Room.
The project, dubbed “Preventing the Costs of Invasive Alien Species (IAS) in Barbados and the OECS will focus on prevention, early detection and the establishment of control and management frameworks for IAS that emphasize a risk management approach by prioritizing the highest risk invasion pathways.
Melvin James, Director of Agriculture and Co-National Project Coordinator, welcomed all the participants and noted that the launch of the project is timely and vital.
He looked at monkeys as a perfect example of an invasive species, noting that the population has grown tremendously over the years.
“We as a country therefore, must make decisions to manage, we must make decisions for our own food security and in the interest of diversity,” he said, while welcoming the IAS project. “It is not a standalone matter, it is not something that addresses all of our issues. As a country we still need an overall comprehensive programme with this project as a component of it.”
The director added that the monkey issue in St. Kitts and Nevis is not “exclusively an agriculture problem”.
“We need to embrace all of the facets involved. The different ministries such as tourism, environment and the like. We all need to work on this together because if we don’t then we will continue to lose our diversity, we will continue to lose more plants, we will continue to lose more animals and food that we produce…” he said. “And as a small developing nation we have to be able to utilize our resources efficiently and reduce our losses and prevent extinctions.”
The IAS project will run for a period of three years and eight countries will be participating in the regional aspect of the project. These include Barbados, Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Grenada and St. Kitts-Nevis. In addition to St. Kitts-Nevis, Antigua & Barbuda and Barbados will be executing invasive alien species pilot projects within their respective territories.
United Nations (UN) Environment is the implementation agency while the Centre for Agriculture & Bioscience International (CABI) serves as the regional executing agency. The local executing agency will be the Department of Agriculture in collaboration with the Department of Environment.
Read more: Minister Hamilton welcomes Invasive Alien Species Project to St. Kitts-Nevis (SKN Vibes)