Invasive alien species threat to small island states-Minister

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A regional workshop on preventing costs of invasive alien species (IAS) in the Caribbean began here on Wednesday with Barbados warning that IAS are threats and can impact negatively on small island developing states (SIDS) as those in the Caribbean.
Environment and National Beautification Minister, Trevor Prescod, told the “Preventing Costs of Invasive Alien Species (IAS) in Barbados and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States” it has long been known that the Caribbean Islands are rich hotspots of biodiversity with unique fauna and flora.
“The protection and conservation of these treasures must become one of our governments’ highest priorities,” he said, noting that since IAS were one of the major threats to biological diversity and their associated costs are equally borne by multiple sectors, it is time that this problem was addressed at a policy level.
Prescod said that the Ministry of Environment and National Beautification had undertaken the process of revising the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (2002) to update the core policies and to take account of developments over time for alignment with Barbados’ current social and economic environment..
The Convention on Biological Diversity defines invasive alien species as “plants, animals, pathogens and other organisms that are non-native to an ecosystem, and which may cause economic or environmental harm or adversely affect human health”.
The IAS in Barbados and the OECS Project, which is funded by the Global Environment Facility, has been in the planning phase for the last three years and falls in line with Barbados’ objective, as its work programme is designed to strengthen institutional capacity, legislative and policy frames, as well as technical and financial strategies for the management and eradication of invasive alien species.
The workshop will seek to finalize project work plans and budgets; to approve year one work plans and budgets and to understand the United Nations Environment Programme and Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International financial rules governing the project execution.
It will also seek to understand monitoring and evaluation procedures and targets for the project, towards helping Barbados and other OECS countries manage and combat the adverse effects of IAS.
Prescod pledged that the Barbados government would continue to work tirelessly to reduce or eradicate the threat that IAS pose to the health of our people and ecosystems, and the persons whose livelihoods could be affected.

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