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Fund set up to conserve and protect the local environment

Fund set up to conserve and protect the local environment
Left to Right: Michael John, chairman of the fund’s board of directors , LUKE BROWNE, Minister of Health, Saboto Caesar, Minister of Agriculture

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This country now has a fund that will provide grants to eligible agencies and entities for projects geared toward conserving and protecting the environment.

The St Vincent and the Grenadines Conservation Fund (SVGCF) held its official launch last week Tuesday at the Paradise Beach Hotel in Villa.

And chairman of the fund’s board of directors, Michael John said that it has four main goals: to protect and enhance ecosystems, to strengthen the governance and effective management of protected areas, create responsible communities and create sustainable livelihoods.

“Our mission [is to] to source and provide funding to support the activities that contribute substantially to the conservation, protection, maintenance of biodiversity in St Vincent and the Grenadines,” John said at the launch.

“In keeping with our mission, the fund will administer a grant making programme with funds to support priority areas of conservation in St Vincent and the Grenadines specifically to those projects that are dedicated to sustainable use of resources, protection and maintenance of biological and also to provide funding in the rich, natural resources.”
The chairman added that as a small island state, SVG depends on biodiversity for economic and social development. He further said that the fund provides for key resources that are needed to help development in this area.

Luke Browne, who is the minister with responsibility for the environment, highlighted the ways in which government has been moving towards enhancing sustainable development and conserving the environment.

He said that the threat of pollution is reflected in the government’s actions to ban styrofoam in this country.

And the environment minister said that discussions are taking place regarding the restriction of plastics, particularly single use plastics.

Browne further said that the goals of the fund align with those of the government and he looks forward to future partnerships between the two.

“I think that the fact you can elaborate these particular goals and the fact that they compare or they mesh with the goals of the government so well, it means that this fund is a natural part of the state in that bid or push for sustainable development and the attainment of critical national goals and I wanted to give a sense of the situation as far as some of these goals are concerned,” he said.

Agriculture minister Saboto Caesar also added his voice to the line up of speakers at the event. He added that the current and past governments have done excellent work in conservation and preservation in this country.

Caesar spoke about what his ministry has been doing to help in the cause and he made reference to the recent ban on all glyphosate products like Round Up and Touchdown coming into the country.
He also said that the ministry was looking to end aerial spraying of crops like banana and plantain in 2019 because “we cannot have a spray plane with all the concerns of health and other issues, covering the whole country with those chemicals”.

Chief executive officer of the SVGCF, Vanburn Harry, chief executive officer of the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund, Yabanex Batista, and finance minister, Camillo Gonsalves also delivered brief remarks at last week’s launch.

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