Saint Lucia National Conservation Fund- World Oceans Day 2021 - The Ocean- Life and Livelihoods.
The Saint Lucia National Conservation Fund (SLUNCF) joins the global community in commemorating World Oceans Day 2021- 'The Ocean - Life and Livelihoods' in recognition of the significance of marine resources to our economies, community life, and culture. This also brings to mind the United Nations declaration of 2021 - 2030 as the decade of Ecosystem Restoration, which is a global call to action to stem or reverse the progressive degradation of our ecosystems including our oceans, coastal areas and wetlands. There should be no hesitation in conceding that our economies and way of life are heavily dependent on the health and condition of the oceans and our marine resources in the context of food security, poverty reduction, biodiversity, natural resource sustainability, and climate change adaptation. According to the World Bank (2014) the value of the Ocean Economy is estimated to be well over US 400 billion dollars and which is projected to increase as Caribbean countries explore nouveaux socio-economic potentialities that are rooted in ocean wealth development and exploration.
Moreover, the concept and the reality of a blue-green economic model for the Caribbean has become more salient in both geopolitical and national policy development realms and to the extent that it has, makes the transition even more imperative for a region so dependent on tourism, fisheries, and maritime transport. There are a plethora of initiatives at the (extra)regional and national levels that begin to lay the foundation for an ocean-based economic transition that focus on ocean governance, marine spatial planning; valuation of marine and coastal resources, and climate change adaptation and mitigation and which also set us on a path to achieving the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda. At the same time, there must investment to support research and innovation for expansion into non-traditional blue-based economic activities including carbon sequestration, medicine, and high-value mariculture (marine generated) products. The SLUNCF is already contributing to the transition by supporting the national dialogue and planning and capacity building towards our own ocean wealth potential in Saint Lucia that will provide opportunities for sustainable lives and livelihoods for our citizens but also safeguard our rich and unique oceanic and marine resources. For Saint Lucia, it means supporting our fisherfolk and ecologically dependent coastal communities that align this entire nation; it means creating new opportunities for the young and not so young through sound training, retraining, and retooling; and nationally, it also means sustainable management and use of all our coastal and marine resources rooted in the realities of our own socio-economic conditions.
Craig Henry Officer-in-Charge
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