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CASTRIES – The St Lucia government says it has started the finalisation of its National Ocean Policy that seeks to present an overarching vision, policy statement, and strategic outcomes for the marine and associated sectors.
A government statement said that the draft policy has been developed over the last year, and will be presented to stakeholders who have been engaged in its development for validation.
“It is envisaged that the final policy will be endorsed by the Cabinet of Ministers in the near future. The Marine Spatial Plan will establish a long term-plan for St Lucia’s Exclusive Economic Zone; this is the entire marine space that the government of St Lucia is responsible for managing under the United Nations Law of the Sea,” the statement noted.
It said that the Coastal Masterplan will articulate actions to be conducted within the coastal region of St Lucia, the area that is found immediately around the island and where most marine related activity currently occurs.
Sustainable Development Minister, Dr Gale T.C. Rigobert said the ocean holds many opportunities for island states like St Lucia, and there are many benefits to having forward-thinking plans in order to best able to capitalise on available opportunities.
The development of the National Ocean Policy, the coastal masterplan and marine spatial plans, have been initiated by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission as part of the four-year (2017-2021) Caribbean Regional Oceanscape Project, a Global Environment Facility funded project endorsed by the Council of Ministers for Environmental Sustainability in 2015.
This initiative supports the delivery and implementation of the Eastern Caribbean Regional Ocean Policy (ECROP), which itself guides the sustainable use and management of the region’s marine resources.
The plans are key components of the ECROP dedicated to the promotion of the blue economy in the Caribbean. The blue economy encourages the sustainable use of the ocean’s resources to maintain ecosystem health, promote economic growth, and improve local livelihoods and job opportunities. (CMC)