Nevis To Host OECS Meetings

The St. Kitts - Nevis National Flag

The St. Kitts – Nevis National Flag

Charlestown, Nevis
April 09, 2010

Plans are afoot for two meetings of the Organisation of East Caribbean States (OECS) Environmental and Sustainable Development Unit to be hosted in Nevis in October.

Minister responsible for Renewable Energy and the Environment on Nevis Hon. Carlisle Powell, told the Department of Information on Thursday, that his Ministry hosted the advance delegation from the OECS Secretariat based in St. Lucia who had been on the island to make preparatory arrangements for a meeting of the Technical Advisory Committee of the OECS Environment and Sustainable Development on October 12th and a Ministers of Environment meeting on the 13th.

Head of the Environment and Sustainable Development Unit in the OECS Secretariat Mr. Keith Nichols, accompanied by Administrative Assistant Ms. Josette Edwards, expressed gratitude that Nevis had agreed to host the annual meetings of member states.

He said the meetings have been regular features of the work on environment and sustainable development within the OECS region.

“We try as much as possible, to get our decision makers and our technical persons who are engaged in those related areas, to meet on an annual basis and discuss matters pertaining to energy, environmental management, sustainable oceans governance, disaster response and risk reduction , these are just a few of the areas in which we are working,” he said.

Biodiversity protection through various projects, Mr. Nichols said, would also be discussed along with a number of other issues relevant to the Region will be discussed at the Technical Advisory¬† Committee meeting. At the end of that meeting the Ministers will be informed of the Committee’s decisions.

The annual meeting provided an only opportunity for the Region to engage in discussions pertinent to environment and sustainable development and assisted with charting the way forward in those areas.

“We have to deal with on a regular basis, the threat of hurricanes and storms and now this severe drought, this time around of a type that we have not seen in many, many years in this part of the Region.

“The implications for all of this are key to our sustainability [and] our survival and these are some of the issues that will be up for discussion to help us determine what it is we need to do better and how we engage the resources both internal to the region and external, to advance those initiatives further,” he said.

With regard to development focus, Mr. Nichols said the Secretariat also had it sights set on development partners in and out of the region.

He explained that in recent times, the OECS Secretariat had engaged in a programme of developing relationships with the international community, with countries who had no past relations with the Secretariat.

“It’s a very aggressive programme at bringing on board other nations, many of whom have expressed a need to enter into diplomatic relations with the OECS Secretariat. We are doing that because we need to start looking further afield, as we see diminishing resources from our traditional supporters like Canada, the United States and United Kingdom.

“We need to start looking at other avenues that we could use to support our programming and we have been aggressively pursuing agreements with other countries. We are hoping of course, that this will provide concrete benefits for the work that we need to do within the Region,” he said.

According to Mr. Nichols, the long term expectation was that more of the countries and development partners would sit in on the Secretariat’s meetings. However, for the time being those directly related to the work on environment and sustainable development would be part of the annual meeting.

He said it was a traditional activity in which donors and development partners met with the Ministers during the meetings to matters related to how they advance the support provided by the donors to the OECS countries together.

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