Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 16, 2017 (SKNIS):  A national workshop currently underway in St. Kitts and Nevis is targeting middle and senior level government officials, policy makers and analysts, whose roles and responsibilities are linked to biodiversity and who are directly concerned with sustainable development planning at the national level.

The workshop, which run from May 16-18, will focus on "Mainstreaming the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Biodiversity Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs). The use of innovative integrated environment assessment tools and practical participating methods to demonstrate the relevance of biodiversity will also be introduced.

Sylvester Belle, Chief Conservation Officer – Department of Environment, explained that the workshop is to "provide some training for multilateral stakeholder agencies around St. Kitts and Nevis regarding biodiversity related Multilateral Environmental Agreements – the United Nations SDGs, and we can see the synergies among these various instruments in terms of advancing biodiversity protection in St. Kitts and Nevis".

Therese Yarde, Project Manager, CARICOM Secretariat, explained that the workshop will also focus on building "capacity in CARICOM for the implementation of international agreements dealing with the environment.

"So what we are doing this week is one in a series of workshops that we have done on this topic, which looks at the relationship between these environmental agreements and national development and also global sustainable development in the form of the SDGs," she said. "So we are building capacity to strengthen those relationships and to implement the agreement and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals more effectively."

The Honourable Eugene Hamilton, Minister with responsibility for Environment, said that St. Kitts and Nevis has updated its National Biodiversity Strategy and Action plan in pursuit of  fulfilling the federation's commitment within the framework of the 2014/2020 Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and the United Nation's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

"Our National Biodiversity and Strategy Action Plan is the principal instrument for implementation of the biodiversity related Multilateral Environmental Agreements," said Minister Hamilton. "Our 2014/2020 National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan places emphasis on mainstreaming biodiversity related issues into key thematic and sectoral areas  of social and economic development including poverty eradication, agriculture, environmental protection, land use and planning and infrastructure, water resource management, marine resources management and of course climate change adaptation."

The minister said that the workshop will broaden the participants' knowledge, as they will become more aware of the role of MEAs and the concept of synergies in achieving the country's national SDGs and targets.   Participants are also expected to be equipped with the tools that can guide them in terms of advancing the mainstreaming agenda for biodiversity.

The workshop is organized by CARICOM in collaboration with the Department of Environment and is funded by the European Union and the United Nations Environment.

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