Sixth National Report
Section I. Information on the targets being pursued at the national level
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has adopted national biodiversity targets but chooses to report using the Aichi Biodiversity Targets for reference.
Section II. Implementation measures, their effectiveness, and associated obstacles and scientific and technical needs to achieve national targets
6NR Executive Summary
This sixth national report (6NR) has been prepared in fulfillment of St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ obligations as a Party to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and is a description and assessment of the country’s implementation of the CBD and the global Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020.
Parties’ 6NRs to the CBD are of particular significance, as they will inform the final review of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and the development of a new post-2020 international biodiversity framework.
The 6NR was prepared using a participatory process that engaged and involved over 40 organizations, including government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), and the private sector.
Some of St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ biodiversity success stories are:
- Mainstreaming biodiversity values into national development strategy via the National Economic and Social Development Plan 2013-2025 (NESDP);
- Drafting of new policies to support the sustainable management and use of ocean biodiversity and living marine resources;
- The establishment and operation of innovative new funding mechanisms for biodiversity conservation and management, such as the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Preservation Fund (SVGPF);
- The ongoing restoration of Ashton Lagoon, the country’s largest remaining mangrove ecosystem and a globally recognized key biodiversity area (KBA).
Areas that require additional resources, capacity, and attention include:
- Integrating biodiversity and ecosystem-based approaches into national climate change adaptation and resilience strategies;
- Taking action to reduce deforestation and enhance climate-change mitigation via land-use, land-use change and forestry activities;
- Managing and controlling introduced and invasive species and their ecological and economic impacts, including impacts on agriculture;
- Improving the availability, sharing, and application of scientific data and promoting science-based decision making;
- Implementing biodiversity-friendly incentives/subsidies and reforming/removing biodiversity-harmful incentive/subsidies, with consideration of how incentive reform could increase financing for biodiversity.
Further findings are summarized in the attached 6NR synopsis table. St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ progress is evaluated with reference to the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets (ABTs). In the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, these Targets are clustered under five strategic goals:
A. Address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society;
B. Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use;
C. Improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity;
D. Enhance the benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystem services;
E. Enhance implementation through participatory planning, knowledge management and capacity-building.
In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the greatest degree of progress has been observed towards Strategic Goal A, addressing the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society. The highlight in this regard is the extensive incorporation of biodiversity-related objectives in the NESDP and other national polices (some of which are still in draft). The NESDP includes objectives relevant to 15 of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, indicating policy recognition of the value of biodiversity for St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ sustainable development. The inclusion of biodiversity values in the NESDP provides a basis for mobilizing and leveraging resources to support initiatives for biodiversity conservation, management, and sustainable use.
Least progress has been made in relation to Strategic Goal E, enhancing implementation through participatory planning, knowledge management, and capacity-building. This goal relates to the institutional frameworks for biodiversity management, and the lack of progress in this area reflects the technical and institutional capacity challenges that characterize small island developing states such as St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Actions in relation to Strategic Goal E (particularly in the areas of sustainable financing and knowledge management) are likely to have substantial knock-on effects for progress toward the other four strategic goals.
Measures related to Aichi Biodiversity Target 1: Awareness increased
ABT 1 corresponds to the first target in St. Vincent and the Grenadines' provisional NBSAP:
By 2020, at least 50% of the population of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is knowledgeable about the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably.
The actions in the NBSAP related to this target are:
- Harmonizing the educational and public awareness programmes of various agencies to focus on this national target; and
- Conducting a national knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions (KAP) survey before the launch of the educational programme and near the end of the plan period to evaluate the extent to which the target has been met.
Neither of these actions has yet been implemented.
As part of the NBSAP process a national biodiversity awareness campaign was implemented, with the theme "I am Biodiversity". Activities and outputs of this campaign included a biodiversity expo, a photo competition, newspaper articles on biodiversity, an iAmBiodiversity Facebook page, and the distribution of posters, pamphlets and other information materials. This campaign was executed over the period 2014-2015. The I Am Biodiversity Campaign was spearheaded by the Ministry of Health, Environment and Wellness.
Another major national project-based awareness campaign was carried out under the Eastern Caribbean Marine Managed Areas Network (ECMANN) project. Key products of this campaign included a song and music video calling for stewardship of St. Vincent and the Grenadines' natural environment, and a mural in central Kingstown, the nation’s capital, highlighting the beauty and value of marine biodiversity.
(Photo credit: Stina Herberg)
In addition to these project-based initiatives, several key biodiversity stakeholders engage in routine activities intended to raise awareness about biodiversity and to promote its conservation and sustainable use. In particular, there has been a notable effort by government agencies to reach audiences via social media. The Forestry Department, Fisheries Division, National Parks, Rivers and Beaches Authority, St. Vincent Botanical Gardens, and Ministry of Agriculture all maintain Facebook pages where messages on biodiversity are incorporated and transmitted. National Parks also maintains a Twitter page and the Fisheries Division has opened an Instagram account.
NGOs such as the Richmond Vale Academy and Sustainable Grenadines are also active in biodiversity awareness-raising and education via social media, print media, outreach to churches and community groups, and activities in primary and secondary schools. Some illustrative examples of communications, education, and public awareness (CEPA) activities implemented by biodiversity stakeholders in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are described below.
National Parks, Rivers and Beaches Authority
The National Parks, Rivers and Beaches Authority has made a concerted effort to deliver education and awareness-raising activities for youth. These have included summer camp activities, field trips, tree planting exercises, beach clean-ups, biodiversity exhibitions, and presentations to schools.
One of the Authority's flagship programmes in this regard is the South Coast Marine Conservation Area (SCMCA) Reef Guardians Schools Pilot Project, which was officially launched in December 2016. The Project, which is funded by the Government of Australia through its Direct Aid Program, targets schools in the SCMCA with the intention of providing nature-based environmental education experiences that are firmly rooted in local coastal environments, thus fostering a new generation of environmentally-minded students.
In March 2017, the Authority launched a monthly newsletter, available on the Authority's website, which provides information about important ecosystems, habitats, and species in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as about action being taken by the Authority and its partners to conserve and sustainably manage biodiversity.
The Forestry Department also engages in awareness-raising activities targeted specifically at young people, by presentations at schools, organizing field visits to forests, and a summer programme that specifically targets young people in rural communities close to forested areas.
The Forestry Department organizes an annual week of activities known as Forest Focus. Each year's Forest Focus week is based around a theme that is either linked to the theme for International Day of Forests or that is specifically chosen to resonate in the national context. Forest Focus raises awareness about the value of the forests and the public's role in forest management.
The Fisheries Division focuses its awareness-raising on fisherfolk and fishing communities. Fisherman's Day is celebrated annually, and the Fisheries Division arranges a corresponding month of fisheries-related activities, centred around slogans and themes related to conservation and sustainable fisheries. The Division's Public Education Unit does outreach to schools, including via career day events. The Division also organizes a summer programme for youth from fishing communities and fisherfolk's families.
Science Initiative for Environmental Conservation and Education
The Science Initiative for Environmental Conservation and Education (SCIENCE) is currently implementing a variety of biodiversity education programmes, with a particular emphasis on education about the birdlife of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. SCIENCE’s activities include the Junior Birders Programme, the Junior SCIENCEist programme, and the National Avian Education Programme (see case study 1 below). In the past five years, over 500 students between the ages of 6 to 14, as well as 25 primary and secondary school teachers, have participated in SCIENCE's biodiversity education activities.
6NR Communications Strategy
A communications strategy (see Annex IV) has been developed to accompany the 6NR. The strategy contains actions which could be adapted and expanded to form the basis of a broader national (inter-agency and cross-sectoral) biodiversity communications strategy.
The measures taken have been assessed as partially effective. Effectiveness was assessed using the following indicators:
- Existence of a national biodiversity communications strategy
- Number of biodiversity-related CEPA activities
- Number of participants in biodiversity-related CEPA activities
- Has a national KAP survey been carried out?
- (Trends in) % of Vincentians who are knowledgeable about the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably
There is currently no national strategy or similar plan that would harmonize biodiversity-related CEPA actions and messaging by stakeholders. However, government agencies do engage in some informal cooperation and collaboration on public awareness activities related to days of international significance, e.g. World Environment Day and International Day for Biological Diversity.
Records of CEPA activities, including details of topics covered, key messages, and numbers of participants/people reached are not well-managed. It is evident from newspaper reports, websites, social media accounts, and interviews with stakeholders that numerous activities are being carried out, but there is a shortage of systematic quantitative data about their frequency and reach/impact.
KAP surveys have not been carried out, and therefore there is no objective information available about levels of knowledge and whether/how they are changing. In interviews with biodiversity practitioners in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, there was a general consensus that the level of awareness about biodiversity has increased over the past decade, particularly among youth. However, most of those interviewed were of the opinion that awareness-raising has not resulted in a significant commensurate shift towards more biodiversity-friendly behaviour.
Case study 1: The National Avian Education Programme
The National Avian Education Programme (NAEP) is implemented by the non-profit organization Science Initiative for Environmental Conservation and Education (SCIENCE), with funding support from the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Preservation Fund (SVGPF). The NAEP’s special focus is on seabirds, in particular the seabirds that inhabit and utilize the many islets and cays of the Grenadines. The NAEP aims to:
- educate students and the general public on bird conservation;
- educate fishermen on the importance of seabirds in order to reduce illegal harvesting of seabirds and their eggs;
- conduct research/data collection on the birds of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Activities undertaken under the NAEP include school presentations, birdwatching exercises, community outreach, radio discussions, and a summer programme for students held under the theme “There’s Science in Everything”. As part of the NAEP, a two-day workshop was held in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, aimed at introducing educators to the BirdSleuth curriculum developed by BirdsCaribbean and promoting the use of the curriculum in schools. SCIENCE also offers free community birding tours to raise awareness about the value of St. Vincent and the Grenadines' birdlife.
A complementary activity to the NAEP is a bird conservation project also funded by the SVGPF and implemented by SCIENCE. This project involves outreach to fisherfolk in St. Vincent and the Grenadines who harvest seabirds and their eggs, particularly on outcrop islets in the Grenadines. The project aims to produce behaviour change by educating fishers about the value of birds and why they should conserve them.
Case study 2: Environment Online Treelympics
In 2014 and 2015 the Richmond Vale Academy, Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment, and Ministry of Education partnered to organize national involvement in the Environment Online Treelympics. The Treelympics was a global school-based movement that aimed to plant 100 million trees between 2014 and 2017. In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, tree-planting exercises were accompanied by lessons for primary and secondary school children about trees and the need for environmental conservation.
In two years, the programme reached 90% of schools in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Over 6,000 students and teachers were exposed to awareness-raising and education about the value of trees and forests, and over 3,500 trees were planted. In both years, St. Vincent and the Grenadines was recognized as the most active Treelympics country, i.e. the country with the highest proportion of participating schools.
A major obstacle related to CEPA measures is the lack of data with which to assess baseline awareness and knowledge of biodiversity and therefore to design effective communications campaigns in order to address specific areas where there is a low level of awareness. There is also a lack of data with which to assess the number, reach, and impact of CEPA activities.
There is a need for more consistent biodiversity messaging via television, radio, and internet. Although several organizations have made an effort to deliver biodiversity messaging via social media, audiences are small (most of the government agencies with Facebook pages have fewer than 1,000 followers) and the levels of engagement are low. Reliable and sustainable funding for awareness-raising is necessary to increase the reach and impact of biodiversity messaging.
Support and assistance are needed to:
- carry out biodiversity-oriented KAP surveys, as outlined in the NBSAP;
- develop informative and persuasive messaging for key target audiences, including high-level decision makers, users of biodiversity resources, and the poor and vulnerable;
- develop a national biodiversity communications strategy for collaborative implementation by governmental and non-governmental (NGOs and private sector) stakeholders;
- develop a cohesive national biodiversity education curriculum for use in schools;
- develop a digital biodiversity education kit containing biodiversity messages that are simple and palatable for young people but also appealing for older persons;
- provide training in digital and social media strategy (e.g. website management, social search engine marketing, and digital advertising) for communications officers in government agencies and NGOs;
- provide training for reporters and journalists in environmental journalism with an emphasis on biodiversity;
- produce video content (e.g. a series of 15-minute features on aspects of St. Vincent and the Grenadines' biodiversity) for broadcast via television, YouTube. and social media platforms.
There is also a need to improve data collection on CEPA, via standardized approaches to keep track of information such as:
- number of activities;
- implementing organization(s);
- location(s) of activities;
- number of participants;
- age and gender of participants
- participants' feedback on activities;
- social media metrics such as views (e.g. website and YouTube), engagement (reactions and comments), and shares.
Recording such information can help to understand which groups are being reached by CEPA activities, which groups may be being overlooked and require more targeted attention, and how activities are being received by the target audiences.
Measures related to Aichi Biodiversity Target 2: Biodiversity values integrated
There is no target corresponding to ABT 2 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines' provisional NBSAP. Nonetheless, some actions have been taken to integrate biodiversity considerations into national policies and to assess the values of biodiversity to economic sectors.
Integration of Biodiversity Values in the National Economic and Social Development Plan (NESDP) 2013 - 2025
The NESDP was adopted as a national policy document in 2013. It provides the overarching development planning and policy framework for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, outlining the country's long-term strategies for national development, and offering a vision for improving the quality of life for all Vincentians. The NESDP places an emphasis on the sustainable use of natural resources, including land, water, flora, and fauna, that are used to maintain livelihoods.
The NESDP defines 5 overarching strategic national goals. Under these goals are a total of 38 strategic objectives and 218 strategic interventions. Of these, 35 objectives/interventions align directly with ABTs. The NESDP also establishes strategic sectoral goals, including in the areas of Agriculture and Fisheries, Environmental Sustainability and Solid Waste Management, Land Use Planning, and Water. In these areas as well, the strategic objectives and interventions are aligned with the ABTs.
The correspondence between the ABTs and the goals, objectives, and interventions in the NESDP is summarized in the following document: Correspondence between Aichi Biodiversity Targets and St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ National Economic and Social Development Plan 2013 - 2025.pdf
In total, the NESDP 2013 - 2025 aligns with 15 of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets: Targets 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,8, 10, 11, 14, 15, 17, 18, and 19.
National Ocean Policy (NOP) and Strategic Plan
St. Vincent and the Grenadines' National Ocean Policy (NOP) and accompanying Strategic Plan, which were adopted in 2018, incorporates biodiversity values in its approach to the management of marine resources and ocean activities. The NOP's vision is "to maintain healthy and richly biodiverse oceans by securing, enforcing, and sustainably managing the space in an integrated way so as to promote social, cultural, and economic development".
The NOP contains ten guiding policies and 21 related goals. Of these goals, nine can be directly correlated to the ABTs. The Strategic Plan contains 11 strategic objectives and 62 related strategic actions. Of these, at least 32 objectives and actions can be correlated to ABTs, as summarized inthe following document: Correspondence between Aichi Biodiversity Targets and St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ National Ocean Policy and Strategic Plan.pdf.
The NOP and Strategic Plan integrate the principles of 15 of the Aichi Biodiversity targets, including two targets not addressed by the NESDP: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19.
Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy and Action Plan on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing
In 2018, a revised Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy was produced, as was an Action Plan on Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing. The contents of these documents are discussed in greater detail under the measures related to ABT 6. In addition to integrating the objectives of ABT 6, the IUU Fishing Action Plan and the Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy also incorporate the principles of ABTs 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 11, 15, 18, and 19.
Statement of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
The value of biodiversity is reflected in St. Vincent and the Grenadines' Statement of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The NDC, which was submitted in November 2015, recognizes that the loss and degradation of ecosystems, including forests, sand dunes, mangroves, and coral reefs, are exacerbating the impacts of climate change in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Reforestation, afforestation, reduced deforestation, and reduced forest degradation are identified as significant components of the national approach to climate change mitigation. Biodiversity-related adaptation strategies outlined in the NDC include promoting organic agriculture and good agricultural practices, and the restoration of coral reefs and coastal ecosystems.
National Parks and Protected Areas System Plan 2010-2014
The National Parks and Protected Areas System Plan and Policy is still informally in effect, despite its original plan duration having expired. The goal of the National Parks and Protected Area System Plan and Policy is to establish and manage a national protected areas system that will provide for the sustainability of biodiversity and other ecosystems services and support socio-economic growth and sustainable development. The goals and objectives of the Plan and Policy are aligned with nine ABTs: 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 14, 19, and 20.
Natural Resources Valuation and Accounting
An economic valuation of the services provided by coastal and marine ecosystems in St. Vincent and the Grenadines was carried out in 2012 (see case study 3 below). The results of the valuation study have resulted in some improvements in the management of coastal resources.
In the NESDP, the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has identified the economic valuation of natural resources and natural resources accounting as key strategic actions for conservation and effective use of the country's natural resources.
The measures taken have been assessed as partially effective. Effectiveness was evaluated using the following indicators:
- Number of post-2011 national development/sectoral plans/policies that explicitly incorporate biodiversity values and considerations;
- Number/% of ABTs reflected in these plans/policies;
- Extent to which these plans/policies have been implemented;
- Extent to which economic values of ecosystems and ecosystems services have been assessed;
- Extent to which the values of ecosystems and ecosystem services have been integrated into national accounting and planning (including economic planning and resource management planning).
It is significant that the NESDP, which is an overarching national long-term strategic planning document for the country, specifically makes reference to the importance of protecting, conserving, restoring and sustainably using the country's biodiversity and ecosystems. In addition to the NESDP, sectoral plans in the areas of oceans governance, climate change, protected areas, and fisheries and aquaculture also incorporate biodiversity values and considerations.
However, there are a number of policy gaps yet to be addressed, in particular the absence of up-to-date biodiversity-sensitive policies/strategic plans for sustainable agriculture, disaster management and risk reduction, forestry, land use planning and physical development, tourism, and water resources management.
Of the 20 ABTs, 15 (75%) are integrated into the NESDP. Notable omissions are Targets 9 on invasive alien species, 12 on preventing extinction, 13 on maintaining genetic diversity, 16 on the Nagoya Protocol, and 20 on sustainable financing for biodiversity. Three of these are addressed in other sectoral plans reviewed—in total 18 (90%) of the ABTs have been integrated into national/sectoral policy and planning. ABTs on genetic diversity and sustainable financing for biodiversity are not well integrated into national/sectoral policy.
Some of the plans/policies described here have only recently been adopted as national policy documents, and it is too soon to attempt to assess the extent and effectiveness of their implementation. In the cases of other plans and strategies, the absence of a robust programme of monitoring, evaluation, and reporting hampers evaluation of their effectiveness. Interviews with national experts in the relevant sectors indicate that some progress has been made in implementation, but not sufficient to deem the measures fully effective.
Economic valuations of ecosystem services in St. Vincent and the Grenadines have been limited to valuations of coastal and marine ecosystems, with specific attention being given to tourism-related values. Insufficient attention has been given to terrestrial ecosystems and other types of ecosystems services (water supply, food production, climate change resilience, etc.).
No action has yet been taken to integrate the value of ecosystems and ecosystem services into national accounting and economic planning. Some limited action (see case study 3) has been taken to implement resource management actions based on the results of valuation studies.
Case study 3: valuation of coastal and marine ecosystem services
In 2012, the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines commissioned a national-level Economic Valuation Study of the environmental services provided by marine habitats in St Vincent and the Grenadines. This valuation study included estimates of the benefits that could be attained from different policy interventions used to improve marine protected areas (MPAs). Based on this analysis, it was predicted that stopping land-based pollution on the South coast of St. Vincent would generate the greatest ecosystem services benefits (EC$279,000 /yr).
The study also estimated the economic benefits associated with controlling sewage, preventing sand mining, protecting against damage to coral, and introducing no-take fishing zones. In the Tobago Cays, it was predicted that the stopping of overfishing would result in the highest economic benefit (EC$21,000 /yr). Across all MPAs in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the highest value benefits are associated with stopping sand mining and coral extraction (EC$1,571,000 /yr) and stopping over-fishing (EC$905,000 /yr).
Subsequent to this valuation, measures have been taken to regulate beach sand mining in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, including prohibitions on mining at certain beaches and steps towards formulating a comprehensive sand-mining policy.
Obstacles related to ABT 2 measures include:
- The lack of national biodiversity-sensitive strategies for key economic sectors, such as agriculture, disaster management and risk reduction, forestry, land use planning and physical development, tourism, and water resources management;
- Inadequacy of monitoring, evaluation, and reporting regimes to evaluate whether the integration of biodiversity into existing national strategies is effective in practice;
- The few ecosystems valuations studies that have been completed are limited in the ecosystems and services that they cover, and have not produced clear policy-relevant recommendations;
- Inadequate awareness about and capacity for implementing national resource accounting and systems of environmental-economic accounting.
In order to overcome some of these obstacles, St. Vincent and the Grenadines requires support to:
- develop and implement a monitoring, evaluation, and reporting framework for the NESDP, provisional NBSAP, and other sectoral plans, strategies and polices;
- develop/update national sectoral policies that integrate the value of biodiversity and ecosystems services;
- improve awareness and develop capacity of biodiversity practitioners and economic planners in the areas of natural resource valuation, natural capital accounting, and increase awareness of how these practices can inform policy development and implementation;
- build capacity of public sector biodiversity practitioners to develop sound and convincing messages for high-level policy and decision makers on the values of biodiversity and ecosystem services;
- carry out policy-relevant assessments of the values of key terrestrial ecosystems and the services that they provide;
- develop geo-spatial data on the values of ecosystems and ecosystems services;
- develop and implement a national environmental statistics system to reliably compile a core set of environment statistics, in keeping with the guidance of the United Nations Statistics Division, as a basis for environmental-economic accounting.
Measures related to Aichi Biodiversity Target 3: Incentives reformed
Policy recognition of the need for incentive reform
There has been some recognition in recent policies of the need to develop incentives that encourage the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and to phase out incentives that have harmful effects on biodiversity. Strategic actions outlined in the NESDP, for example, include:
- establishing incentive regimes to encourage compliance with land use policy;
- providing incentives to the protection and restoration of natural resources;
- developing fiscal and other policy incentives to encourage environmentally sustainable imports and the use of local products with degradable content.
The NOP calls for limiting the introduction of new subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, and for refraining from extending or enhancing existing subsidies of that kind.
The Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy states that consideration will be given to providing incentives to encourage conservation of natural resources and specifically indicates that action will be taken to:
- provide incentives and training to encourage uptake of new, more energy efficient and environmentally friendly technology and exploitation of new and under-utilized species;
- examine fiscal incentives in terms of sustainable fishing practices and energy efficiency (“green” subsidies);
- identify, reduce, and ultimately eliminate the economic incentives derived from IUU fishing at the national, regional, and global levels.
Overall, the incentive measures outlined in these policies have yet to be implemented.
There are systems of incentives, subsidies and concessions in place that are designed to enhance productivity and growth of economic sectors, such as agriculture and fisheries, that are directly reliant on biodiversity. For example, farmers and fishers are eligible for duty-free concessions and subsidies on materials, vehicles, and equipment related to their work. The price of local timber is subsidized to encourage its local purchase. The NESDP proposes the implementation of additional incentive programmes to increase productivity, particularly in the field of agriculture.
In the fisheries sector, the Fleet Expansion Programme incentivizes fishers to upgrade their boats with better technology so they can fish further at sea for longer periods and target higher value species such as tuna. In addition to enhancing fishers' livelihoods, this programme also seeks to diversify the sector and to reduce pressure on heavily-fished nearshore resources. In this sense, it could be considered an incentive programme designed, in part, to bring about a biodiversity-positive effect in the fishing sector. However, the Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy indicates that there has been poor uptake of the support available under the Fleet Expansion Programme, and there is little data to indicate the extent to which it has been beneficial for the sustainable management of marine living resources.
Stakeholders in the agriculture sector have indicated that since the decline of the banana industry, farmers do not receive the same level of subsidies and concessions on inputs and equipment that they used to, and that this has resulted in a reduction in the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Stakeholders report that this has had an observably positive impact on biodiversity on farms and in adjacent forested areas. Consequently, they have cited this as an example of an adjustment to the agricultural incentive regime which, although arising from economic rather than environmental considerations ,has had unanticipated biodiversity benefits.
Despite these individual examples, there has not yet been a systematic approach to identifying and reforming incentives harmful to biodiversity, nor to creating positive incentives to promote conservation and sustainable use.
The effectiveness of measures taken in relation to this target has been assessed as unknown. Indicators relevant to these measures are:
- Has there been assessment of systems of subsidies and incentives and their impacts on conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity?
- Number, value, and impact of biodiversity-positive incentives introduced or expanded;
- Number, value, and impact of biodiversity-negative incentives that have been removed or reformed.
There has been no systematic assessment of incentives programmes and their impacts, whether positive or negative, relative to biodiversity.
Informants in the Ministry of Finance have indicated that biodiversity impacts are not currently used as a criterion for the introduction or adjustment of incentives, subsidies, and concessions. They have also indicated that there have been no proposals for new incentives or incentives reform principally on the basis of biodiversity impacts. It is possible that changes made to the incentive regime for other reasons have nonetheless had either positive or negative impacts on biodiversity, but information is not available to allow for assessment in this regard.
A key obstacle related to ABT 3 is that incentives and subsidies are largely designed to promote growth of target economic sectors, rather than to promote conservation of natural resources, or to include biodiversity safeguards.
In order to improve effectiveness of measures related to ABT 3, St. Vincent and the Grenadines needs, inter alia:
- guidance materials, including examples of best practices in small island developing states, on the development and implementation of biodiversity-positive incentives;
- technical support to identify incentives and subsidies that have perverse impacts, including assessment of the full economic, social, and environmental costs of such incentives and subsidies;
- technical support to identify and assess the opportunities and constraints to removing, reforming or phasing out harmful incentives;
- support to formulate biodiversity-positive incentive programmes in key economic sectors (agriculture, tourism, fisheries), in keeping with the NESDP, NOP, and Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy;
- technical guidance to incorporate the value of biodiversity as an asset, as well as risks to biodiversity, in country risk profiles for insurance and disaster risk reduction purposes;
- guidance on how to build environmental safeguards into the design and implementation of fiscal policy;
- guidance and examples of best practice on incentivizing and promoting corporate social responsibility;
- capacity-development to enable effective implementation of Strategic Environmental Assessment, to help ensure that biodiversity and other environmental considerations are adequately taken into account in national planning and policy-making.
Stakeholders also expressed the view that measures taken with respect to incentives should be supported by action related to disincentives, i.e. the development of an actively enforced framework of fines and penalties for biodiversity-harmful actions and behaviour, with the proceeds being applied directly to biodiversity conservation.
Measures related to Aichi Biodiversity Target 4: Sustainable consumption and production
There is no target corresponding to ABT 4 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines' provisional NBSAP. Measures related to sustainable production in the fisheries, agriculture, and forestry sectors are described in the section related to ABTs 6 and 7 respectively.
Promoting sustainable consumption for food and nutrition security
In relation to sustainable consumption, significant action is being taken to encourage Vincentian consumers to consume local foods, with a focus on safety, wholesomeness, and nutritional value. Related strategic actions are outlined in the NESDP under the objectives of increasing market access for agriculture produce and sustainable national food and nutrition security. Promoting the consumption of local foods not only supports local farmers and encourages diversification of the agriculture sector, it also contributes to reducing St. Vincent and the Grenadines' food import bill, food miles, and ecological footprint.
As part of an overall national programme to promote the consumption of healthy and nutritional local foods, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry and Labour has established a nutritional unit and has developed awareness-raising campaigns to positively influence consumer choices in relation to nutrition and diversity of diet. The Ministry is developing platforms to present consumers with local alternatives to imported vegetables and legumes.
The Ministries responsible for Agriculture, Health, and Education are collaborating to transform the national school meals programme in line with the goal of promoting healthy diets based on local foods. A pilot programme has been launched, and new nutritionally-balanced school meals menus have been developed, with an emphasis on locally produced items. Community-based agricultural cooperatives in the vicinity of participating schools have been engaged to supply produce for the school meals. The Ministries responsible for Agriculture and Health are also cooperating to update the national food-based dietary guidelines, and it is anticipated that this will lay the groundwork for a national "buy local, eat local" campaign.
Measures taken have been assessed as partially effective. Indicators for assessing the effectiveness of these measures are:
- The extent to which efforts have been made to keep resource use in key economic sectors (agriculture, fisheries, tourism) within safe ecological limits;
- Trends in ecological footprint;
- Trends in quantities of staple food imports.
Information is unavailable about national policies or definitions relating to safe ecological limits/limits of sustainability in the agriculture sector. As described in the section related to sustainable management of living marine resources, the Fisheries Division is beginning to take steps to assess the limits and sustainability of the fisheries sector, however relevant data is not yet available. In the tourism sector, limits have been established for the carrying capacity of ecotourism sites and the nature of activities permissible at these sites, but there has not been sufficient monitoring to be able to determine whether these limits have successfully protected the sites' ecological integrity.
There is no data available (e.g. through the Biodiversity Indicators Partnership dashboard) on trends in St. Vincent and the Grenadines' ecological footprint.
A 2015 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) indicates that the main staple food imports in Caribbean Community countries are maize, rice, and wheat. Over the period 2012 to 2016, St. Vincent and the Grenadines' imports of maize increased in quantity by 16%, but imports of rice and wheat declined in quantity by 77% and 27% respectively (see charts below; note that the increase in imports in 2014 is attributable to the occurrence of catastrophic severe weather at the end of 2013, which had acute effects on the agriculture sector).
Overall, imports of these three staples decreased by 29%, from 49,425 tonnes to 35,002 tonnes. Over the same period, the rate of undernourishment has declined steadily from 6.8% to 5.7%. This suggests that actions to encourage sustainable food consumption based on nutritious local foods have achieved some measure of success.
The main obstacles to effectiveness of measures to achieve sustainable production relate to the lack of national definitions of, criteria/indicators for, and assessments of ecological sustainability in the major productive sectors. To overcome these obstacles, St. Vincent and the Grenadines requires:
- technical support to help identify and map key areas (terrestrial and marine) for sustainable agriculture, fisheries, and tourism;
- definitions of safe ecological limits for these key sectors and key productive areas;
- technical support to develop criteria and indicators for assessing sustainable production in key sectors.
In relation to improving the effectiveness of the measures being taken with respect to sustainable consumption as it related to food and nutrition security, additional progress could be made with the benefit of:
- guidance and technical support to develop appealing and effective messaging for consumers on sustainable food consumption choices;
- exchange of best practices with other countries in the Caribbean re the promotion of sustainable food consumption, including (as per the NESDP) strengthening linkages between the agriculture and tourism sectors.
Measures related to Aichi Target 5: Habitat loss halved or reduced
ABT 5 corresponds to the second target in St. Vincent and the Grenadines' provisional NBSAP:
By 2020, St. Vincent and the Grenadines would have completed studies to quantitatively establish the state of all natural habitats, and the rate of habitat loss, including forest, and and would have developed and [be] in the process [of implementing] a strategy to reduce the rate of habitat loss.
The actions in the NBSAP related to this target are:
- Design and implement a baseline study on habitats;
- Develop and implement the strategy and specific activities for reducing habitat loss; and
- Operationalize and maintain a biodiversity clearing-house mechanism.
No action has yet been taken to comprehensively establish the state of St. Vincent and the Grenadines' natural habitats, nor to operationalize a national biodiversity clearing-house mechanism. Although there is no overarching national strategy for reducing habitat loss and degradation, some measures have been implemented to achieve this objective. These are described in the sections of this report related to ABTs 11, 14, and 15, and in case study 4 below.
The effectiveness of measures taken in relation to this target has been assessed as unknown. Indicators used to assess effectiveness of measures towards this target are:
Have natural habitats, including forests, been identified, assessed, and spatially mapped, as a baseline for monitoring trends in habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation?
Have major drivers of habitat loss been documented, assessed, and spatially mapped?
The rate of loss of habitats, including forests.
There has been no action to comprehensively identify, assess, and map natural habitats in St. Vincent and the Grenadines as a basis for subsequent monitoring. There has not been a national forest inventory since 1993. However, the Forestry Department has identified and mapped the locations and extent of deforested areas within the St. Vincent forest reserve.
In 2015, The Nature Conservancy surveyed and mapped benthic habits across St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
There have been some assessments of coral reef habitats, but these have been sporadic and limited in coverage. Information is not available about the status (including trends in habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation) of other habitats.
Published documents, including the Fifth National Report and the NDC, indicate that causes of habitat loss include squatting, poor agricultural techniques, poorly planned physical development, pollution, and illegal clearance of land for agriculture, charcoal and fuelwood. However, the information sources used in these reports are often over a decade old, and assessments of habitat loss and drivers are descriptive and sometimes even speculative, rather than quantitative and verifiable.
There are no data available with which to conclusively determine trends in the rate of loss of habitats.
Case study 4: Medicinal Cannabis Industry Act
In December 2018, St. Vincent and the Grenadines passed the Medicinal Cannabis Industry Act, which legalizes the cultivation of marijuana for medicinal and research purposes. The Act allows for licensed and regulated cultivation of marijuana, including special provisions for traditional cultivators. There are also provisions for licence fees to be used for reforestation of lands previously used for illicit marijuana cultivation. Biodiversity stakeholders are optimistic that this new regulatory dispensation will reduce the rate of deforestation associated with marijuana cultivation.
The greatest obstacle with relation to ABT 5 is the continued absence of reliable quantitative and spatial information about natural habitats in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Namely: what are the major habitats? what is their condition and areas? what are the current rates of habitat loss? what are the causes of habitat loss? which areas are being most affected?
The absence of relevant data makes it difficult to develop effective strategies to reduce habitat loss and fragmentation, and makes it impossible to measures progress towards the target. It also affects St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ ability to assess its contribution to climate change mitigation under the UNFCCC Paris Agreement: the lack of good quality forest data hampers the ability to implement and quantify mitigation actions that are based on developing forest-based greenhouse gas sinks.
This being the case, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is in pressing need of technical and scientific assistance to:
- identify, delineate, and digitally map natural habitats including, but not limited to, forests, coral reefs, mangroves and other wetlands, seagrass beds, key biodiversity areas (e.g. important bird areas);
- evaluate and map the importance of these habitats for biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human wellbeing;
- assess and map the condition (ecosystem health, degree of degradation, and/or fragmentation) of natural habitats;
- identify, evaluate (including assessments of severity and impact), and map key drivers and pressures that are causing ecosystem loss, degradation, and fragmentation;
- determine and map habitats of highest priority.
This information will provide the necessary basis for the development of strategies, including land-use planning, to reduce habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation.
Technical assistance will also be required to develop and launch a programme of routine habitat monitoring, in order to evaluate trends in habitat loss and the effectiveness of measures to reduce habitat loss.
Development and effective implementation of a strong regulatory framework for participatory environmental impact assessment (EIA) would also be beneficial, along with a commitment by decision-makers to use EIAs as a tool to support preservation of ecosystems, habitats, and species.
Measures related to Aichi Biodiversity Target 6: Sustainable management of marine living resources
There is no target corresponding to ABT 6 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines' provisional NBSAP. Nonetheless, several measures have been taken in relation to this target.
Development of New Policies and Action Plans related to Management of Marine Living Resources
Since 2011, St. Vincent and the Grenadines has developed several new policies and action plans relating to the management of marine living resources. These include:
- the Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate IUU Fishing;
- the Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy for St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and
- the NOP.
The NOP was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers in 2018. One of the main strategic areas identified for implementation of the NOP was to improve the productivity, viability, and sustainability of living marine resources via the following actions:
- Support the development of small-scale fisheries, enhance facilities for fisheries workers and promote initiatives that add value to outputs from small-scale fisheries;
- Enhance access to regional and international markets for small scale fisheries products;
- Improve food security by increasing the availability of marine living resources as human food by reducing wastage, post-harvest losses and discards;
- Assess the potential of marine living resources, including under-utilized or unutilized stocks and species, by developing inventories, where necessary, for their conservation and sustainable use;
- Develop and implement evidence-based management plans which may include reducing or suspending fishing catch in particular locations commensurate with the status of the stock;
- Reduce the adverse ecosystem impacts from fisheries by eliminating destructive fishing practices;
- Limit the introduction of new subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing;
- Explore the scope for expanding recreational and tourist activities based on marine living resources, including those for providing alternative sources of income.
There has also been a review of fisheries-related legislation, as part of the FAO project Strengthening Fisheries Legislation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines - focus: IUU fishing. This review produced recommendations for the revision of the Fisheries Act and regulations, and the High Seas Fishing Act and regulations.
Fisheries Management Measures
Measures in place to ensure conservation and sustainable use of living marine resources including the implementation of closed seasons (for lobster), and size limits (for lobster, conch and dolphin fish, Coryphaena hippurus), establishment and enforcement of no-take zones, and restrictions or prohibitions on certain fishing methods (use of trammel nets is illegal, spear fishing is forbidden in marine conservation areas, there are restriction on net mesh size). The taking of sea turtles has been prohibited with effect from January 1, 2017, and restrictions on the taking of cetacean species have been strengthened.
Several measures have also been taken to reduce pressure on the heavily exploited inshore fishery by promoting exploitation of offshore resources, including through employing fish aggregating devices and implementing the national fleet expansion programme. This programme aims to help fishers upgrade their fishing vessels, so that they can fish further at sea for longer periods.
Two of the main commercial species harvested in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the main species exported, are lobster and conch. The Division has launched the process of stock assessments for these two fisheries; the results of the assessments will inform the development of new/revised measures to manage these fisheries.
The Fisheries Division has developed a training manual for fishers; the manual is used to deliver basic training for new entrants to the sector and refresher training for experienced fishers.
The establishment, in 2014, of a National Fisherfolk Organization, as a complement to local fisherfolk cooperatives, has facilitated a more participatory approach to fisheries management. Regular meetings are held between the Fisheries Division and the Fisherfolk organizations, and these meetings are venues for information sharing, identification of needs and priorities, dialogue on challenges and opportunities with respect to fisheries management, and engagement with fishers on sustainability issues.
The national organization has played a significant role in resource mobilization, capacity-building, advocacy, and project management for the benefit of the fishing community. It has fostered a sense of empowerment and cooperation amongst fishers, enabling them to take a stronger and more active role in fisheries management, and to promote and adopt sustainable resource use practices.
Measures taken have been assessed as partially effective. Indicators used to assess effectiveness are:
- Is there national policy/legislation on sustainable management of living marine resources?
- Extent and distribution of areas under sustainable fisheries management;
- Status and trends in stock of target species;
- Existence and implementation of management/recovery plans for key marine species;
- Trends in area, frequency and/or intensity of destructive fishing practices.
Both the Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy and the NOP address issues related to sustainable management of living marine resources. The Fisheries Act and accompanying regulations are intended to achieve "optimal utilization of fisheries resources … for the benefit of St. Vincent and the Grenadines."
There are marine conservation areas designated under the Fisheries Act. However, surveillance and enforcement are challenging, particularly in the areas distant from mainland St. Vincent. There is currently no good fish stock data available, but plans are underway to carry out stock assessments for lobster and conch.
Following the lobster and conch stock assessments, management/recovery plans are to be developed based on the assessment findings. The Fisheries Act outlines fishery conservation measures for certain marine species, and in recent years the take of some species has been prohibited altogether.
Data is not available to evaluate trends in destructive fishing practices. Fisheries legislation restricts certain fishing methods, including spear fishing and the use of tangle nets. However, the Fisheries Division has indicated that there have been increasing reports of unauthorized spear fishing, including in marine conservation areas.
Overall, a number of policy and practical measures have been taken towards sustainable management of living marine resources in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Experts from the Fisheries Division and the National Fisherfolk Organization indicate that there is a good level of awareness among fishers about the need for sustainable practices, and that compliance with conservation measures is generally good and continues to improve. However, the shortage of scientific data means that it is difficult to assess whether the measures taken are sufficient and comprehensive enough to achieve sustainability in the sector.
During consultations, fisheries experts in St. Vincent and the Grenadines indicated that the legislation could be strengthened by including a stronger emphasis on conservation and sustainable use of fisheries resources. This is in line with recommendations in the FAO review of Fisheries and Related Legislation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The review also recommends strengthening capacity for monitoring, control, surveillance, and enforcement in relation to fisheries management, which is also in keeping with experts' identification of weaknesses in the national legislative and policy framework.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines' archipelagic nature and the transboundary nature of the lobster and conch fisheries in particular pose challenges for monitoring and enforcement of fisheries conservation measures, particularly in the more remote waters of the Southern Grenadines. Anecdotal evidence from experts in the Grenadines suggests that there is a substantial undocumented take of and trade in lobster and conch between St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada, which could affect the sustainability of the fisheries. Additional human resources, financial resources, and equipment are required to strengthen surveillance and enforcement.
Areas where financial, scientific, and technical assistance are required include:
- increasing the technical staff complement of the Fisheries Division to include additional ecologists, marine biologists, data specialists, and fisheries scientists;
- carrying out a national fisheries census (according to a 2014 FAO report, the last complete census was carried out in 2002);
- revision of the Fisheries Act and accompanying legislation;
- building capacity for monitoring, surveillance, and enforcement of the law;
- building capacity for effective participation in international fisheries negotiations;
- species and stock assessments;
- collecting data on catch per effort;
- marine spatial planning, use of geographic information systems for spatial mapping of resources and resource use, data management and analysis, and the provision of hardware, software, and software licences to support better data and information management.
Additionally, assistance is required in several areas to strengthen the fishing community's ability to participate in sustainable resource management. These areas include:
- development of business management expertise for fisherfolk;
- building capacity for community organizations’ advocacy and representation in national policy development;
- training and capacity-building for community co-management of living marine resources, including by means of local fisheries management areas as outlined in the law.
Measures related to Aichi Biodiversity Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture, and forestry
There is no target corresponding to ABT 7 in the provisional NBSAP.
Measures related to ABT 7 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines focus primarily on sustainable agriculture. There are currently no significant aquaculture operations. Forestry is a small cottage industry (the number of woodcutters is estimated to be fewer than a dozen). Harvesting takes place mainly in managed timber plantations, as shown in the image below.
Promoting Sustainable Agriculture
Agriculture has long been a mainstay of the economy of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. In recent years there have been several programmes and initiatives undertaken to promote the environmental sustainability and climate resilience of the sector. The NESDP outlines a number of strategic objectives and interventions related to sustainable agriculture. These include:
- enactment and enforcement of appropriate legislation for agro-ecological zoning;
- development and enforcement of regulations and practices prohibiting agricultural activities and systems of production that are environmentally degrading; and
- promoting local foods to consumers focusing on safety, wholesomeness, and nutritional quality.
The FAO Country Programme Frameworks for 2012 - 2015 and 2016 - 2019 reflect the priority placed on sustainable agriculture, by including objectives related to conserving the natural environment, increasing biodiversity, and achieving sustainable natural resources management.
Since 2010 the St. Vincent and the Grenadines work programme of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) has focused on promoting climate resilient agriculture. This has included promoting and building capacity for good water management practices, such as rainwater harvesting. Such practices reduce overexploitation of water resources while maintaining water supply in periods of water scarcity or agricultural drought. One of the observed impacts of climate change in St. Vincent has been an increased incidence of extreme rainfall events, which causes severe soil erosion on the island's steep terrain. IICA has been encouraging the adoption of soil conservation techniques that reduce erosion, and thus diminish adverse impacts of runoff and sedimentation in watersheds and nearshore coastal environments. Reducing the use of pesticides and inorganic fertilizers has also been promoted as a soil amelioration measure, improving soil health while lessening pollution of watersheds. Overall IICA's work has sought to address the needs and challenges identified in the 2014 Vulnerability Assessment of St. Vincent and the Grenadines' Agriculture Sector.
Agriculture has been identified as one of the priority sectors for action for national adaptation planning in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The United Nations Development Programme and the Japan Caribbean Climate Change Partnership are providing the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines with technical assistance in the development of a National Adaptation Plan for agriculture.
Government, non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations have been seeking to encourage diversification of the agriculture sector in St. Vincent and the Grenadines away from conventional banana mono-cropping, which has adverse impacts on biodiversity, soil quality, slope stability, and water quality. The Ministry of Agriculture and the FAO have been encouraging agroforestry approaches, as well as the cultivation of both traditional and non-conventional crops such as arrowroot, cocoa, coconuts, root vegetables and tubers, and other vegetable crops. As a result of the efforts of the Windward Islands Farmers’ Association, many of the farmers who continue to earn their livelihood from the banana industry in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are now fair-trade producers, which means that they must meet established principles and criteria for socially and environmentally responsible production. In support of this initiative, national standards for good agricultural practice have been formulated.
Several civil society organizations in St. Vincent and the Grenadines have undertaken projects to promote organic/low input sustainable agricultural practices. These have incorporated training for farmers and households on sustainable agricultural practices and organic backyard gardening, establishment of model gardens and demonstration sites, and awareness-raising and education for consumers. The Richmond Vale Academy Model Garden and Pass-It-On Home Gardens (see case study 5) are examples of such initiatives.
The proposed GEF project Conserving biodiversity and reducing land degradation using a Ridge-to-Reef approach also proposes the establishment of model gardens/farms to promote the adoption of sustainable land management and climate smart agriculture. The project aims to train at least 150 farmers in sustainable land management and climate smart agriculture techniques, including use of protected structures, cultivation of climate resilient crops, use of organic fertilizers, and irrigation/water management.
Measures taken have been assessed as partially effective. Indicators used are:
- Is there a national policy on sustainable agriculture?
- Proportion of farmers using sustainable and environmentally friendly practices;
- Area of agricultural land under sustainable management, ensuring conservation of biodiversity;
- Extent of implementation of sustainable agriculture projects and programmes.
There is not a specific sustainable agriculture policy. However, it is clear from documents such as the NESDP, the FAO and IICA country programmes, GEF project fiches and the annual strategic priorities of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry and Labour, that improving the sustainability and climate resilience of the country's agricultural sector are national policy priorities. It would be helpful to establish a national definition of and indicators/criteria for environmentally sustainable agriculture, particularly in regard to impacts on biodiversity. Without a guiding definition and associated metrics, it is difficult to objectively assess the sustainability in the sector.
Quantitative data is not available on the proportion of farmers using sustainable practices. However, there is consensus amongst agricultural experts and stakeholders that more farmers are adopting environmentally friendly practices. Amongst older farmers this is seen largely as a return to traditional sustainable practices (see also the section on ABT 18). Younger farmers are actively seeking out information and training on environmentally friendly techniques and innovations in areas such as organic agriculture, integrated pest management, and permaculture.
Quantitative data is not available on the area of land under sustainable management. However, it may be assumed that if the number of farmers adopting sustainable, biodiversity-friendly practices is increasing, then the area of land under sustainable management is also increasing. Stakeholders in the agriculture sector indicate that some biodiversity benefits of the increase in sustainable agriculture have been observed, most notably an increase in populations of pollinators (bees and butterflies).
Government agencies, regional and international organizations, CBOs, and NGOs are actively carrying out programmes and projects to improve the sustainable management of areas under agriculture. Quantitative and spatial data on the overall area of land covered by these programmes and projects is not available.
Case study 5: Richmond Vale Academy’s Pass-It-On Home Gardens
In 2017 the Richmond Vale Academy's model organic farm was recognized by IICA as an outstanding example of climate smart agriculture in the Eastern Caribbean. In addition to avoiding the use of chemical inputs, this model entails the adoption of water management methods such as rainwater harvesting and drip irrigation. Mulching and composting are used to improve soil health. In June 2017, the Academy launched the Pass-It-On Home Garden project, which assists families and farmers to adopt the sustainable principles and practices implemented and refined at the model farm. The project specifically targets household headed by single mothers, and its aims include:
- teaching families and farmers how to grow crops using permaculture principles;
- increasing communities' understanding of permaculture as a strategy for climate resilience;
- increasing communities' self-sufficiency and expanding options for sustainable livelihoods;
- reducing the adverse impacts of chemical-dependent conventional agriculture;
- promoting crop diversification and encouraging more diverse diets.
So far under the Pass-It-On project, fifty home gardens have been established in the villages of Fitz Hughes, Chateaubelair, Petit Bordel, Rose Bank, Rose Hall and Troumaka. Project partners include the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry and Labour, the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning, Sustainable Development and Information Technology, Chatoyer Gardens, the GEF Small Grants Programme, Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Preservation Fund.
Areas where financial, technical and scientific support are needed to improve the sustainable management of areas under agriculture include, but are not limited to:
- update of the national farm census, including geospatial mapping of census data;
- improving technical capacity in the Ministry of Agriculture, including in the areas of botany, microbiology, plant genetics, livestock management;
- improving the Ministry's analytical laboratory, including via provision of equipment and materials and training of personnel;
- improving extension services staffing, and providing training and continuing professional education for extension services officers;
- strengthening capacity for local and community representation and advocacy, for example via agricultural cooperatives;
- developing environment/biodiversity-related indicators for sustainable agriculture;
- research and monitoring to facilitate science-based decision-making;
- creation and dissemination of vulnerability maps for the agriculture sector;
- a national inventory of plant genetic resources;
- enhance access to and engagement with regional institutions, such as the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), and strengthened participation in regional agriculture initiatives.
Additionally, agriculture stakeholders in both state and non-state sectors strongly emphasized the need for an increased emphasis on outreach, communication, awareness-raising, capacity-building, and the effective provision of extension services in order to:
- document, update and share local good practices;
- encourage (especially amongst older farmers) the uptake of environmentally friendly innovations;
- encourage (especially amongst younger farmers) re-adoption of sustainable traditional practices;
- disseminate information to farmers using relatable, non-technical messaging grounded in local knowledge;
- deliver regular training and capacity-building for farmers, especially through community-based field schools.
Measures related to Aichi Biodiversity Target 8: Pollution reduced
There is no target in the provisional NBSAP that correlates to ABT 8. However, several measures have been taken that contribute to progress towards this target.
New comprehensive chemicals management policy and draft legislation
In 2013, a national Chemicals Management Policy for St. Vincent and the Grenadines was prepared. The main objective of this policy is to prevent or minimize the human health and the environment risks associated with the importation, exportation, transportation, handling, distribution, collection, storage, and disposal of toxic chemicals and hazardous wastes. This policy lay the groundwork for the development of a comprehensive Chemicals Management Act, which would address the current dispersed state of legislation relevant to hazardous materials management. Subsequent to the formulation of the Chemicals Management Policy, legislation has been drafted to provide an overarching regulatory mechanism for the control and sound management of toxic substances and hazardous wastes in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Prohibition of the import, manufacture, sale and use of polluting substances
In 2017, St. Vincent and the Grenadines took action to reduce terrestrial and marine plastic pollution by passing the Environmental Health (Expanded Polystyrene Ban) Regulations, which
- prohibit the importation, manufacture, and sale of Styrofoam/expanded polystyrene food service products in St. Vincent and the Grenadines;
- prohibit the use or provision of expanded polystyrene foods service products in St. Vincent and the Grenadines;
- promote and encourage the use of biodegradable, recyclab