OECS to host numerous Blue Economy consultations

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CASTRIES, St Lucia — The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), with the support of Dillon Consulting Limited, will host numerous Blue Economy consultations in five participating OECS member states during October to obtain stakeholder and public input.

The consultations will inform the preparation of Coastal Master Plans and Marine Spatial Plans (CMSPs) for the participating member states and are an important component of the Eastern Caribbean Regional Ocean Policy (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.

The economic and ecological viability of the region is inextricably linked to the continued health and vibrancy of the national oceans and coastal areas. Integrated coastal and marine spatial planning is the first step to achieving environmental sustainability, mitigating climate change, and managing national and international market forces.

Consultation plays an integral role in defining the unique attributes of each member state so that their plans reflect their unique culture, ecology, markets, history, landscapes, and aspirations. Input from stakeholders and the public will directly influence the policies and outcomes of the plans.

Round One

The first round of consultations will be held in the Commonwealth of Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis to introduce the CMSPs process to key agency stakeholders and obtain feedback on priority issues.

Local knowledge and data will be collected regarding traditional knowledge and land use, cultural and ecological sites, socio-economic and human use areas, future development, and protected areas.

Round Two

For Grenada, Saint Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines, an interactive collaborative workshop open to the public will be held to present the early findings from the Round One stakeholder consultation and to discuss initial strategic directions.

Participation in the second consultations will contribute to policy direction and further explore important matters related to the success of the coastal and marine spatial plans.

The governments of each of the five participating member states will be extending invitations and conducting outreach to encourage stakeholder participation in these sessions:

Commonwealth of Dominica

  • Meetings with the Ministry of Kalinago Affairs and Kalingo Chief & Council on October 23 and 24.
  • Date(s) for consultations with other government agencies to be determined.

St Kitts and Nevis

  • Meetings with various government agencies from October 1 to October 3.

Grenada

  • Workshop with government agencies on October 15.
  • Various citizen at-large consultations from October 15 to October 18.

Saint Lucia

  • Workshop with government agencies and NGOs on October 16.
  • Various citizen at-large consultations on October 17 and October 18.

St Vincent and the Grenadines

  • Workshop with NGOs on October 1.
  • Workshop with government agencies on October 2.
  • Various citizen at-large consultations tentatively from October 7 to 11.

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