Environmental issues affecting the land and ocean and their inter-connectedness, will be the focus of some 250 delegates attending the Second Global Conference on Land-Ocean connections in Montego Bay, St. James.
Staged by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the conference is being held from October 2 to 4, at the Hilton Rose Hall Hotel, under the theme: ‘Building Bridges through Partnerships’. The delegates are representing approximately 70 different countries.
According to a conference document, the overall purpose of the event is to emphasize the inter-connectedness of activities on land and how they impact on the ocean, with a focus on pollution prevention, reduction and control, while proposing ways to address these impacts, through international and regional co-operation.
There will be a focus on the three priority source categories, namely marine litter, nutrients and wastewater.
Delivering the keynote address at the opening ceremony of the conference, Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, emphasized that any approach to successfully manage the environment must recognize and take into account the strong, yet complex, link between activities on land, including land use and planning, and the marine and coastal environments.
“It is the complex nature of this relationship which makes the theme, ‘Building Bridges through Partnerships’, for this conference appropriate and indeed relevant,” he said.
The Minister made special mention of the UNEP and its Global Programme of Action (GPA), which focuses on partnerships on marine litter, nutrients and wastewater.
“The importance of partnerships in the achievement of sustainable development cannot be discounted. While we continue to nurture and enhance existing partnership arrangements on land-ocean issues, we welcome new and innovative partnerships between and among governments, the private sector, the inter-governmental, non-governmental and scientific communities and most importantly, the people,” Mr. Pickersgill said.
He argued that there is need for more networking and sharing of experiences in environmental issues at all levels, so that countries and communities can learn from each other in identifying and applying best practices which are applicable in their particular situations.
Meanwhile, Deputy Director of UNEP, Mrs. Elizabeth Mrena, said the conference is one way of regionalizing the global programme of action.
“My wish is that the momentum to be created by this meeting will not only increase the awareness of the Global Programme of Action, but will also enable us to mobilize the political will necessary for its operation and implementation,” she said.
Also present were Minister of State in the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Ian Hayles; Minister of State in the Ministry of Local Government, Hon. Collin Fagan; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Donovan Stanberry; and His Worship the Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Glendon Harris.
Photo © D Ramey Logan