Barbados and the Biodiversity Convention: Another broken commitment
Figure 1. Logo of the International Day for Biological Diversity 2020.
During the 1980s, the Government of Barbados, under the leadership of Dame Billie Miller, showed excitement and support in the preservation of the Graeme Hall Wetlands as an ecotourism site and declaring it as a protected area.
On December 10th,1993, Barbados became a party to the Biodiversity Convention and acknowledged that the Graeme Hall wetlands are a major biodiversity resource for the island.
The Convention on Biological Diversity entered into force on 29 December 1993 and its 3 main objectives are:
- The conservation of biological diversity,
- The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity, and
- The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.
The United Nations has proclaimed May 22nd as International Day for Biological Diversity. A day that is intended to help increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues worldwide.
As a biodiversity “hotspot”, the Graeme Hall Wetlands have many features that are worthy of conserving:
- It is the last remaining mangrove forest in Barbados,
- It is one of only three primary roost areas for migratory and native waterbirds in Barbados within the Eastern Caribbean Flyway, and
- It is a "living laboratory" offering working opportunities to researchers and scientists to examine native Barbados landscapes.
Unfortunately, the current reality is an ongoing battle to save and protect the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary. It has been a difficult fight as the issues go beyond environmental damage and pollution, it is an ongoing battle against corruption.
We are in a crusade to save this beautiful and precious green space in Barbados. Throughout the last decade, the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary has been polluted, contaminated with sewage, and treated as a facultative lagoon in light of the predicted South Coast Sewage Plant failure.
Acts of negligence, lack of leadership and corruption have led to the destruction of a wetland that will no longer be enjoyed by future generations of Barbadians.
The Government of Barbados is eager to build its image as a protector of nature before an international audience by signing the RAMSAR convention and participating as a party to the Convention of Biological Diversity.
We hope that the people in positions of policymaking will realize the dire importance in protecting the greenspace in Barbados and take proactive actions to ensure that the people of Barbados can enjoy it now and into the future.