Creation of a Marine Health Alliance under the umbrella of the Saint Lucia National Conservation Fund will create ties with the tourism industry to support marine conservation, protect threatened biodiversity and promote healthy ocean ecosystems and reefs.
Building upon Earth Day 2023 and its theme “Invest In Our Planet” the Saint Lucia Hospitality and Tourism Association (SLHTA) and the Saint Lucia National Conservation Fund (SLUNCF) have announced their new partnership agreement focused on investment in the island’s marine health.
Described as the ‘catalyst for change’ in Saint Lucia for ocean stewardship, the Marine Health Alliance will focus on a combination of top-down interventions and bottom-up project delivery.
The launch of the Marine Health Alliance initiative was made possible with the support of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), the SLHTA’s philanthropic arm.
Calls for proposals (CFPs) will be issued bi-annually to assist local communities, youth groups and public and private sector initiatives to bolster national marine conservation.
The SLHTA, TEF and SLUNCF will work closely together to engage with local stakeholders and visitors to learn about the Marine Health Alliance with the option of showing their support with a one-time voluntary contribution, annual membership or corporate sponsorship.
Mrs. Karolin Troubetzkoy, the Chairperson of the SLUNCF commented: “On behalf of our SLUNCF secretariat and board of directors, we are absolutely delighted to collaborate with the Hospitality and Tourism Industry for the benefit of our marine environment. The Caribbean is one of the world’s most biologically diverse marine regions. Home to iconic wildlife and vulnerable coastal communities, our region’s once abundant ocean, coasts and coral reefs have suffered alarming decline. It is the sad reality that over 50% of our coral reefs in the Caribbean have died and that marine health in general is under threat for a variety of reasons, from pollution, over usage, to many different effects of climate change. The Marine Health Alliance is an important development to attract funding from various user groups, local and international stakeholders. Our partnership with the SLHTA is significant as visitors in particular are attracted to a destination that can offer a vibrant marine environment. It is our hope and goal to encourage our visitors to not only enjoy our glistening waters and vibrant reefs, but also make a contribution that will allow us to protect, preserve and regenerate our marine world for generations to come.”
The TEF will provide US$100,000 towards the Marine Health Alliance, making this partnership one of the largest projects undertaken by the Fund.
This commitment represents a significant investment that would support our local communities and others to initiate, replicate and upscale effective and innovative actions oriented towards strengthening the national response to coastal and marine resilience and sustainability.
Mr. Winston Anderson, Chairman of the TEF stated: “The TEF is extremely pleased to be part of this initiative to promote the sustainable development of Saint Lucia. Through the Marine Health Alliance we will make available funding that will improve the country’s marine health by tackling a myriad of issues including water pollution, coral reef restoration and the influx of sargassum to name a few. As our tourism industry continues to grow, we must ensure that our environment is not adversely impacted. The TEF remains resolute in our commitment to support environmental projects and actions that will affect the livelihoods of our current and future generations, and eagerly anticipate the commencement of this initiative. On behalf of the TEF Board of Trustees, I wish to thank all visitors and partnering member companies who contribute to the Fund. Without your continued support, this partnership would not be possible.”
SOURCE: Saint Lucia Hospitality & Tourism Association and the Saint Lucia National Conservation Fund