Saint Lucia is among the Caribbean countries to benefit from a Japan-funded United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) project to support a search for solutions to the Sargassum seaweed problem.
The support comes in the form of US$12,339,473.00 for improving National Sargassum Management Capacities in Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent, and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The project aims to enhance national capacity for the removal and disposal of Sargassum.
It will provide the beneficiary countries with removal and collection machinery complemented and supported by relevant gender-responsive training and capacity development programmes.
The UNDP said the project would explore scientific monitoring technologies such as UAS drones and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) spatial mapping tools to evaluate the quantum of Sargassum influx.
The official Exchange of Notes signing took place between the Government of Japan and UNDP at UN House in Barbados on February 18, 2022.
H.E. Mr. Teruhiko Shinada, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Barbados, said the target countries would get equipment such as floating boom barriers, aquatic conveyors, workboats, machine surface beach rakes, tractors, and dump trucks.
The Japanese diplomat also explained that the project includes the transfer of expertise and technical knowledge on the collection, removal, transport, and disposal of Sargassum.
Valerie Cliff, Resident Representative, UNDP Barbados, and the Eastern Caribbean, also addressed the signing ceremony.
She observed that the now almost seasonal influx of Sargassum Seaweed and the current adverse effects of climate change further increase the vulnerability of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
“However, through the generous support of the government of Japan, Caribbean governments can make greater strides in not only removing but understanding this phenomenon and enhancing regional capacity to handle it moving forward, ” Cliff observed.
Speaking during the event on behalf of Barbados and other recipient countries, Minister of the Environment and National Beautification, Adrian Forde, expressed his “heartfelt thanks” for the project.
And he welcomed any intervention to assist Barbados and its Caribbean neighbours in the fight against the Sargassum seaweed.
Headline File Photo: May, 2018 Sargassum seaweed build up in Saint Lucia