Minister Grange, who chairs the Jamaica National Commission for UNESCO, made the comment at the Opening Ceremony of a Caribbean regional workshop for the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme on Monday.
The Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) is an Intergovernmental Scientific Programme that aims to establish a scientific basis for the improvement of relationships between people and their environments.
The Minister bemoaned the rate of biodiversity loss saying the situation had become “much more urgent” in recent years.
According to Minister Grange, “now, more than ever, we must prepare ourselves and take the appropriate steps in the face of climate change, one of the effect of the reduction of biodiversity at an accelerated rate.”
The Minister said this was particularly urgent for our region which is vulnerable to hurricanes, flooding and earthquakes.
As a means of tackling the situation, the Minister called for an acceleration of the programme to establish Biosphere Reserves across the Caribbean.
Biosphere Reserves are areas comprising terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems.
Minister Grange expressed disappointment that Jamaica had not yet established or declared the three Biosphere Reserves that she had announced during her previous term of office. However, she expressed optimism that the workshop to be led by experts from St. Kitts and Nevis, Guyana, Belize, Curacao, Suriname, St. Marten, UNESCO Caribbean Office and the Montevideo would “help to step up the establishment of Biosphere Reservations not only in Jamaica but across the region.
Minister Grange also said the Jamaica would use its position on the UNESCO Executive Board to push for support nations in our region towards the establishment and declaration of Biosphere Reserves.