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The environmental profile for the island of Tortola and its companion profile for the sister islands were launched at a ceremony last evening at the J. R. O’Neal Botanic Gardens.
The documents ‘An Environmental Profile of the Islands of Tortola and A Natural History Characterisation of Tortola’s Sister Islands were produced to further enhance knowledge and awareness of the Territory’s environment.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Dr. the Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering, in an address at the launch gave an overview of the body of work provided by the Island Resources Foundation, which resulted in the creation of five environmental profiles for the Virgin Islands.
Minister Pickering said, “Constant in each of the island’s environmental profiles is the retrospective look at environmental change, a description of the current state and analysis of the natural resource base for each island profiled and assessment of priority environmental issues and recommendations for sustainable growth.”
Dr. Pickering added, “The environmental profiles highlight critical issues which we must address, such as the increasing need to grow our economy while ensuring environmental protection. The profiles afford an opportunity for us to assess those options that are available to us that will ensure ecological integrity, the sound management of ecosystem services while balancing economic needs.”
Minister Pickering expressed gratitude to the various individuals and organisations who contributed to the preparation of the environmental profiles for the Virgin Islands.
He stated that efforts must always be made to raise the profile of the environment so that it may feature prominently in discussions as to the manner in which all can continue to ensure its growth and prosperity.
The Minister further added that the profiles provide sensible options which can be explored and further debated with an aim to striking a balance between economic development and environmental protection. He said they can also serve as a tool to sensitise and educate the Territory’s citizens on the protection of its valuable assets.
The documents are the fourth and fifth volumes of the environmental profiles based on the Virgin Islands launched by the Islands Resources Foundation. Volume one titled, An Environmental Profile of the Island of Jost Van Dyke was published in 2009. In 2012, volume two, An Environmental Profile of the Island of Virgin Gorda was published, while volume three titled An Environmental Profile of the Island of Anegada was published in 2013.