Environmental Management Directorate Makes Progress
1 March 2012
The Environmental Management Directorate (EMD) was announced in January 2012. Since then, a lot of work has been happening under the new Director, Tara Pelembe, to fully establish the Directorate.
The essential aim of the Directorate is to mainstream environment across St. Helena Government.
The Directorate has three divisions – two of which are established and explained in more detail below. The third division focussing on environmental risk management is being established in the next few months. Additional administrative support is provided by Lucy Cranfield and Tiffany Lawrence both based in Essex House.
Environmental Assessment and Advocacy Division, managed by Isabel Peters, Environmental Coordinator
The former Environmental Planning and Development Section forms the basis of the new Environmental Assessment and Advocacy (EAA) Division. This Division is responsible for promoting the adoption and use of sustainable environmental management and the development of policies, regulations and practices through education, participation and planning.
The core functions of the Division are environmental policy and strategy, monitoring and enforcement, environmental assessment and sustainable development
“With a positive decision on air access we are already seeing an increase in the need for environmental assessment. The environmental assessment process will help to ensure that the development of the Island is sustainable and does not destroy all that makes it so unique. Whilst we have local procedures and guidance in place to steer the Environmental Impact Assessment process for development applications, environmental appraisal of policies and programmes is an area that needs further development.”
A key area of work for the EAA is input into the Airport Project. As Environmental Co-ordinator, Isabel is the SHG lead on all environmental matters relating to the airport project, and works closely with the Project Management Unit’s Environmental Monitor and Basil Read’s Environmental Officer, and is a member of the St Helena Government Airport Project Team. The environmental impacts of this project are being taken very seriously by all parties involved and to date all issues raised are being effectively addressed.
Isabel’s team currently includes Robyn Sim, Environmental Assistant, and Jenny Williams, Senior Clerk.
Nature Conservation Division managed by Dr Nikki Chapman:
The Nature Conservation Division aims to safeguard and sustainably manage all St. Helena’s natural resources spanning across the land, coast and sea. Conservation works can be divided into three broad environments, see below, all of which possess plants, animals, birds and habitats:
• Terrestrial (land )
• Freshwater (land to sea) and
• Marine (sea and coastal)
Current Terrestrial conservation work includes protecting rare plants that are only found on St. Helena and growing enough plants to ensure there is sufficient numbers for their survival. Such work will be key in providing future conservation-based mitigation as the land is increasingly used for development purposes e.g. airport. Current works also include the habitat restoration and management of areas of conservation importance e.g. Diana’s Peak National Park. This work ensures habitats, which themselves contain numerous important animals and plants, are continually maintained, which is no mean feat. The work also provides a key foundation for wider long-term goals such as the National Conservation Areas.
The freshwater environment includes streams at OakBank. There are relatively few permanent freshwater areas ‘above ground’ on St. Helena and they are very important. To date only a few studies on these environments have been undertaken and hence new additional works need to be commissioned. Some streams for example contain very small animals that look a bit like an insect known as copepods. Copepods can be found all around the world but these freshwater copepods are only found on St. Helena and we just don’t know what else we will find until we look!
“St. Helena is surrounded by sea which provides a habitat and feeding ground for animals, fish and birds of conservation importance in addition to supplying commercial fish for eating and selling. Hence it is important that we protect and sustainably manage our marine resources. Currently studies are undertaken on animals, birds and fish however future works will be looking at sea habitats. Work will include ‘mapping’ the location and abundance of the marine wildlife and the habitats and comparing this with how we use the sea. We will be using this information to provide a guide on how we can sustainably manage St. Helena’s marine resources both now and in the future.”
Nikki’s team currently includes Elizabeth Clingham, Marine Scientific Officer, Annalea Beard and Leann Henry, Marine Assistants.
The Team at Essex House
EMD events coming up!
Official Launch of EMD
The 12th April 2012 will be the official launch of the Environmental Management Directorate. This will take place in the Courtyard of Essex House. Members of the Public are invited to attend from 1:30pm. Please book this date in your diaries. Further details will follow.
Marine Awareness Week
The marine team are organising a marine awareness week to raise awareness in schools and with the public about the marine environment. This will take place from the 3rd – 10th March 2012.
Strategic Policy and Planning Unit
1st March 2012