On 2 October 2014 the Economic Development Committee formally approved the first National Biosecurity Policy for St Helena. ANRD officially launched the policy at the biosecurity facility on Friday 28 November. The Policy is the result of over a full year’s work, with extensive stakeholder and public consultation. It provides the framework for preventing or mitigating against the increased risk of introduction of new and potentially harmful pests, weeds and diseases to St Helena, associated with the Airport and a new cargo system.

Our national vision for biosecurity is:

‘an effective biosecurity system of shared responsibility that protects the sustainable future of our Island, allowing a vibrant economy, safe movement of people and goods, and enhanced livelihoods and health.’

Biosecurity St Helena, as the policy document is known, is guided by seven principles: leadership, communication, shared responsibility, risk and evidence-based decision making, cooperation and equity.  An implementation plan is also in place for priority actions to be delivered by responsible agencies.

Deputy Chair for Economic Development, Derek Thomas, said in his speech at the launch event that: “Having a biosecurity policy for the first time gives us a guiding document to help us achieve our vision and our response to our biosecurity challenge.  It requires the support, participation and compliance of all St Helenians and visitors alike”.

Biosecurity is defined as “protection against the risks posed by pests and diseases to the economy, environment and human health, via exclusion, eradication, containment and control.” It includes the prevention of arrival of new species, and early detection and rapid action in response to newly introduced species to prevent their establishment.