St Helena’s second international environmental conference – Nature’s Benefits: Natural Capital in the South Atlantic – successfully concluded at Anne’s Place, Jamestown, on Thursday, 14 March 2019.

The conference which brought together participants from across all UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) in the region consolidated the final outputs of the Natural Capital Assessment Project implemented across the UKOTs in the South Atlantic by SAERI (the South Atlantic Research Institute). The project is funded by the UK Government’s CSSF fund, and covers both the South Atlantic and Caribbean UKOTs, led by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC).

SAERI’s Deputy Director – Innovation, Tara Pelembe, said:

“On islands Natural Capital isn’t a new concept, but it is a different way of framing the relationship between people and nature to feed into modern-day decision-making. In the South Atlantic, the Natural Capital Project worked across many sectors across the South Atlantic Islands, and it was a real pleasure to see a number of the people who have been directly involved in the work from all the islands come together and have meaningful discussions to share ideas, thoughts and be inspired to act. It was especially rewarding to see the future generations fully engaged and participating in conference discussions, and we are grateful to St Helena for hosting the event.”

In her closing remarks at the Conference, Chief Secretary Susan O’Bey, reflected on the South Atlantic OTs in particular how similar we are but with different qualities and challenges and how our isolation makes us more accepting of our perceived deficiencies but at the same time builds resilience and innovation. All of which came through in some way during the conference.

St Helena Government will now take forward a number of actions arising from the conference including commitments to:

  • Using and mainstreaming Natural Capital approaches and evidenced-based decision-making in planning and policy development  
  • Enhancing data management and training in GIS systems to build further capacity in the use of tools and software to enable evidence-based decision-making
  • Upskilling staff and increasing access to and use of spatial data across departments
  • Centralising spatial data management so that it is readily available to all
  • Exploring the possibility of creating a new full-time centralised position to manage and analyse spatial data and provide associated policy relevant advice
  • Identifying and using indicators to monitor environmental change  
  • Developing St Helena as a centre of excellence through the emerging St Helena Research Institute
  • Further knowledge exchange and collaboration between South Atlantic islands

The conference was well received on-Island with up to 120 people attending each day to take part in political exchanges and talks on a range of topics about nature’s benefits.

Around 600+ listeners also tuned into the conference, which was broadcast live via local radio and online over the three-day period, showing how important the environment and the Natural Capital approach is to all of the South Atlantic islands.

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SHG

19 March 2019

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