Mullet Pond to be added to International Convention on Wetlands

POSTED: 03/3/14 2:32 PM

St. Maarten – Minister of Environment Maurice Lake said efforts are underway to have Mullet Pond protected and recognized under the Convention of Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971).

Over the weekend the Minister took a tour of Mullet Pond and Simpson Bay Lagoon with Tadzio Bervoets of the Nature Foundation.

“The advice for the protection of Mullet Pond has reached its final stages. I will also have the relevant government department along with stakeholders start the process to protect the remaining ponds of the country.

“I would like to see Little Key in the Simpson Bay Lagoon also protected and cleaned-up.  This would be a great opportunity and experience for families to come together to camp out on the weekend and enjoy nature from a different perspective once the island is cleaned-up and placed under sustainable management,” Minister Lake disclosed on Sunday.

The convention, also referred to as the Ramsar Convention, is an intergovernmental treaty that embodies the commitments of its member countries to maintain the ecological character of their wetlands of international importance and to plan for the “wise use,” or sustainable use, of all of the wetlands in their territories.

The tour of Mullet Pond and Simpson Bay Lagoon is a follow-up to a meeting held on January 8 that Minister Lake had with representatives from the Department of Environmental Affairs, the Department of Maritime Affairs, and Nature Foundation regarding national environmental issues.

During the January 8 meeting Minister Lake wanted to know the status of the Service Level Agreement (SLA) between Nature Foundation and Ministry VROMI for the environmental and conservation management of the natural resources of Sint Maarten.

“I can now report with respect to the SLA, the Governor is expected to sign off this week and I hope to make a presentation to the Nature Foundation this week.  This is a very important milestone for the environmental movement. It is essential in going forward to maintain a good working relationship with environmental entities,” Minister Lake announced on Sunday.

In that meeting the protection of wetlands in connection with the Ramsar Convention was also discussed as Sint Maarten has an obligation to protect wetlands.

“My tenure as Minister will be coming to an end this year and I would like to leave a mark with respect to the protection of the remaining eco-natural resources of our country. Ministry VROMI is responsible for the environment and spatial planning.

“I have also been diligently working with colleague Ministers to complete the process for the purchasing of the Emilio Wilson Estate for the people of the country.

“I have also signed off on an advice for the restoration of Fort Amsterdam, a very important site of historical importance. The fort is in disrepair and needs to be restored for current and future generations as well as for visitors to enjoy our heritage.

“In my back to basics approach we must move forward in protecting our natural resources.  Zoning and development plans are part of this process along with ministerial actions to protect the environment.

“The protection of our natural environment also reflects upon the quality of life of our people and I will see to it that the necessary management structures are put in place that would manage our natural resources in a sustainable manner for generations to come,” Minister Lake said yesterday.

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