UNESCO, St. Mary's Biosphere. St. Kitts

Propose innovative approaches to sustainable development
(Development – Fostering Economic and Human development which is socio-culturally and ecologically sustainable)

The proposed biosphere reserve has tremendous potential to serve as a model in the nation and the Caribbean region for the promotion of sustainable economic and human development. This is because in the face of increasing development pressure, the SMBR area contains a network of villages that are deeply integrated into the outstanding mosaic of natural and cultural landscapes. This situation is similar to other parts of the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis and, thus, initiatives within the proposed biosphere reserve can be readily translatable as strategies for other areas. The area also contains a wide range of ecosystems from the volcanic ridgeline to the outlying coral reef. The broad cross-section of the island encompassed by the proposed biosphere reserve boundary can be used as an example for sustainable development planning throughout the island, Federation, and Caribbean region.

Encouraging factors include community enthusiasm about a potential biosphere reserve, existing support from government agencies, and the fact that the area is already a site of innovation and research in the field of sustainable agriculture and pesciculture. For example, local farmers have been sought out by researchers from the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and universities in the Caribbean and abroad to demonstrate innovative intercropping techniques utilized nowhere else on the island. Community members from the village of Cayon, in particular, have been active in local and national organizational efforts such as founding the now-island-wide Liamuiga Farmers Cooperative and petitioning the government to start the St. Kitts tilapia farming program.

Additionally, local NGOs and community members are currently engaged in agrotourism and ecotourism ventures such as sea turtle monitoring and tagging on the coast, natural material jewellery making, cultural heritage and nature tour guiding, and model farm tours. With a greater management program for the area, these efforts and other possible ventures would help spread ecotourism projects throughout the area. According to the St. Kitts Tourism Authority Manager of Product Development & Cruise Ships, there is a growing demand from tourists for a greater variety of sustainable ecotourism opportunities on the island.