The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment is developing a National Action Programme for Combating Land Degradation and Drought, as well as a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The Ministry says that in recent times there has been serious loss as it relates to our land, biodiversity and degradation of the environment, owing to natural disasters, unplanned development, bad practices and pollution.

As part of the development of the plan, the Ministry will hold the first meeting in a series of consultations with residents of Union Island on Thursday, Feb. 20, at the Union Island Learning Resource Centre, at 5:30 p.m.

Luis de Shong, permanent secretary in the ministry, said the consultation is geared at community involvement in the development of the plans and will be facilitated by local environmentalist, Reynold Murray.

The consultation also aims to build awareness of the issues relating to land degradation, drought, and biodiversity conservation, the sustainable use of these resources, their threats and possible solutions.

It will also seek to gain public feedback on these issues and to hear suggestions of possible solutions to these issues in order to facilitate the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification/Land degradation and the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity at the national level.

The consultation is open to all residents of Union Island.