Letters to the Editor: Conservation discussions extended

In the past few weeks there has
been a rich and varied response to the Conservation Bill at multiple levels.

Several individuals,
non-governmental organisations and community groups have indicated to me that
while the public consultation period ended on Friday, 16 July, they would still
like an opportunity to make a contribution to the development of our national
environmental policy.

As the Minister for Environment, I
recognise that the relationship between human society and the environment is
complex and multidimensional, with changes in one domain affecting the other;
and I also recognise that the way policy decisions are made has important
implications for the outcome. Therefore, after consultation with my colleagues
in Government – I have decided to extend the public consultation period for an
additional six weeks.

Historically, Caymanians have
responded to the challenges posed to sustainable development by committing to
and establishing policies for creating an enabling environment that supports
sustained economic growth, environmental integrity, good governance and respect
for human rights. Therefore, I see no reason why we cannot continue to achieve
this.

The process of moving our country
toward a more sustainable future not only requires better management systems,
but it also requires a dynamic inclusive forum, which brings together the
demands of different social groups, values and discourses in a deliberative
fashion. We need a law that is inclusive, flexible and responsive to future
needs of our country. One that will codify the norms of the Caymanian people,
while simultaneously creating a structure for participation that helps to
crystallise and protect our country’s environmental goals.

This Government is committed to
developing a Conservation Law that:

Results in fair participatory
processes

Builds partnerships and
promotes collaboration, at multiple levels, to address and find solutions to
the challenges of sustainable development

Acknowledges that strengthening
national institutions and empowering people is key to effective and sustainable
resource management

Recognises that the environment
is integral to sustainable development,

Strengthens the quality of
decision making

Harnesses the opportunities the
environment provides for economic growth and human well-being

Enhances our scientific and
technological capabilities, to enable us to respond to environmental and development
challenges more effectively.

By extending the public
consultation period on this bill, I believe that we can develop the right legal
framework to achieve these goals, so I encourage everyone to take advantage of
this extended opportunity to comment on the bill and get involved in shaping
the future of our country.

Mark Scotland

Environment minister

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