PMA/UVM Partnership Enters Third Year
Staff at the Pitons Management Area (PMA) office of the Department of Sustainable Development in Soufriere have been reflecting on its three-year relationship with the University of Vermont (UVM), United States of America. The PMA office is responsible for the conservation and sustainable management of the PMA, which is Saint Lucia’s premier protected area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
UVM’s collaboration with the PMA office commenced in 2016 with a programme of research on public awareness and community engagement with respect to the PMA’s UNESCO World Heritage status. This year’s research seeks to investigate this topic in greater depth; and surveys are currently being conducted in Soufriere and Castries.
Research provides interesting insights into sustainable management, a view shared by the Minister for Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development, Dr. Gale Rigobert. She has expressed her gratitude to the faculty and students of UVM for the invaluable contribution to the programme of work of the PMA office and the Department of Sustainable Development.
This year also marks the 15th anniversary of UVM’s work with the Saint Lucian government. The PMA office highlighted this milestone with a community forum at the Leisure Inn Conference Room, New Development, Soufriere on Wednesday, January 9.
The forum commenced with brief introductions from the PMA Manager and five-member faculty and Student Research Team from UVM, followed by a presentation and discussion session on preliminary research findings from this and previous years’ work.
Residents and other stakeholders at the forum were given an opportunity to air their views regarding the PMA and World Heritage Status.
The forum also contributed to this year’s research report by providing additional insights into issues regarding public awareness and community engagement within the site.
Soufriere residents assisted University of Vermont Student research, continuing a 15-year tradtion of sharing knowledge between the community and students from the university.