Collectivité elected officials participate in International Sargassum Conference | THE DAILY HERALD

Territorial Councillor Pascale Laborde gives her address at the Sargassum conference.

Territorial Councillor Raj Charbhe, technician in charge of regional cooperation Omar Morales, Territorial Councillor Pascale Laborde and technician in charge of agriculture and fishing Elie Touzé attended the Sargassum Conference.


~ French PM pledges 500,000 euros per year to fight Sargassum ~

 MARIGOT–Territorial Councillor in charge of the environment Pascale Laborde and President Daniel Gibbs both gave addresses at the International Sargassum Conference in Guadeloupe which ended on Sunday.

Laborde pointed out that measuring the economic and social impact of Sargassum invasions is not possible, as St. Martin has no statistical tools at its disposal, particularly in terms of sustainable development, as there is no branch of Institut National de la Statistique et des Études Économiques (INSEE) in St. Martin and St. Barths.

“We are also penalised in a budgetary sense, because this phenomenon worsens the state of our already-stricken finances. However, while the Collectivité does not have the Environment portfolio, it has not remained idle.

“We have included a whole section on the management of Sargassum algae in its territorial safeguarding plan. The collection procedure described in this plan was discussed with Réserve Naturelle, Direction de L’Environment et Aménagement et Logement (DEAL) and the Direction de la Mer.

“This investment is co-financed with the State for a total amount of 750,000 euros for St. Martin, half of which is to be financed by the local authority. In 2018, the Collectivité of St. Martin spent 335,000 euros on collecting and drying the seaweed and 260,000 euros on treating it.

“In 2019, we awarded a new public contract, and we have to pay an invoice of 300,000 euros to the companies holding these contracts. These sums may seem modest on the scale of large communities or a State budget, but is not so for a small territory like St. Martin.

“Given the scale of the phenomenon, we need national solidarity and the effective involvement of the State; in particular, through the exceptional fund to support local authorities from the French Ministry of Overseas Territories, but also through increased involvement of ADEME and the Public Investment Bank in our territory.

She said it was important to mobilise European Development Funds (EDF) and appealed to St. Barths and Dutch St. Maarten to cooperate and move forward in the process. She added that 40 million euros in the budget for the 2014-2020 programme has been little used.

“The Inter-Ministerial Delegate for Major Overseas Risks, Frédéric Mortier, is responsible for leading and coordinating the implementation of the inter-ministerial action plan for the prevention and control of Sargassum,” Laborde continued. “The regional and international cooperation component on pollution control is also on the agenda of this plan, not to mention the mobilisation of support and assistance tools for citizens and businesses.

“This is an important plan for all of us. We therefore count on the dynamic, loyal and constructive involvement of the delegate, at our side, because he is appointed for two terms.”

An information platform and an alert centre within the Caribbean Programme on Sargassum were formally established at the conclusion of the conference which brought together national delegations and regional organisations from the Caribbean.

This programme, financed by European funds, is led by the Guadeloupe Region and is supported by Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and the Association of Caribbean States (ACS).

Among the missions set out in a joint statement, the initiative aims to “reinforce the capacity to respond to massive Sargassum invasions by networking best practices in priority areas such as prevention, coastal protection, recovery or the development of a legislative framework.”

French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said the next three years will see the State contribute up to 500,000 euros per year to the operation of the large-scale Sargassum collection at sea.

“We have tried to promote, with resolute action by the State and financing, the equipment of the communes so that they can proceed with the clearing of this algae and then with the processing,” said Philippe. “It’s clear that this solution is not totally satisfactory, since it is necessary to prevent the algae reaching the shores. So, we must also mobilise our immense capacities for research of collective scientific, technical, and technological intelligence, to try to find solutions.”

Source: The Daily Herald