St Helena is a UK Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic, currently served by a single ship, 6 days voyage from Cape Town. In 2016 the first airport will open, breaking the island’s isolation and greatly increasing biosecurity risk. The Policy is the result of over a full year’s work, with extensive stakeholder and public consultation. It provides the framework for preventing or mitigating against the increased risk of introduction of new and potentially harmful pests, weeds and diseases to St Helena associated with the air access and a new cargo system.
St Helena’s national vision for biosecurity is: ‘an effective biosecurity system of shared responsibility that protects the sustainable future of our Island, allowing a vibrant economy, safe movement of people and goods, and enhanced livelihoods and health.’
Biosecurity St Helena, as the policy document is known, is guided by seven principles: leadership, communication, shared responsibility, risk and evidence-based decision making, cooperation and equity. An implementation plan is also in place for priority actions to be delivered by responsible agencies.
Deputy Chair for Economic Development, Derek Thomas, said in his speech at the launch event that: “Having a biosecurity policy for the first time gives us a guiding document to help us achieve our vision and our response to our biosecurity challenge. Itrequires the support, participation and compliance of all St Helenians and visitors alike”.
The document and other information on St Helena’s biosecurity system can be found athttp://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/st-helena-biosecurity-service/