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2 Feb 2022


Antigua and Barbuda: UN experts say the Barbuda Ocean Club luxury resort poses environmental and human rights at risk

Global Legal Action Network

"Antigua and Barbuda: Luxury resort puts wetland and healthy environment at risk – UN experts", 02 February 2022

...Barbuda’s fragile and biodiverse natural site of Palmetto Point, recognised as a wetland of international importance by the Ramsar Convention, remains at risk, with serious human rights implications, due to the construction of the Barbuda Ocean Club resort, UN experts* said...

...Part of the resort is being constructed directly in the designated wetland area.

“Construction in fragile areas threatens natural environments including wetlands as well as aquatic and coastal ecosystems. It can also affect the human rights of the local population, including the rights to a healthy environment, food, drinking water and sanitation and cultural rights, especially if local people rely on the areas’ rich biodiversity for their livelihoods. Hence, preparing environmental and human rights impact assessments prior to commencing activities near sensitive ecosystems and following their recommendations is absolutely essential.

“On Palmetto Point, natural surroundings were altered by the removal of mangroves in certain areas and damaging habitats of protected flora and fauna, exacerbating the vulnerability of the island’s ecosystems to storms and natural disasters. Being the highest site in the area, Palmetto Point is also key for feeding fresh water to Codrington Lagoon which hosts of a variety of young fish, lobsters and conch populations,” the experts said.

Concerns have also been raised about the quality and quantity of Barbuda’s groundwater, which could be further affected by the project, sand mining, and waste pollution, as well as by climate change...

“We call on the Government and the project proponents to employ rights-based and nature-based solutions to address current challenges including in conserving and restoring wetlands.”

While an environment impact assessment was conducted in the initial phase of the project in 2017, it has not yet been made public and open for scrutiny...

The issues were raised with the Government of Antigua and Barbuda and other stakeholders...