The Environmental Management Unit (EMU) (formerly the Sustainable Development Unit) was set up in July 2006 to spearhead the formation of a national level strategy for sustainable development. This was in response to the expanding advisory role of the DOE on environmental matters, the Cayman Islands’ commitment under the Environment Charter of 2001 to implement such a strategy, and obligations under various Multilateral Environmental Agreements that require integration of physical, economic, social and environmental development planning policies.
To date the EMU has worked on a number of National Policies and Plans, such as the National Sustainable Development Framework, National Conservation Law, Grand Cayman Development Plan 2008, revised National Tourism Management Policy and the Go East Initiative, National Assessment of Living Conditions study and Public Health Review, the ‘Enhancing Climate Change Adaptation in the Caribbean’ (ECACC) project, implementation of the Climate Convention and its Kyoto Protocol, the National Energy Policy and the National Planning Framework.
The Unit works under the framework of the National Conservation Law (2103) and provides advice to the Central Planning Authority and Cabinet on planning and coastal works applications, and environmental best practices. The Unit encourages pre-application consultations with landowners, developers, architects etc. to discuss development proposals before they are submitted to relevant Government bodies for review.
The Unit contributes to the drafting of species Conservation Plans and accompanying best practice guidance, such as Mangrove Trimming Guidelines and technical advice on Turtle Friendly Lighting.
EMU Staff Profiles
Wendy Williams – Manager
Wendy joined the Department in January 2011 and has a background in Environmental Planning. Heading up the Environmental Management Unit her work includes coordinating and managing the Department of Environment’s input and role in the agency consultations outlined in the National Conservation Law (2013). She also coordinates and manages the Department’s Environmental Impact Assessment functions, including coordination and administration of the Environmental Assessment Board. She has a background in Planning and Coastal Zone Management and is a Chartered Town Planner (MRTPI).
Wendy provides technical input, including the process of screening, scoping and reviewing for Environmental and Strategic Impact Assessments or related studies conducted for proposed development projects, Government policies and strategies.
Wendy oversees and coordinates the Department’s Technical Review Committee’s preparation of technical reports to advise the National Conservation Council, Central Planning Authority, Cabinet, the Ministry of Environment and any other agencies of the likely environmental consequences of development proposals, policies and actions.
Wendy assists the preparation of annual greenhouse gas emissions inventories and progress reports, and policies, plans and projects aimed at mitigating climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. She is also actively involved in the implementation of Turtle Friendly Lighting on Cayman’s turtle nesting beaches.
Lauren Dombowsky – Senior Environmental Assessment Officer
Lauren joined the Department in September 2018 after working as an environmental consultant in the UK since 2012. She graduated with an MSc in Environmental Diagnosis and Management and began working for Atkins in contaminated land and water. She later began working in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for Temple Group. During that time, she completed a Professional Graduate-Level Certificate in Sustainability from Harvard University. At the Department, she provides technical input on proposed developments with respect to EIA, planning applications and coastal works applications.
She is a Practitioner Member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) and is a Member of the Transport Planning Society. She also belongs to the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) and was shortlisted as their Young Environmentalist of the Year 2017.
Leah Grant – Research Officer
Leah joined the Department as a summer student in 2002 and became a full-time employee after graduating from the University of Guelph in 2011. Her background is in Environmental Economics and Policy and her role within the Department is to assist with the reporting of the Department’s recommendation on Coastal Works and Planning applications, assisting the public and private development sectors in achieving sustainable development. She also assists in various research projects within the department, including the Turtle Nesting programme.
Nathan Dack – Sustainable Development Officer
Nathan joined the DOE in May 2014 as a Sustainable Development Officer working in the Environmental Management Unit and as a part of the Technical Review Committee. He has a background in Environmental Sciences with an BSc in Environmental Biology and an MSc in Environmental Monitoring. He also has past experience working at the DOE as a student intern and has worked in environmental waste management consultancy in the UK. Nathan’s role within the Department is focused around the review of Coastal Works and Planning Applications with involvement in other sustainability projects. He also acts as the Department’s Freedom of Information officer.
Jerrica Wood – Sustainable Development Officer
Jerrica joined the Department in April 2017 as a Sustainable Development Officer and as a part of the Technical Review Committee. Her background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Integrated Wildlife Conservation and a Master of Science degree in Sustainable Development in Practice. During her undergraduate degree, Jerrica worked with the DOE as a student intern. Today, Jerrica’s role within the Department is to assist in the development and implementation of the DOE’s sustainable development initiatives and programmes at the department and national level and to assist in the assessment and monitoring of coastal and terrestrial development likely to impact the natural environment. Jerrica is also actively involved in the implementation of Turtle Friendly Lighting on Cayman’s turtle nesting beaches.