I joined the Ministry of Agriculture in August 1985 immediately following completion of my Advanced Level studies at the then St. Lucia ‘A’ Level College, where I worked with the Forestry Division under the stewardship of Paul Butler the then conservation advisor, and the late Gabriel ‘Coco’ Charles, who was then Chief Forestry Officer and widely known locally as the “Father of Forestry” in St. Lucia.
I was assigned tour guide duties on the Central Rainforest Trail, among the first eco-tourism sites on St. Lucia. My artistic abilities, oriented around wildlife illustration led to my contribution to the production of environmental education material published by the Division. Such publications included Bush Talk and Jacquot Magazine. During these initial years I also participated in delivery of lectures to primary and secondary school students. I also did land survey work, demarcating government lands as part of a national Land Registration and Titling Project that ran until the late 1980’s.
From 1987 I pursued a Bachelor of Science in Forest Resources Management at the University of New Brunswick, in Fredericton, Canada. Upon completion in 1992, I returned to the position of Assistant Chief Forestry Officer (Operations) where I provided administrative and technical support in many areas that included technical supervision over forestry operations, administration, personnel management, budget preparation, strategic planning and policy formulation in national and international forestry and wildlife management issues. I was also involved in providing support to the co-ordination of environmental education and extension forestry programs, the development and administration of recreational forest trail networks and development and management of forestry and wildlife programs.
During these years I specialized in watershed management, and in 1995 I pursued a Masters degree from McGill University’s Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in Montreal Canada. My thesis titled Watershed Master Planning for St, Lucia using Geographical Information Systems focused on the study of land degradation on St. Lucia watersheds. This study formed the basis for applied research at a Doctoral level with McGill which was completed in 2003. The resultant work titled Integrated Watershed Management Planning for St. Lucia built on my first course of study and proposed a decision support framework for agricultural and forestry land allocation along with the evaluation of the effects of poor land management on degradation through detailed field investigations.
I became Chief Agricultural Planning Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in 2002 where I contributed to policy formulation, planning, monitoring and evaluation for the agricultural, forestry and fisheries sectors. In 2005 I moved on to work at the regional level with the Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI) the environmental agency of CARICOM where I was the Programme Director with responsibility for technical outputs of the agency. CEHI was subsequently subsumed within the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) as the Environmental Health and Sustainable Development Department, which I headed from 2014. Working at the Caribbean regional level in the field of environmental conservation was hugely fulfilling, having a major role in helping countries with improving water resources management, watershed management and pollution control.
In December 2014 I went on to Nairobi, Kenya, to work with UN Environment (UNEP) taking up the position for Programme Officer with the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA). My work now focuses on ‘nutrient’ management…essentially controlling pollution of coastal waters from the effects of too much nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus, from excessive fertilizers and wastewater that makes the water turn green (and threaten aquatic life) from too much algal growth.
Some of my key technical publications include:
Cox, C.A. and Gottlieb, S. 2009. Adapting to Climate Change in the Caribbean through the Integrating Watershed and Coastal Areas Management Approach. In Sustainable Development in the Caribbean, Contemporary Issues, Challenges and Opportunities, Department of Sustainable Development, Organization of American States, USA
Sarangi, A and Cox, C A and Madramootoo, C A. 2007. Evaluation of the AnnAGNPS Model for prediction of runoff and sediment yields in St Lucia watersheds. Biosystems Engineering, 97 . pp. 241-256
Cox, C A and Sarangi, A and Madramootoo, C A. 2006. Effect of land management on runoff and soil losses from two small watersheds in St Lucia. Land Degradation & Development, 17 . pp. 55-72
Cox, C.A. 2005 An Impact Assessment of Potential Residential Development in the Vicinity of the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, Commonwealth of Dominica at the request of the Waitukubuli Ecological Foundation, Dominica.
A. Sarangi, A and Cox, C A and Madramootoo, C A. 2005. Geostatistical methods for prediction of spatial variability of rainfall in a mountainous region. Transactions of the ASAE, 48 (3). pp. 943-954
Cox, C.A. 2004. A Hydrologic Assessment and Watershed Management Plan for the Talvan Water Catchment, Marquis Watershed, St. Lucia. Caribbean Natural Resources Institute, Trinidad and Tobago.
Sarangi, A., Madramooto C.A. and Cox, C.A. 2004. A Decision Support System for Soil and Water Conservation Measures on Agricultural Watersheds. Land Degradation and Development, (15 ) 49-63.
Cox. C.A . 2001. A Soil and Water Conservation Strategy for the Bois D’Inde Basin, Roseau Watershed, St. Lucia. Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, Natural Resources Management Unit.
Cox. C.A.1999. Watershed Land Capability Classification and Crop Suitability Modelling Using Geographic Information Systems. 35th Annual meeting of the Caribbean Food Crops Society, Castries, St. Lucia.
Cox. C.A. 1999. An Assessment of the Flora and Fauna of Petit Piton, St. Lucia. Submitted as part of dossier for consideration of the Pitons as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Cox, C.A. and Madramootoo, C.A. 1998. Application of Geographic Information Systems in Watershed Management Planning in St. Lucia. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, (20) 229-250.
Cox, C.A. and Madramootoo, C.A. 1997. Watershed Master Planning in St. Lucia using Geographic Information Systems. Proceedings of the Canadian Society of Agricultural Engineers Annual Meeting, Sherbrooke, Quebec.