The Prime Minister of Barbados today unveiled a new study that will accelerate the country’s transition to a green economy, and challenged other Caribbean Small Island Developing States to work together on creating a socially inclusive, low-carbon, resource-efficient region.
At the opening of the two-day Caribbean Green Economy Forum hosted by the government, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said the new study by experts from government, the University of West Indies-Cave Hill Campus and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) highlights elements for developing a roadmap to further Barbados’ pursuit of building a green economy.
“This study represents an unprecedented institutional collaboration to engage with a range of experts across Barbados and to seek their ideas on how to accelerate the country’s green economy plans. As a result, we are better positioned to consider these recommendations, which will contribute to a more prosperous and environmentally sensitive country,” he said.
“What is critical for Barbados and other small island developing states is that the green economy debate (taking place in the Rio+20 preparatory process) recognizes our structural vulnerabilities, offers a model to assist us in further realizing our sustainable development aspirations and creates the institutional platform that enables us to participate in innovative partnerships to help save the planet.
“I commit the Government to working assiduously with the Social Partnership to ensure the measures identified in the Green Economy Scoping Study will be implemented expeditiously. And, I invite other Caribbean Small Island Developing States to join us.”
The Green Economy Scoping Study ? Barbados Synthesis Report examines how the country can strengthen its policies and harness its investments, while enhancing its social equity and environmental protection. More specifically, it analyzes five key economic sectors ? agriculture, fisheries, building, transport and tourism, as well as four cross-cutting issues - waste, water, energy and land.
- Establishing an overarching institutional developing programme to strengthen its agricultural cooperatives.
- Strengthening the fisheries development and management regime to ensure sustainable levels of catch; and, also a Marine Management Agency and Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.
- Introducing green standards in the management of energy, solid waste, water and land under an overarching policy framework to promote sustainability in the housing/building industry.
- Developing an integrated public transportation policy and investment program, and establishing a vehicle emission testing facility to reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions.
- Adopting and promoting new energy and resource efficiency policies for hotels, and establishing new heritage and nature-based tourism sites.
In addition, the study identifies a number of enabling conditions that could facilitate the country’s green economy agenda, for example in the area of government procurement, capacity building and new legislation, including the enactment of the Environmental Management Act and the operationalization of the Environmental and Natural Resource Management Plan.
The University of West Indies is a willing partner is these efforts, according to Prof. Hilary Beckles, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principle of UWI - Cave Hill Campus.
“UWI is committed to advancing sustainable development and green economy priorities in Barbados and the Caribbean region. Building a science-based platform where SIDS can share green economy policies and practices, as well as enhancing capacity building and training, are just a few of the areas where the university would like to contribute going forward.”
Barbados has long been an advocate of a green economy, and clearly identifies building a green economy as one of its main goals in its National Strategic Plan 2006-2025.
“Barbados’ actions serve as a beacon for the international community, which is set to discuss the issue of a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication at the upcoming UNCSD conference or Rio+20 this June,” said Margarita Astralaga, Director of UNEP’s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean. UNEP applauds the Government of Barbados for its courage, determination and leadership. This report is a critical step on the road to a sustainable and green Barbados, and the Caribbean as a whole.”
The Caribbean Green Economy Forum taking place 28-29 March is a joint Government-UWI led initiative to advance sustainable development in the region. Along with national stakeholders, representatives from neighboring countries, the CARICOM Secretariat, regional development agencies, as well as private sector and civil society institutions have been invited to attend.
To download a copy of the Green Economy Scoping Study ? Barbados Synthesis Report, visit: www.unep.org/greeneconomy/