Steps are in train to transition Barbados into the most environmentally advanced green country in Latin America and the Caribbean, in keeping with Government's vision.
To this end, Prime Minister, Freundel Stuart, will next week officially launch a Government of Barbados and United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Partnership for a Resource-Efficient Green Economy in Barbados, with a key plank being the undertaking of a Green Economy Scoping Study (GESS).
The launch, which will see participation by several high-level dignitaries, including UNEP's Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Margarita Astrálaga, will take place next Wednesday, March 9, at 9:30 a.m. It will be held in the Auditorium of The Faculty of Medical Sciences' Laboratory and Teaching Complex, University of the West Indies (UWI).
According to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Environment, Lionel Weekes, the shift towards a green economy is steadily gaining momentum within the international community as a viable approach in addressing the financial, economic, environmental and social crises facing the world today.
"The green economy calls for an integrated approach that provides new opportunities for economic growth by directing greater investments into sectors that enhance natural capital and generate new sources of employment, while reducing environmental risks. Government's recognition of the need for promoting a green economic transformation in Barbados was the impetus for the partnership with UNEP to conduct the green economy scoping study," he explained.
The Permanent Secretary noted that the study would focus on four key economic sectors, namely, tourism, agriculture, housing/building and transport, along with the cross-cutting issues of energy, water and waste.
These sectors were chosen based on their strategic importance to the Barbadian economy and for the ‘potential scope for greening'. The expected outcomes of the study will be a macro-economic assessment of the potential benefits and challenges of investment in each sector, and a set of recommendations to address capacity and policy gaps and needs, through specific reforms, programmes and projects.
In preparation for the study, a multi-sectoral Technical Steering Committee was established to provide technical oversight, and the UWI, by virtue of its competence in macroeconomic policy analysis, resource management and environmental economic analysis, was retained as GESS Technical Partner.
Green Economy within the Barbadian context is defined as: "...an integrated production, distribution, consumption, and waste assimilation system that, at its core, reflects the vulnerability of our small island ecosystems as the basis for natural resource protection, policy intervention, business and investment choice, human development programming, and for the facilitation of export market development strategies."
Prime Minister Stuart will deliver the feature address, while Pro-Vice Chancellor & Principal of the UWI, Cave Hill Campus, Sir Hilary Beckles; President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Andy Armstrong and President the Congress of Trade Unions & Staff Associations, Cedric Murrell, are also expected to address the launch.