BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – If this country is to achieve environmental sustainability, then it must pursue a green economy. To help achieve this, Barbados will convene a Caribbean Green Economic Conference in 2011 to discuss the opportunities, challenges, policy requirements and partnerships in the region.
This was announced by Barbados’ Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, yesterday, while speaking at the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
In her address entitled: “The Millennium Goal 7: Ensuring Sustainability”, Senator McClean said that this country was partnering with the United Nations Environment Programme to build a Resource Efficient Green Economy in Barbados, which would commence with a Green Economy Scoping Study in October this year.
She pointed out that Barbados’ current policy approach to mainstreaming environmental sustainability was captured in the Medium-Term Development Strategy for 2010 to 2014, under the theme “Environmental Sustainability; Building the Green Economy-Strengthening the Physical Infrastructure and Preserving the Environment”.
The Foreign Affairs Minister added that a more long-term strategy was elaborated in the National Strategic Plan of Barbados 2006-2025, where Goal 4 of the six goals addressed “Building a Green Economy – Strengthening the Physical Infrastructure and Preserving the Environment.”
Senator McClean said that while many nations were at different stages of development, she maintained that climate change and other forms of environmental degradation will affect both developing and developed countries alike. She added that if environmental sustainability was to be achieved, “then countries needed to be equally astute in mastering lessons which involve achieving more with less; increasing resource efficiency; and identifying sustainable alternative products and processes.
“These simple lessons apply with equal rigour from the most basic agricultural and fishing economies, to the most complicated and sophisticated industrial cities – the core tenets of environmental sustainability remain the same,” she argued.
In terms of achieving the Millennium Development Goals, the Foreign Minister noted that Barbados had made significant progress towards achieving water and sanitation systems upgrades, protection of marine and terrestrial ecosystems, the phasing out of ozone depleting substances and improved sustainability of human settlements.
She told delegates that Barbados was willing to offer technical assistance under a South-South Cooperation platform, but recognised that a number of other impediments to environmental sustainability had to be conquered.
In order to ensure that the green economy was achieved, the Foreign Minister stated Barbados would place priority on the sustainable use of renewable resources; maintain a safe, reliable and affordable water supply; ensure an efficient and reliable energy sector; and develop an efficient transport system and infrastructure; among other things.