Tue | Dec 1, 2020

UN and Global Resilience Centre to tackle Sargassum threat, says Bartlett

Published:Wednesday | August 7, 2019 | 12:14 AM
The UN building in New York.
The UN building in New York.

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, says the United Nations (UN) is fully on board to improve coordinated action and share expertise and resources with the Global Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCM) as it relates to the threat of sargassum to the region.

“This agreement follows fruitful discussions with the UN and the GTRCM recently. Both entities recognise that the effects of this sargassum are becoming more and more severe and concerns of the UN and the GTRCM include impacts on tourism in the region as well as impacts on fisheries, human health, and the environment.

“Jamaica is taking the lead on this matter given the threat of this phenomenon on our main economic activity in the region – tourism,” said Bartlett.

The minister, who serves as co-chair of the GTRCM ,was instrumental in bringing the United Nations to the table when he met with the UN Office of Partnerships in New York recently.

The UN was represented by the Head of the Caribbean Subregional Office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Subregional Coordinator for the Caribbean of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

The meetings, which included Professor Lloyd Waller of the University of the West Indies (UWI). Renata Clarke (FAO), Vincent Sweeney (UNEP), and Ileana Lopez (UNEP), discussed the relevant work taking place at The UWI and across the UN and considered options such as the sinking of the sargassum to prevent it from coming ashore.

Bartlett, through the GTRCM, recently spearheaded a regional sargassum forum that included mechanical engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Precision Engineering Research Group; and noted ­researchers from The UWI and the GTRCM. The objective of the forum was to share knowledge and best practices as it relates to sargassum, specifically the type that originates from the coast of Brazil.

“We are still in the exploratory phase to bring together the best minds so as to collaborate on the best method to mitigate the threat of these phenomena and will be continuing these discussions to ­decide on the way forward,” Bartlett concluded.