Earth Today | Caribbean islands eye sustainable use of natural resources for development
There is a move afoot to help the Caribbean achieve development through the sustainable use of ocean and other natural resources for economic growth.
The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) are collaborating to develop the OECS Green-Blue Economy Strategy and Action Plan, in the effort to realise that end.
Said to be the first of its kind in the region to combine green and blue economy strategies for sustainable development, the strategy and action plan is being developed under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed in June between CANARI and the OECS Commission.
CANARI is to work with the OECS to develop and implement the strategy and action plan, which is aimed at keeping the OECS at the forefront of global dialogues on sustainable development in a small island context.
According to Dr Didacus Jules, director general of the OECS Commission, “with limited financial, environmental and human resources and with the devastating impacts of climate change already being felt in the Eastern Caribbean, now more than ever the OECS needs to focus on future solutions that enable economic growth while preserving invaluable biodiversity and improving the region’s resilience to natural disasters and climate change”.
The development of the strategy and action plan was reportedly mandated by the OECS Council of Ministers for Environmental Sustainability to build on the 2018 diagnostic study by CANARI, titled Exploring opportunities for transformation to inclusive, sustainable and resilient economies in the Eastern Caribbean.
That study, which was supported by a grant from the European Union, recommended, among other things, “a clear programme of policies for greening priority economic sectors and creating enabling regulatory” as well as fiscal and financing policies and programmes which support micro, small and medium enterprises, were among the recommendations emerging from the study.
The study’s findings were highlighted in a CANARI policy brief and the Eastern Caribbean Green Economy Barometer 2018, published by the Green Economy Coalition – the world’s largest movement for green and fair economies, for which CANARI serves as the Caribbean hub.
In addition to the Green and Blue Economy Strategy and Action Plan, the policy brief recommended a number of other policy actions. They include:
n Fostering partnerships with a broad spectrum of governments, national, regional and international institutions, together with civil society and private sector. This was with the goal ‘to enable effective implementation of inclusive, resilient and sustainable economies in the OECS’; and
n Actively including ministries of finance and planning and other key national and regional economic and financial institutions in key decision-making processes for transforming into inclusive, resilient and environmentally sustainable economies.
The OECS Green-Blue Economy Strategy and Action Plan will be presented to the OECS Economic Affairs Council and the Council of Ministers for Environmental Sustainability early next year.
The MOU runs from 2019 to 2022 and will support other ongoing work by CANARI with the OECS, including the development of a Biodiversity and Ecosystems Management Framework and Action Plan, a Civil Stakeholder Engagement Strategy and a Caribbean Strategy for Climate Resilience in the Forest Sector and Associated Livelihoods.
These strategies will be enabled through joint fundraising and project development to support implementation.
Jamaica, for its part, has started its own march to a green economy, which is intended to ensure economic prosperity is not achieved at the expense of environmental degradation. However, up to last year, things appeared to have been slow going.
“It is definitely not dead. It hasn’t been carried forward so much under the theme of the green economy, but things are still happening,” now former chief technical director in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Jon Creation, Colonel Oral Khan, told The Gleaner at the time.
He cited as one example of this, the Green Business Certification Programme of the National Environment and Planning Agency, which provides businesses the chance to voluntarily incorporate environmentally friendly processes into their day-to-day operations.
This was in addition to the ongoing Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience, which aims to help national governments integrate climate resilience into development planning, as well as to finance innovative public- and private-sector solutions to climate-related risks.
It was more than two years ago that Jamaica published its Green Economy Scoping Study that was prepared for the Government, also with the support of the EU and United Nations Environment.
The study identified agriculture, construction, energy, tourism, and water as priority sectors and recommended the sustainable use of resources, minimising greenhouse gas emissions, the provision of decent jobs, incentivising green investments, and dis-incentivising ‘brown’ investments as important elements of a strategy for greening.