Barbadian Involvement In Climate Change Issues Necessary

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From left: Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Senator Maxine McClean; and Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, Christiana Figueres, in??discussion at the meeting. (A. Miller/BGIS)??

The more Barbadians get involved in matters related to climate change, the better it would be for the country to achieve its objectives in the long run.

That was the assertion of Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, as he addressed members of the media during a press briefing following the opening ceremony of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Expert Meeting at Hilton Barbados yesterday.

Dr. Lowe made it clear that the fight against climate change happened at different levels. "When you talk climate change you talk food; you talk tourism; recreational space, beaches and so on; so that because of the multifaceted nature of responding to climate change you have to bring a number of players, both public players and private players, on board," he explained.

He added that the beautiful thing about climate change and the Government of Barbados was that a number of ministries were involved. "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs [and Foreign Trade] is taking a lead role in assisting us in the Ministry of the Environment [and Drainage] to deal with some of the global issues," he said.

He explained that Barbados was a point of influence because of its voice on the international stage, and was presently in the middle of ongoing negotiations relative to Small Island Developing States and less developed countries.

However, Dr. Lowe noted that as far as getting the society involved was concerned, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage were working on programmes to deal with a number of cross-cutting issues which involved climate change.

He said his Ministry tried to set-up programmes in schools and to offer stipends or grants to those prepared to establish environmental programmes with an emphasis on climate change issues.

"At the end of the day, it really is about a society taking responsibility for its longevity. That happens when at every level of society people are participating in the work that needs to be done for the preservation of the quality of life of the citizens," the Minister said.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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