|Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Christiana Figueres, on tour of the East Coast with Project Manager of the Coastal Risk Assessment and Management Proagramme, Antonio Rowe. (C. Pitt/BGIS)|
Barbados has come in for high praise for its efforts in mitigating and reducing the impacts of climate change, particularly along its coasts.
But, at the same time the country’s leaders are being encouraged to adopt similar approaches in dealing with the impact of harmful emissions such as fossil fuels.
These accolades and advice were given by Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Christiana Figueres, after an all-day tour along Barbados’ coasts yesterday.
Speaking at the climax of the tour at the Richard Haynes Boardwalk in Hastings, Christ Church, Ms. Figueres said: "I have seen the beauty of Barbados. I have seen the leadership Barbados is taking on a global level to harmoniously integrate disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and sea level rise; and doing it in such a way that it is financially and economically feasible and profitable for the growth of the economy.
"This is a win-win-win [situation] because you [Barbados] are mitigating disaster risk, you are lowering disaster risk; you are preparing for the onslaught of climate change; and you are doing it in a way that brings economic prosperity today.
"It really is an example that other countries should be looking at to see how you do integrate those three."
However, the Executive Secretary urged policy makers to adopt a similar approach in their leadership strategy for disaster risk and adaptation, and apply it to the "next challenge for Barbados", that of planning its mitigation efforts against harmful fossil fuel emissions.
"There is still a very important dependence on fossil fuels that has a huge toll on the economy," she indicated.
Ms. Figueres stated that a reduction in the use of fossil fuel could be obtained through electricity being produced by various sources of renewable energy that would not only help the climate, but also the economy.
During the tour, the Executive Secretary got a first-hand look at the results of land slippage in the Scotland District, beach erosion at some of the island’s beaches, and a thorough history of Barbados from its formation to present day from Deputy Project Manager with the Coastal Risk Assessment and Management Programme, Allison Wiggins.
Among the sites and areas visited were Bathseba, St. Joseph, Codrington College, and New Castle, both in St. John, the East Coast Road, the Folkestone Marine Park and Reserve, Holetown, St. James and the Richard Haynes Boardwalk, in Hastings, Christ Church. The Executive Secretary, who is visiting Barbados for the first time also experienced the wonders of Harrisons Cave during her island tour.