Barbados Manages Balance Between Economy And Environment

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Minister of Environment, Dr. Denis Lowe??

Barbados has demonstrated "a particularly mature approach to managing the intricate relationship between economic success and environmental stewardship.

This assurance came today from Minister of Environment, Dr. Denis Lowe, during a ceremony at United Nations House to launch the 2010 World Investment Report entitled "Investing in a Low-Carbon Economy".

Produced by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the Report has two themes, "Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Climate Change – a review of how developing countries can promote FDI in low carbon sectors and benefit from it"; and "The Transnational Corporation (TNCs) Development Paradigm – a study of the changing operations of TNCs and how these practices altered development".

Dr. Lowe said the Caribbean was particularly sensitive to environmental threats, such as loss of coastal wetlands and land degradation. "As serious as these issues are, in recent years, a much more global environmental threat has come to the fore – the threat posed by climate change. Being particularly vulnerable to issues such as sea level rise and more volatile weather patterns, which are associated with the phenomenon, we, the nations of the Caribbean, must leverage our resources to realise effective mitigation strategies," he observed.

The Minister stressed that transnational corporations and the role of foreign direct investment could not be excluded from any strategy, since much of this island’s economic success could be attributed to FDI.

He contended that some countries had put restrictions on foreign direct investment in certain sectors, citing concerns over significant effects on the overall economy.?? "However, it cannot be denied that transnational companies’ vast knowledge, leading technologies, and global reach have made a contribution that has been particularly effective in spurring developing countries on at specifically-sensitive stages of their development," Dr. Lowe suggested.

According to him, the region is at an exceptionally sensitive stage of development and other shifts had to be undertaken, where the focus must now be on process and efficiency. "Today’s shift is one which positively responds to the threats posed by environmental catastrophe, it is a shift towards a green economy," he maintained.

The Environment Minister told the gathering that Barbados’ efforts at laying a solid foundation for a low-carbon economy had been multi-faceted, and he highlighted the new partnerships being actively sought, as well as the collaboration within the area of sustainable finance, as ways which showed the island had been building on the Barbados Sustainable Development Policy and the National Strategic Plan.

He continued: "We believe that this is a crucial development for the region and offers us significant leverage if we intend to initiate a low-carbon economy. Green projects represent an increasing world of opportunities:??

eco-based tourism, renewable energy projects, carbon-trading and credits, are all potential areas in which foreign direct investment may be channeled."

Dr. Lowe noted that a number of mechanisms had been utilised to create an enabling environment for transnational companies and he listed them as including the systematic development of legislative mechanisms that form the basis of a low-carbon economy. ??He also stated that the National Physical Development Plan was a critical tool for ensuring a smooth transition to a Green Economy. saustin@barbados.gov.bb

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