Barbados Taking a Number of Issues to Rio

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Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is expected to champion the cause for the green economy as he leads a Barbados delegation to the Rio+20 Conference, from June 20 to 22.

There, Barbados will join countries from around the world to put its case on issues of climate change, green economy and oceans.

The high-level conference, which is being held two decades after the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, represents a significant milestone in the international community’s commitment to developing the needs of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

In keeping with the conference’s themes – A Green Economy in the Context of Sustainable Development Poverty Eradication, and The Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development, Barbados wants the conference to acknowledge the vulnerability of SIDS to issues related to climate change.

Seven areas have been identified as requiring priority attention during the conference. These include decent jobs, energy, sustainable cities, food security and sustainable agriculture, water oceans and disaster readiness.

During the sessions, environmental technocrats and other officials will hammer out a range of topics all with the aim of strengthening SIDS, and the role of the green economy.

On June 21, the spotlight will fall on Barbados, when the panel will hear well researched presentations by Government on the benefits of the green economy.

Barbados is already seen as one of the leaders in the sustainable development movement, and is recognised as being ahead of its CARICOM neighbours on issues related to the green economy.

The island launched the Green Economy Scoping Study in March last year, and the findings were officially handed over to Mr. Stuart in March this year.

Against this background, Environmental Officer in the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage, Amrikha Singh said: "We [Barbados] need to sell our case and make ourselves seem as though we are ready to take the next step and attract partnership."

Meanwhile, upcoming discussions on oceans are expected to examine issues such as geo-engineering, which involves fertilising the ocean, and fisheries, which takes a look at biodiversity beyond national jurisdictions.

This country’s delegates will also be making every effort to have the Barbados Declaration on Achieving Sustainable Energy for All in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) featured in the final outcome of the conference.

Now, with just six days to go before the start of the conference, the Bellairs Research Institute of McGill and the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage will host the four-day Rio Dialogues from Saturday, June 16.

These dialogues are targeted at businesses and members of civil society, and are designed to increase the understanding of participants regarding the themes and critical issues being addressed at Rio+20.

They are designed to encourage participants to make realistic pledges pertaining to sustainability and to express those pledges in a tangible way.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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