Efforts on to Improve SLM Coordination in Barbados

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There is a clear need for greater coordination of land management in Barbados, if the goal of sustainable land management is to be achieved.

This is according to Environmental Officer in the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage, Kim Downes Agard, who said there was also a need to articulate the concept and practice of sustainable land management in a more precise way in national policy for decision making.

She made these points on behalf of Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, during the Development of a Strategic Plan and Institutional Strengthening of the Soil Conservation Unit (SCU) workshop at Codrington College today.

Mrs. Downes Agard explained that responsibility for land management was presently fragmented across several Government agencies, based on their various mandates for land use.

"While the Town and Country Planning Department manages overall land use policy, there is no central or high level agency with the legislative responsibility and oversight for land degradation and land management on the national scale," she said.

However, the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage is currently undergoing an internal review process to ensure that efficiencies are achieved in the delivery of its services.

"One pending recommendation from the restructuring process is the re-emerging of the Land Degradation Programme with the Biodiversity Programme, which will in effect pool resources and capacities in order to achieve the vision of a green economy," Mrs. Downes Agard said.

She explained that Government partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to implement the sub-regional project entitled: LDC-SIDS Targeted Portfolio Approach to Sustainable Land Management.

That project was designed to promote the improvement of management practices, institutional arrangements, policies and incentives aimed at the attenuation of land degradation on fragile and unique ecosystems of small islands in the Caribbean.

It focused on three main components – the institutional review of the SCU, the development of a geographical information system for land management, and the development of a communications strategy for sustainable land management.

By the end of this month, it is anticipated that the Ministries of the Environment and Drainage, and Agriculture will be reviewing the final drafts of the consultants’ reports and make recommendations to Cabinet.

Mrs. Downes Agard said that the final strategy document would be reviewed internally at the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage to ensure all efforts are synchronised.

The Environmental Officer added that the education programme would also have to be reviewed to ensure ordinary Barbadians, school children and all stakeholders benefit positively from messages emerging from the Ministry.

"Our messages must hit home and inspire individual change in our households, where every Barbadian knows and understands the meaning of the green economy and embraces their role in its realisation," she said.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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