More Collaboration Needed for Sustainable Land Management

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Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, addressing the closing ceremony for the Sustainable Land Management Project at Hilton Barbados. (A.Gaskin/BGIS)??

Sustainable land management in Barbados requires greater collaboration.

This point was stressed by Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, as he addressed the closing ceremony for the Sustainable Land Management project at Hilton Barbados recently.

He pointed out that while it was recognised that there is a problem of land degradation in Barbados, and that land use, management and planning were addressed in several policy documents, sustainable land management principles, goals and objectives had not been fully mainstreamed into national development policies and plans.

"Currently the responsibility of land management is fragmented across several Government agencies, based on their various mandates for land use, and these agencies pursue their respective goals and objectives largely on a sectoral basis," he noted.

Dr. Lowe added that while the Town and Country Planning Department managed the overall land use policy, there was no central or high level agency with the legislative responsibility and oversight for land degradation and land management on a national scale.

"There is a need to articulate the concept and practice of sustainable land management in a more precise way in a national policy for decision-making purposes," the Minister stated.

He explained that the project, done through a partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, was designed to enhance national capacities for the management of scarce and fragile land resources, improve institutional arrangements, policies and incentives aimed at arresting the spread of degraded landscapes.

The project focused on the institutional review of the Soil Conservation Unit, the development of a Geographical Information System for land management, and the development of a communications strategy for sustainable land management.

Dr. Lowe also pointed out that there was a need for the re-merging of the Biodiversity and Land Degradation programmes within his ministry to allow for the pooling of resources and capacities to achieve sustainability.

"The Ministry will require a comprehensive analysis and review of its structure. That, he said, would ensure it was capable of fulfilling its important role as a main stakeholder in the protection of the environment," he said.

To achieve this, the Minister said the Ministry was currently undergoing an internal review to ensure that staff was strategically placed based on their resident skill sets.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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