Barbados’ Minister of Housing, Denis Kellman, in an address today to the United Nations General Assembly stressed the need to pay careful attention to the impacts of climate change when planning for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.
Speaking at a high-level meeting on The Effective Implementation of the New Urban Agenda, Mr. Kellman commiserated with the people of Texas who recently experienced a one in 1 000-year climatic event in the form of Hurricane Harvey.
He told the audience: “The frequency of occurrence of this and other types of natural disasters is a sobering reminder to each of us gathered here, in particular, those of us who are from Small Island Developing States, that we need to factor in, and pay careful attention to the impacts of climate change in our planning.”
He shared that Barbados, as a signatory to the New Urban Agenda, had put measures in place to ensure its effective implementation, including amendments to the Physical Development Plan to ensure that development on the island continued to be “progressive, orderly and sustainable”.
The Housing Minister further maintained: “My Government is committed to the promotion of inclusive settlements that are accessible, safe, healthy, affordable, resilient, sustainable and foster prosperity and improved quality of life for all Barbadians.”
In this regard, he revealed, Government encouraged developers to locate housing for seniors close to amenities and services to meet daily needs, promoted the development of new housing which was fully accessible to people with disabilities, and continued to require that new developments and significant renovations in public spaces be accessible to all.
Mr. Kellman also highlighted Barbados’ emphasis on a green economy. “Barbados has put in place an enabling framework to facilitate our transition to a green economy which we firmly believe will reduce significantly our vulnerability to economic and natural shocks, and place our island on a more sustainable development path.”
Renewable energy generation and energy conservation, he said, were both essential to the country’s commitment to the development of a green economy, and inherent in this was the potential for job creation, productivity increases, and positive health benefits.
He also stressed the importance of environmentally sound waste management techniques and stated Government’s commitment to encouraging a more sustainable approach to increased recycling, consideration of waste-to-energy conversion and increased diversion from landfills.