The Basel Convention

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Minister of Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe

The Barbados Government has committed itself to spending some $1/2 billion in improving the country’s waste management system over the next several years.

Minister of Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, disclosed this today, noting that it would be tied closely to the country’s focus on the Green Economy, the platform for the protection of the island’s environmental resources.

And, it will have the full support of the Basel Convention Regional Centre for the Caribbean (BCRC-Caribbean), which was officially opened in San Juan, Trinidad, on Monday.

Dr. Lowe’s comments came during a familiarisation visit by BCRC-Caribbean Director, Dr. Ahmad Khan, at the Ministry of Environment and Drainage’s, Hincks Street, The City headquarters.

The Basel Convention initially started off as a prohibition order preventing the movement of hazardous waste from developed countries to developing countries. However, it went through a paradigm shift last year and now recognises that waste can also be seen as a resource to stimulate small businesses, create an entrepreneurial spirit and create jobs from various activities related to solid waste management.

The Trinidad government took on the challenge of hosting the centre in 2004, but it was not until 2008 that local legislation was passed making the centre an incorporative body under the laws of Trinidad and Tobago. It was officially opened to business in Trinidad on Monday.

Dr. Lowe explained that Barbados could benefit from the Basel Convention in the areas of technical assistance, training and technology sharing. "Those will allow us to build capacity and continue to structure our approach from an international focus," he said.

Dr. Khan explained that centres worldwide were now moving to develop new strategic objectives aimed at an integrated waste management approach, rather than just being a facilitator of waste.

He added that the Trinidad-based centre was presently working on a business plan that took those criteria into consideration. "We have developed a number of programmes which are now in draft form, and which now have to be looked at. It includes technology transfer, building awareness through capacity building, information dissemination and consulting," he said.

Dr. Khan, who took up the office as Director last September, further noted that his visit was designed to work on the business plan, while allowing him to meet with the various stakeholders.

Director of the Environmental Protection Department, Jeffrey Headley, gave the assurance that the business plan would be reviewed with stakeholders and the requisite comments submitted.

In addition to Barbados, states consenting to be served by the centre include Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago – the host country, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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