Minister of??Environment, Dr. Denis Lowe, looking at the book which was presented by the??team from the United Nations Environment Programme. Looking on are (from left) Permanent Secretary, Lionel Weekes;??Elisa Tonda; Careenn Abb and Steve Stone, all of UNEP.????

Government remains committed to moving Barbados towards becoming the "greenest" economy in the Caribbean.

Minister of the Environment, Dr. Denis Lowe, reiterated this commitment today at his Hincks Street, Bridgetown, office, while meeting with a Green Economy Scoping Mission from the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP).

The team members are Chief of UNEP’s Economic and Trade Branch, Steve Stone; Regional Officer – Resource Efficiency at the UNEP Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, Elisa Tonda; and Associate Programme Officer, Regions and Commissions, UNEP Finance Initiative, Careenn Abb.

Dr. Lowe told the gathering, which included senior officials of his Ministry: "What we want to do now is not just simply achieve green economics in Barbados, but we want to be the focal point for the region, where we can share our successes … sell our services and … propagate our message among our partners in the small island states and less developed states."

?????????????????????? He said his Ministry was already doing work with some schools and expressed the view that it was time for another step, where green economics is included in the curriculum of the University of the West Indies.??

?????????????????????? The Minister pointed out that on assuming office, Prime Minister David Thompson indicated his interest in Barbados becoming the greenest economy in the Caribbean and Latin American region and stressed that his Ministry had been created to meet that objective.

?????????????????????? "The Ministry of the Environment is at the centre of government’s development programme … We have indicated how we see ourselves achieving environmental sustainability, while at the same time ensuring social protection and economic viability. We believe the three go hand in hand and that in order for a country to develop a green economy, it has to give full consideration to its views and practices on social development and social protection, as well as economic development. And of course, it all has to occur without any damage to the environment, so that environmental sustainability becomes the hopeful outcome of all of it," he maintained.

?????????????????????? Dr. Lowe noted that as the world goes through an economic downturn, a number of developed countries were contemplating their own transformation, in order to achieve a new direction that looked after the well being and quality of life of their citizens and the sustainability of their environment and economic fortunes.??????

Mr. Stone said he was impressed with what Barbados had done to move towards a green economy, stating, "I read through the [Barbados] Strategic Plan … and saw that before UNEP was considering the Green Economy initiative, Barbados already had it as part of its Strategic Plan."

He added that he was looking forward to the meetings with government officials and the private sector over the next few days to find out what had already been done here, as well as share information on what the UNEP team had seen around the world as they engaged with other countries involved in the green economy transformation.

This mission signals the start of a collaborative exercise, which is expected to last six months, in the first instance. Additionally, the outcome of the Government of Barbados and UNEP partnership is expected to influence the work of the Ministry and the island’s developmental agenda. saustin@barbados.gov.bb

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