Government remains committed to ensuring that the island???s coastal waters are maintained at acceptable international standards.

This assurance came from Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage, Edison Alleyne, in his welcome address at the official opening ceremony of the 7th Biennial Global Environment Facility (GEF) International Waters Conference at Hilton Barbados yesterday.

The conference is being held under the theme: Economic Valuation as a Tool to Bridge the Science-Policy Gap.

During his welcome, Mr. Alleyne highlighted the work of the Coastal Zone Management Unit which was seen as a best practice for the
region, as it employed contemporary solutions to safeguard against coastal erosion.

However, he told delegates present, that while Barbados was one of the few countries in the Western Hemisphere to develop and implement a national policy for sustainable development, ???business as usual can no longer be the order of the day???.

??????The theme of the conference seeks to enhance the discussion by bridging the gap so to speak, between economics and science. I believe that this will secure the step needed in the debate ??? from reducing problems to delivering solutions,??? he said.

He added that neither developed, nor small developing countries could solve the environment and development questions in isolation. ???The deliberations, strategies and outcomes of this conference should be relayed to other relevant agencies, with a view to improve coordination and better policy cohesion between the various sectors such as fisheries, international transport, agriculture and tourism???, he stated.

During a press conference that followed, Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, said Barbados was ready to focus on issues that have long term sustainability implications.

???The issues of waste water treatment, land degradation, agriculture, these are all currently occupying the attention of the Government of Barbados,??? he said.

Dr. Lowe noted that his Ministry was currently finalising plans for the construction of a leachate treatment plant, which was one of the instruments that would be used to manage the waste water and to manage the outflow of leachate from the landfill.

He added that the partnership with GEF was an important one because it allowed Barbados to be exposed to a number of regional and global best practices to look at the area of infrastructural development and institutional strengthening.

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