Minister of the Environment, Dr. Denis Lowe (FP)

The environmental and economic devastation wrought by Hurricane Ivan has been deemed a "testimony" of the region’s??vulnerability to natural hazards, and as such a call has been made for more equitable?? distribution of resources under the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

It has come from Minister of the Environment, Dr. Denis Lowe, who said that notwithstanding??the presence of facilities to assist the region in better accessing and utilising them, access to funds and supplies had "always been difficult".

"The need for an equitable means of distributing the resources available under the GEF Trust Fund is recognised and appreciated. However, the conditions of access and utilisation should reflect the same consideration to the special circumstances of [Small Island Developing States] (SIDS), enshrined in the relevant Conventions," the minister suggested.

His comments came during a recent address to a Sub-regional Workshop for GEF Focal Points in the Caribbean, at the Accra Beach Hotel.

Noting that Barbados, like many other countries of the world, was "completely committed to the pursuit of a Green Economy," Dr. Lowe stressed that while the setting of such policy objectives was inescapable in the development process of SIDS, they were extremely difficult to realise.

??"The challenge of exercising due diligence with regard to environmental considerations is??further complicated by??the smallness of??our economic base; the variety and high cost of the services?? necessary to maintain our standard of living; and our vulnerability to external economic shocks," the Environmental Minister declared.

"We note that the recent, mid-term, Resource Allocation Framework had revealed several of the concerns expressed by SIDS over the duration of its implementation. We trust that the ongoing effort to formulate a revised allocation system in the next cycle will be more considerate of SIDS’ issues and those of the Least Developed Country Community," he concluded.

The two-day workshop seeks to enable countries to participate effectively in the GEF in order to address their global habitat priorities within the context of sustainable expansion efforts. It is also a forum for regional GEF Focal Points to learn about new directions and progress in GEF; interact with GEF partners; discuss follow-up actions and share knowledge and best practices from country and regional perspectives.

Barbados’?? GEF Operational?? Focal Point officer is?? Rickardo?? Ward, Project Manager with the Ministry of the Environment, who also serves as Council representative and Chair of the GEF Caribbean Constituency, for 2009- 2010.??Counsellor with the Barbados Mission in Washington, Donna Forde, serves as the island’s Political Focal Point.

The GEF, established in 1994 under the aegis of the United Nations Environment programme (UNEP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the World Bank, seeks to assist in protection of global ecosystems and to promote environmentally sound and sustainable economic advancement.

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