Barbados, like other island economies, has always had an appreciation for the relationship between its natural environment and economy.
This was shared by Minister in Economic Affairs and Investment, Marsha Caddle, when she addressed colleague participants at the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) virtual High Level Plenary on Natural Capital Mainstreaming and Finance on Biodiversity, Planning and Public Finance.
Explaining further, the Minister said: “When you depend on the natural environment for your living, whether it be agriculture and fisheries or the coastal environment that is our product, it is very difficult not to see and make visible always the relationship between nature and how Barbadian people make our livelihoods and how we are able to use growth to reinvest in people. ”
Adding that even though, like most countries, Barbados had also developed a lot of “grey infrastructure” and “highly built environments”, we had always been conscious of the need for a clear sustainable development path that included nature-based solutions.
Ms. Caddle said: “Barbados is one seventh an area that we call the Scotland District, which has perhaps the largest biodiversity content on the island. But it is also where you will find quite insecure natural infrastructure.
“Barbados has a lot of cave networks; the area is prone to slippage and so when it comes to providing for people; for how we build in this area; for how we build homes; for how we make commercial investments; [we must] make sure that we protect people from slippage in that environment.”
Further acknowledging that the island had seen the importance of investing in nature-based solutions, the Minister alluded to the role played by the agricultural sector.
“One of the things that we know for sure is that the population of bees in any ecosystem is extremely important, so as an agricultural measure, we’ve very recently been encouraging investment in bee keeping as an activity and we’ve seen there are lots of young people who are very interested in this new sector,” she shared.
The extension of the channel in Holetown, St. James, was also given some prominence with Ms. Caddle highlighting the value this project holds for tourism investment and residents.
Explaining its significance, she said: “What we have done is to expand the pond there, so that the concrete channel, the built environment there is shorter and the pond is much wider. And, what has this achieved for us? It means that flooding is reduced; it means that the nutrients and pollutants actually fall out and bind with the sand and the soil and therefore don’t go directly into the sea.
“Now Holetown is coastal area. It’s where we see a lot of tourism investment; it is also where we have tremendous coral reef networks, and so, by having a nature-based solution directly in that location, we’re able to protect the environment; protect the livelihoods that depend on the tourism sector in that area and demonstrate very clearly the close nature of nature-based solutions and natural responses and how people live and earn their livelihood. So, for us it is extremely clear and important, and always has been.”