Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley. (FP)

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley believes Barbados has reached an important milestone with the development of the draft updated Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Plan, which will come under the microscope over the next few weeks during public consultations.

The plan, Ms. Mottley stated, provides a framework for all coastal management initiatives, and presents an opportunity for stakeholders to become more aware of the seriousness of the climate crisis and the developments affecting this island.

The Prime Minister made the comments today as she addressed the Coastal Zone Management Unit’s virtual national launch of the public enquiry, to gather views on the draft plan.

She told her audience: “I hope…this draft integrated coastal management framework will excite Barbadians into understanding what are some of the other opportunities that are available to us, in order to protect this our homeland…. We talk about the rock, perhaps we need to talk about the rock and the ocean going forward, because once we begin to understand that that ocean, which is 424 times the size of the rock, requires our daily preservation, …then we will begin to turn the corner…. “

Emphasising the importance of the upcoming discussions, she continued: “This process of consultation is how we do business, and it’s who we are, and I invite Barbadians to have an active role. There are some things I, myself, have a difficulty with in the plan and I, therefore, look forward to us being able to have that consultation with the broader public, but equally with the planners who are at the centre of the actions that must flow from this plan.”

Ms. Mottley stressed that this proactive approach to coastal zone management was critical, especially at this time, with the climate crisis.

However, she said the concept of coastal zone management was not new to Barbados, highlighting various initiatives to prove her point that the island had been involved in this area for 30 years.

Barbados, she noted, had been involved in the issue of environmental advocacy across the world. She said the country had concentrated on alternative sources of energy to replace the use of fossil fuels from as early as the 1970’s.

She added that the public transport system already has 33 electric vehicles and expects 13 or 14 more vehicles within six weeks.

During her presentation, the Prime Minister reiterated the importance of the Roofs to Reefs Programme to the country. “It makes no sense us coming with all these multiple small programmes and not being able to deal with the real threat that we face from roofs to reefs, literally from our houses to what happens within our maritime environment.

“This programme therefore provides for a response at the individual level, at the community level, at the level of the nation and it’s really a joined up public-private investment programme founded on principles of sustained development, and indeed, the reality of our understanding of the climate crisis,” she surmised.

Ms. Mottley lauded those young Barbadians who are taking an interest in preserving the environment and are engaging in activities which reflect their commitment.

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