Minister of the Environment, Water Resources and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe??

Barbados will this week be represented at a series of high-level United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meetings in New York, with environmental issues expected to take centre stage.

Minister of the Environment, Water Resources and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, who is scheduled to leave Barbados for New York this Thursday, heads a four-member environmental team for the September 22 – 25 talks. The environment officials form part of a larger Foreign Affairs delegation led by Foreign Minister, Senator Maxine McClean.

Environmental issues to be addressed at the UNGA sessions include a High-level Review of The International Year of Biodiversity; an agenda item for this Wednesday, September 22, and the Five-Year Review of the Mauritius Strategy of Implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action, slated for discussion on Friday and Saturday, September 24 – 25.

Director of the Natural Heritage Department (NHD), Steve Devonish, has left for New York ahead of tomorrow’s special session, which has been convened as a contribution to the International Year of Biodiversity.

The NHD, which falls under the aegis of the Ministry of the Environment, is Government’s focal point for the Convention on Biological Diversity. Participation in the high-level meeting, therefore, will afford Government an opportunity to share its successes, highlight the particular vulnerabilities of small island biodiversity and identify strategic areas for technical assistance and partnerships.

For a number of decades, the protection of the island’s biodiversity has been a collaborative effort between a number of key departments within the Ministries of Agriculture and the Environment.?? As a result, Barbados, despite its size, has a number of best practices to share with the international community.

The Environment Ministry also has responsibility for the monitoring of the Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA), which emanated from Barbados’ hosting of the 1994 Global Conference on Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

Barbados has finalised its National Assessment Report, as part as the review process of the BPOA, through a review process which includes the Mauritius Strategy of Implementation.

Given the importance of the BPOA and the Mauritius Strategy of Implementation, now recognised globally as the blueprint for sustainable development in SIDS, Barbados’ participation in the UNGA high-level review meeting is critical.

Barbados’ national review process has confirmed that SIDS do require support to strengthen national and institutional capacities, and to create sustainable capacity development in policy formulation and implementation.

It has also indicated the need for the promotion of the use of Sustainable Development Indicators across the Caribbean region and to intensify efforts to provide the Alliance of Small Island States with the necessary capacity to allow it to take the lead in building partnerships for technical cooperation for SIDS.

The Environment delegation to the three-day talks also includes Senior Environmental Officer, Travis Sinckler and Chairman of the Urban Development Commission and SIDS Expert for the CARICOM Region, Gordon Bishpham.

The 65th UNGA session will see the participation of Heads of State, Governments and delegations, Member States, UN agencies and non-state actors such as civil society, women, youth and labour.?? cgaskin@barbados.gov.bb

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