Barbados has recorded both strengths and weaknesses in the key areas it needs to focus on in its push to move to a green economy.

These findings and recommendations are all contained in the Green Economy Scoping Study (GESS) Synthesis Report, which was prepared by experts from the University of the West Indies (UWI), and officially handed over to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart during the Caribbean Green Economy Forum at Almond Beach Village yesterday.

The study highlighted the areas of agriculture, fisheries, building/housing, transportation and tourism as key elements in Barbados’ quest to create a green economy.

In his address at the two-day forum which concludes today, Team Leader and Technical Chair of the GESS, Dr. Wismar Moore, said with respect to agriculture, one of the key findings was the need for the industry to be revitalised.

He explained it was not just a matter of greening the agricultural industry, but also generating growth and employment opportunities for Barbadians.

Dr. Moore noted that while the industry had a number of strengths including a highly literate labour force and a strong interest in wellness, there were investment gaps in institutional strengthening, market development and cultivation.

He added that stakeholders also spoke about the need for the greening of a restructured sugar cane industry to improve its outlook; the support of organic agriculture by introducing locally produced organic fertiliser and the use of co-operatives.????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

The study also disclosed that "the growth of a vibrant green agricultural industry could lead to economic growth in other sectors of Barbados’ economy."

It added that some of the key challenges for "greening" the fishing industry were the conservation of marine resources, capacity building, finance, communication and co-ordination among economic sectors.

However, Dr. Moore suggested utilising fish offal and transforming it into higher value added products such as fish leather and using clean technologies as other ways of improving the sectors.

Dr. Moore added that the study also highlighted the need for low cost green housing as one possible solution, along with the cultural preference for detached houses.

On a more positive note, he said that Barbados had a history of resource efficient technology with its solar water heating industry.

The Team Leader disclosed that the areas of transportation and tourism also had their challenges, with the former being faced with issues of public attitude, congestion and key resources capacity.

Meanwhile, he said tourism was facing some challenges in terms of occupancy levels which were now at 50 per cent. "If you are going to talk about transitions to the green economy, that is an issue that will need to be addressed very early," Dr. Moore maintained.

??The Technical Chair added that going forward Barbados needed to implement a public education programme on the green economy and establish clear and standard guidelines to follow.?????????????????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????

The GESS was conducted by the UWI for Government in association with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) with its overall objective being to support and complement national initiatives towards achieving a green economy.

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