Environment Minister, Dr. Denis Lowe??

If Environment Minister, Dr. Denis Lowe, has his way, the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies will eventually boast a Green Economics Centre.

This, as Government pursues its vision of attaining a green economy, with Barbados becoming the most environmentally friendly country in the Latin America and Caribbean region.

"You can expect that within the next couple of weeks, I am going to engage Sir Hilary Beckles at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, on the matter of creating a Green Economics Centre at UWI. This is how we are going to make the link between green economics, academics and employment," Minister Lowe explained.

Noting that a country’s?? economy was?? always about the state of?? its resources, both natural and manufactured, Dr. Lowe stated that?? conversely, "green economics"???? was about looking?? at?? these resources and?? deciding how best to use?? them?? to foster?? economic growth?? and???? pursue new avenues of???? professional?? and academic endeavour.

"If we continue on our pace, in the next 10 years, we will have thousands of university graduates???? who have no options beyond the traditional professional paths in our society; that is a scary thought.?? Creating professional options start with creating academic options. So that the university has to be a partner in achieving this," he maintained.

In?? reflecting?? on?? Barbados’ green economics thrust, Minister Lowe?? said the focus was on?? "green financing" , in terms of encouraging the banking?? and?? financial services sector to use some of its?? resources to promote and support?? green products?? and initiatives.

"The green economy must, as of necessity, have as its premise sustainability of three pillars – the economy, the society and the environment.?? What we are saying is that we can green our economy to the extent that it does not put our environment at peril. This creates a better quality of life for our citizens and that’s what’s exciting about it," the Environment Minister underlined.

With regard to Barbados’ growing reputation abroad, Minister Lowe indicated that based on the work done in this sphere, critical assistance had been forthcoming from the United Nations Environment Programme, the lead UN agency with an environmental mandate.

Speaking about the difference between the Barbados programme and that of some other countries, Minister Lowe observed that the local initiative was more sustainable.

??"I was in New York for a Sustainable Development meeting some weeks ago and sat on a panel with a number of world leaders, discussing the green economy and sharing Barbados’ perspective on it. In sharing our perspective, I discovered that while several other countries are pursuing the green economy, they are looking at it as a transitional concept," the Minister lamented.

According to?? him, while some nations saw the green economy as a means of moving?? from?? one sphere to another,?? for example from?? fossil fuels to energy efficiency or deforestation to reforestation, they failed to focus on?? the connection between the?? country as a society, and not?? merely an economy.

"If you see your country simply as an economy, then you will have lesser chance of creating a sustainable environment. The economy serves the society, it has no other function. The economy is the vehicle used so it cannot come before the society – the society determines your economic base, and your economic thrust, that’s the reality," Minister Lowe contended.????cgaskin@barbados.gov.bb

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